Can Coffee Cause Hormonal Symptoms?

Raise your hand if you reach for a cup of coffee in the morning! If you’re like most people, coffee gets you going in the morning, keeps you company on your commute, is in hand in the office and provides that afternoon boost.  While there are studies that show the health benefits of moderate coffee consumption[1], there is also evidence linking coffee consumption to some hormone havoc. 




Women’s hormone expert, Alissa Vitti shared her perspective on coffee consumption in a recent article[1].  Vitti believes that women, especially, should cut back or stop consuming coffee. Review her reasoning and see if coffee still has a place in your cup.  


Caffeine may impact pregnancy and miscarriage rates:

A study published in “Fertility and Sterility” found that drinking three or more caffeinated beverages a day raised the risk of early pregnancy loss by 74 percent. The study showed the same risk whether women consumed caffeine before or after conception.  In men, preconception caffeine use raises rates of miscarriage.[2]




Caffeine disturbs hormonal functionality for 24 hours:

The caffeine in coffee (and tea, and other beverages) decreases insulin sensitivity and increases stress hormone levels in the blood.[3]



Depletes body from Micronutrients:

Micronutrients are key for happy hormones and overall health. Coffee can easily deplete those from your body. The Journal of Food Science and Quality Management did a review that found “Caffeine can cause nutrient depletion of important nutrients, like vitamin B6, and interfere with nutrient absorption of essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium and B vitamins.”[4] From mood management to sound sleep, caffeine can leach the vitamins and minerals your body needs.



Women may metabolise coffee differently:


Caffeine is broken down in the liver by the CYP1A2 enzyme. Interestingly, only ten percent of the population makes enough of this enzyme to break down significant amounts of caffeine.  The CYP1A2 enzyme is also responsible for breaking down oestrogen. 


It’s possible that in some women, consuming caffeine may interfere with enzyme CYP1A2 and impact oestrogen metabolism (which can lead to oestrogen dominance and a host of hormonal imbalance and symptoms!).


Slow metabolisers of caffeine also have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease[5] (which is the number 1 killer of women in many countries.) 


Reducing caffeine consumption may reduce health risks more in women who have impaired CYP1A2 function.  Genetic testing can determine your status.



Image by Caju Gomes

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Quick Steps to Quit Caffeine

Since coffee is the major caffeine culprit, it is tops on the punch list.   Here are some quick tips to help you break your coffee addiction:

  • If you are having coffee and having sugar in it, first try cutting that sugar amount down. I used to have 2 sugars in my coffees (3 a day) so I know how hard this is. Try reducing by 1/4 of a teaspoon a day until you get down to zero. It takes time, but it is do-able - I'm proof of that.

  • Switch your mug of coffee to a smaller cup of it so you are having less.

  • Start having decaf instead of regular coffee. Decaf isn't the healthiest option out there, but at least by switching to this for a while it will help you cut down your caffeine consumption.

  • Eat! Help stabilise your energy by focusing on good nutrition. Balanced blood sugar and a healthy diet offer sustained energy that supports your health.

  • Switch your coffee to another alternative – herbal tea, chai latte, turmeric latte, or even good old water. There are so many options out there when you think about it

It is all about your mindset. Once you decide that you have to quit coffee, small steps will help you achieve a bigger goal. Knowledge is power, so go with what you know and make small shifts. Your hormones will begin to balance, chronic inflammation should ease, and you will find that coffee is no longer a need.

Here are a few other reasons to cut it down or out:

* Depletes the body from micronutrients
* Interferes with nutrient absorption of essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium and B vitamins
* Can cause sleep issues - caffeine can stay in the body for up to 12 hours
* Makes you feel wired, irritated and more snappy with others
* Increases stress hormone levels in the blood
* Caffeine is a diuretic meaning you'll be running to the loo for wee's a lot more
* Can also give you the shakes (thanks to the mould present in the beans)
* Gives you energy, but then that drops off after a while, which then means you start wanting another coffee, or a sugary treat
* Caffeine may impact pregnancy and miscarriage rates
* May cause weight gain - some body types hold on to "fuel" when their body feels stressed. Due to caffeine raising stress levels, coffee can cause you to hold on to that fuel, i.e. weight.

So, if you are wanting to reduce some hormonal symptoms, improve your sleep and natural energy, maybe its time to have a think about reducing or eliminating... what do you think....?