Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance

Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance: Overview

Over half the population of the U.S.  drinks at least two cups of coffee a day.  Some 25% of coffee drinkers consume about five cups daily, and another 25% drink ten or more cups a day.  Coffee is not just a beverage, it's a drug.  Hundreds of thousands of law abiding citizens are physically addicted to coffee.

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Source

Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate and some soft drinks.  One study found that a cup of coffee has 107mg of caffeine, one cup of tea has 34mg, and one glass of cola has 47mg, assuming all are caffeinated beverages.  Another chart of typical caffeine content is shown below:

Caffeine content of...mg
1 mug of instant coffee100
1 cup of brewed coffee100
1 cup of instant coffee75
1 cup of tea50
1 can of cola<40
1 can of caffeinated "energy drink"80
1 chocolate bar (100gm)<100
1 typical headache tablet50

Function; Why it is Recommended

It is the caffeine in coffee which makes it addictive, and which accounts for most of the known adverse effects of coffee.  However, there are hundreds of other chemicals in coffee.  Caffeine is a carcinogen, but coffee contains numerous other ones, created by the high heat of roasting, such as creosote, pyridine, tars and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  The darker the roast, the greater the potential hazard.

Excessive coffee intake will exacerbate the withdrawal symptoms when quitting smoking and make it all the more likely to fail to stay off cigarettes.

Instructions

Quitting coffee "cold turkey" can cause mild to severe headaches as well as nausea, anxiety, fatigue and depression, lasting for several days.  One method to avoid this is to gradually decrease the amount of coffee you drink by 50% each day.  Another way is to keep to your usual number of cups and gradually increase the amount of decaf until it reaches 100%.

Expected Outcome

Eventually you'll feel more awake and have a more even energy level throughout the day than when you were drinking coffee.  A few weeks or months after quitting, most people come to realize that they feel much better without the coffee habit.  Then most people can enjoy a cup of coffee on occasion when a boost is really needed, without triggering a recurrence of the craving that one feels when it is consumed regularly.

On This Page

Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance:

Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance can help with the following:

Addictions

Trichotillomania

See the link between Trichotillomania and Sugar Avoidance.

Allergy

Circulation

Arrhythmias/Dysrhythmias

Preventicular contractions can be caused by caffeine.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

Coffee, including decaf, contains significant amounts of Vitamin K which is an important factor for blood coagulation.  People at high risk for blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks should avoid coffee and decaf for this reason.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Caffeine raises the production of the adrenal hormone cortisol, which causes the blood vessels to constrict and the heart to pump harder, which leads to high blood pressure.  Studies have shown that coffee seems to worsen the symptoms of persons with high blood pressure, and can nullify the effect of high blood pressure medications, making expensive drugs useless.

An increased risk of developing hypertension was associated with drinking five or more cups of coffee per day in a large study of white, male, former medical students followed for an average of 33 years.  [Arch Intern Med 2002;162(6): pp.657-62]

Diet

Digestion

Gastric/Peptic/Duodenal Ulcers

Since coffee stimulates gastric acid secretion, moderation in coffee consumption is often recommended.

Habits

Hormones

Low Adrenal Function / Adrenal Insufficiency

Caffeine raises adrenaline levels and heavy coffee consumption can lead to a state of adrenal gland exhaustion, where the adrenal glands are no longer able to adequately respond to stress by releasing enough adrenaline.

Low Melatonin Level

Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sugar, which may interfere with melatonin production.

Infections

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Coffee, soda and other caffeinated beverages may irritate the bladder lining and are not recommended.

Mental

Panic Attacks

Coffee can cause adrenal insufficiency which in turn can lead to panic attacks.

Not recommended for
Schizophrenia

According to some, no caffeinated beverages – or even decaffeinated ones – should ever be taken, as these deteriorate into homogentisic acid which is known to be excreted in larger quantities in schizophrenics than in others.  Some include colas, tea, coffee, chocolate, and caffeine-containing medications in the list of things to avoid.

Metabolic

Insomnia

People suffering from insomnia often have elevated caffeine levels compared to normal sleepers.  They may have as much as 40% of the caffeine they consumed in the morning still in their system at bedtime.  [Psychopharmacology 1995; 121: pp.494-502]

Musculo-Skeletal

Poor Bone Health

Caffeine leaches calcium from the bones.

Gout / Hyperuricemia

Intake of diuretics (chiefly coffee and alcohol) should be reduced/avoided as far as possible.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Regardless of which form of restless leg syndrome you may be having, it is important to avoid caffeine and sugar during the day because both of these substances will increase the intensity of restless leg syndrome.

Nutrients

Calcium Requirement

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Zinc Requirement

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Iron Requirement

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

General Mineral Requirement

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Vitamin B-Complex Requirement

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Multiple Vitamin Need

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Vitamin C Requirement

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Organ Health

Kidney Stones (Urolithiasis)

A study published September, 2004 in the journal Urology suggests people prone to kidney stones should limit their intake of caffeine and cut down on the amount of coffee they drink.  People who consumed caffeine in amounts equal to two cups of coffee showed elevated levels of calcium in their urine, which can increase the risk of developing stones, especially for people prone to stones.  "Caffeine consumption may modestly increase risk of calcium oxalate stone formation," concluded the researchers.

Glaucoma

A single dose of caffeinated coffee (but not decaffeinated coffee) can increase intraocular pressure in persons with glaucoma.  [Ann Pharmacother 2002;36(6): pp.992-5]

Reproductive

Motherhood Issues

Coffee should absolutely be avoided during breast feeding.  Fetuses and newborns cannot metabolize caffeine in their livers, so it remains in their bodies for up to four days, stimulating their nervous system the entire time, causing irritability and sleeping difficulty.

Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Long-term and complete avoidance of caffeine reduces symptoms of fibrocystic disease.  Cutting out coffee has been found to generally reduce or even eliminate the lumps and pain of fibrocystic breasts.  Some of coffee's components have a mild estrogen-like effect on the body.  Since estrogen is responsible for premenstrual syndrome and breast tenderness, this may be one reason why coffee aggravates these conditions.

Methylxanthines are a component of coffee, chocolate, black tea, and cola drinks.  Some women's breast tissue seems to produce cysts as a result of caffeine intake.  In one study, 97% of women who completely avoided methylxanthines showed reduction in size and sensitivity of breast cysts.  Positive results were seen after 4 months of caffeine avoidance.

Pregnancy-Related Issues

Human studies have found an increase in the rate of miscarriages, stillbirths, breech births and low birth weight when given in doses greater than 300mg (an amount equal to three cups of coffee) per day.  Pregnant women are also three times slower to metabolize caffeine than nonpregnant women.  Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant women consume less than this amount – in fact some doctors say that coffee should be completely avoided during pregnancy and breast feeding.

Fetuses and newborns cannot metabolize caffeine in their livers, so it remains in their bodies for up to four days, stimulating their nervous system the entire time, causing irritability and sleeping difficulty.  In addition, the use of large amounts of caffeine by a mother during pregnancy may cause problems with the heart rhythm of the fetus.

Studies in animals have linked high blood levels of caffeine to premature birth, delivery complications, low birth weight and birth defects when given in very large doses (amounts equal to 12 to 24 cups of coffee a day), and with bone growth problems when given in smaller doses.

Male Infertility (Low Sperm Count)

Research has indicated that men who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had an increased incidence of abnormally formed sperm.  Having five cups a day appears to make sperm sluggish as well.

Female Infertility

Research has indicated that women who drank more than one cup of coffee a day reduced their likelihood of conceiving by 50%, and men who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had an increased incidence of abnormally formed sperm.  Having five cups a day appears to make sperm sluggish as well.

Susceptibility To Miscarriages

Some substances – including caffeine and pesticides – easily cross the placenta from the woman's body to her fetus.  Their impact on pregnancy is not entirely understood.  Caffeine stays in a pregnant woman's body much longer than in non-pregnant healthy adults, and in newborns even longer.  A study of 3,135 pregnant women showed that moderate-to-heavy caffeine users (those who had at least 151mg daily) were more likely to have late first- or second-trimester spontaneous abortions compared with nonusers or light users.  Light caffeine use (1 to 150mg daily) increased risk for abortion only in women who had a history of previous spontaneous abortion.  Coffee was the main source of caffeine in moderate-to-heavy users.  Light users were more likely to get caffeine from tea and other sources.

In addition researchers have recently reported that higher caffeine intake may be related to higher levels of homocysteine.  This may in turn contribute to the increased risk of spontaneous abortion in moderate coffee drinkers, but further research is needed.

Skin-Hair-Nails

Excessive Sweating

Caffeine and medications may be the cause of excess sweating.  Reduce your caffeine intake and note if there are changes when you stop taking medication.

Uro-Genital

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Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance can help prevent the following:

Addictions

Not recommended for
Alcohol-related Problems

A study published in the journal "Archives of Internal Medicine" in 2006 indicates that coffee may greatly reduce the risk of liver damage in those who consume alcohol regularly.  Every daily cup of coffee reduced the incidence of cirrhosis, a condition that destroys liver tissue, by 22%, according to researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program.  However, Dr. Arthur Klatsky, the leader of the study, said the results "should not be interpreted as giving a license to drink without worry, because of all the other problems connected with drinking." adding, "the only proper advice is to drink less."

Circulation

Stroke

Coffee, including decaf, contains significant amounts of Vitamin K which is an important factor for blood coagulation.  People at high risk for blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks should avoid coffee and decaf for this reason.

Digestion

Metabolic

Susceptibility To Hangovers

Caffeinated coffee and cola drinks are an area of controversy.  These may upset your stomach but on the other hand the caffeine will assist with vessel constriction.  If you're used to a morning coffee, it may help.  Coffee or tea can make your hangover twice as bad by dehydrating your body.  Herbal infusions such as dandelion tea, or a fruit smoothie, or even simply hot water, will be much kinder to your body.

Tumors, Malignant

Bladder Cancer

Studies linking coffee consumption with cancer are conflicting and inconclusive at this point, but there is a suggestion of a higher incidence of cancers of the pancreas, ovaries, bladder, and kidneys in coffee drinkers.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

The consumption of coffee, tea and cola were all positively correlated with a higher risk of NHL.

Ovarian Cancer

Studies linking coffee consumption with cancer are conflicting and inconclusive at this point, but there is a suggestion of a higher incidence of cancers of the pancreas, ovaries, bladder, and kidneys in coffee drinkers.

Pancreatic Cancer

Studies linking coffee consumption with cancer are conflicting and inconclusive at this point, but there is a suggestion of a higher incidence of cancers of the pancreas, ovaries, bladder, and kidneys in coffee drinkers.

Kidney Cancer

Studies linking coffee consumption with cancer are conflicting and inconclusive at this point, but there is a suggestion of a higher incidence of cancers of the pancreas, ovaries, bladder, and kidneys in coffee drinkers.

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KEY

May be useful: may help with; may help prevent
May be useful:
may help with; may help prevent
Moderately useful: often helps with; often prevents
Moderately useful:
often helps with; often prevents
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for
Caution: is sometimes not recommended for
Caution:
is sometimes not recommended for
Often counterindicated: often INCREASES risk of
Often counterindicated:
often INCREASES risk of