Can Eating Too Many Greens Make You Sick?

The Importance of Balancing Your Greens

Alkaloid Poisoning: Can Eating Too Much Greens Make You Sick?

– by Rachelle Fordyce

Hi there, lovely green-smoothie slurping and salad eating heroes and heroines!

We recently received a question and thought we’d share it with you here on the blog.

Here’s the question:

“I’ve read about having to switch up greens or you can get very sick but they never say how you know if you’ve have too much a green or how you’re supposed to change them in your diet. What are the symptoms? How do you know when you’ve had too many of one type of green?”

Since the Boutenko family is made up of the original Green Smoothie Heroes and Heroines themselves – and who have done more body experiments than most people we know – we thought we’d ask them!

Here’s what the lovely Valya Boutenko had to say in response…!

What Happens When You Eat Too Many Greens?

Can Eating Too Many Greens Make You Sick?Alkaloid poisinig may result from consuming too much of a specific type of green.

Alkaloid poisoning is quite difficult to achieve.

To give you an idea of what it takes to manifest it, one man I knew had a bunch of overgrown buckwheat sprouts that needed to be used up, so he juiced 7 large flats of densely planted sprouts and drank 2 gallons of that juice.

Needless to say he had all of the symptoms, but was totally fine the next day.

Symptoms of Alkaloid Poisoning

The symptoms of alkaloid poisoning vary depending on the type of greens consumed.

Common signs are quite mild:

  • No desire to eat that particular type of green
  • Tingling in the finger tips
  • Spaciness (with too much kale, low iron, and tiredness).

How to Avoid Alkaloid Poisoning

Rotate Your Greens to Avoid Alkaloid Poisoning!

Alkaloid poisoning is not dangerous, and is easy to avoid by simply rotating at least 7 different types of greens a week.

. . .

…So there you have it!

Just remember to rotate your greens, and you’ll be fabulous and fine! But even if you don’t, the effects of alkaloid poisoning seem to be pretty mild, so I think it’s safe to say you’ll be okay either way!

We hope you find this information helpful and useful.  (Thanks, Valya!)

Time to get back to slurping green smoothies! 😉


  1. Steve says

    My dad was told to reduce his greens consumption due to a recent blood clot in his leg. The doctor said greens tend to have a lot of vitamin K and that tends to thicken blood. Should I be concerned about this genetically?



    Reply by abs on December 29th, 2011

    I don’t know your exact situation however…
    The doctor probably told your dad to decrease his intake of greens because he has a history of blood clots and he was most likely put on a blood thinner (Warfarin) to prevent another clot from forming in the future. Where vitamin K comes in is that the body uses vitamin K to make blood clotting proteins, thus the more K the greater potential for clots and decreased effectiveness of Warfarin/anti-coagulation therapy.


  2. says

    Great info, never have heard of that happening yet, but definitely reminds me of when people get kidney stones from eating too much spinach… because of oxalate acid. They always say there can be too much of a good thing :)


  3. says

    I’ve been asked this question too, so it’s great to hear from someone with so much experience. Thanks!


  4. Rhonda Midkiff says

    My husband & I eat about 2 servings each, 3-4 times a week of mustard greens. I sometimes throw in a few leaves of turnip greens. An older friend of ours said this was bad for our blood and in turn our health. Is he correct are we in danger? They are organic, no pesticides and the only water they get is fresh rain. I have a congenital heart defect and he has high blood pressure. He’s eaten greens all his life but I just tasted them 2yrs. ago and found a food that I absolutely LOVE! Should we be putting down the fork and just say NO? If so 3/4 of our garden is going to go to waste! Please help me quick, I love this new find. But don’t want to end up like a childhood friend of ours, she was told told after an illness not to eat anymore. But she did and wound up in a care facility and later on passing away from other complications at the very, very young age of 39! Many Thanks if u can help out a Texas Girl, Rhonda*


  5. says

    I don’t even know why she has this information in her book. It seems like a real non-issue. Only someone hard core juicing tons of the same green *might* have a problem and then it’s temporary and not debilitating – gee what a surprise – you don’t want anymore of that same green for a while. Seems self-fixing. Information like this only serves to scare people from getting into greens which is so counter-productive I just don’t have words for it. I’ve juiced for over 30 years and juicing is quite different from green smoothies. Use the greens you like, as your palate changes and you get more into it, you’ll naturally add other greens in other ways. I juice kale, apples and celery, but more often make smoothies with parsley, lime, apple and pineapple. Juicing and blending create two entirely different things. I eat lightly steamed Kale and use field greens for salad. No reason to flip out over this, it’s absurd. If you were to worry about anything it’d be drinking large quantities of beet juice. Google THAT if you need something to worry about.


    Reply by Erik on July 31st, 2013

    It was helpful to me, I had no idea what was causing me to feel so bad after I drank my smoothie. I didn’t eat a bunch of kale in a day or so, it was over a longer period of time.


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