Mmm…There’s nothing more satisfying than a nice cup of green tea in the morning. It’s tasty and gives you a nice energy boost. Plus, it’s got a whole slew of health benefits (like reducing your risk of skin cancer and revving up your memory) since it’s packed with antioxidants.
But can there be too much of a good thing? According to a study in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of Functional Food, drinking too much of the herbal stuff might negatively affect your—and your dude’s—fertility.
For the study, researchers exposed 48 Dropsophilia melanogaster fruit flies to various doses of the antioxidants, known as green tea polyphenols (and referred to as GTP in the study), found in the beverage. They gave six flies of each sex four different amounts of GTP: zero, two and a half, five, and 10 milligrams. Afterwards, the researchers dissected the fruit flies’ reproductive organs and examined their water, lipid, and protein content to test for toxicity.
What they found: Female fruit flies given 10 milligrams of GTP (considered a high dose for the flies) had a “significant reduction in reproduction,” write the study authors. What’s more, the offspring of male and female flies treated with the high dose of GTP were smaller as adults compared to the control group’s kiddies. The baby flies whose parents were treated with GTP also had genital abnormalities (the male flies exhibited testicle atrophy, while the female flies had smaller ovarian structures and less mature eggs). Overall, the researchers said the effects were greater in female fruit flies than in the male ones (womp, womp).
So if you’re in baby-making mode or currently preggers, should you be worried about your health and that of your future progeny? It’s important to note again that this study was done on fruit flies (and a small amount at that), not humans. That being said, the study authors point out that fruit flies are commonly used in biomedical research. “Considering the highly conserved pathways between fruit fly and mammalian reproductive systems, the fruit fly is considered an excellent model system for the evaluation of drug toxicities,” write the researchers in the study.
The bottom line: If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant soon, it’s always best to consult with your ob-gyn about what foods and drinks are safe when you’re TTC or you already have a bun in the oven. Chances are, you won’t have to give up your green tea habit if you drink in moderation. And the researchers in this study do point out that green tea does the body good when consumed in reasonable amounts.