Coffee and Hormone Imbalances

Updated: Mar 6

Are you a coffee fanatic? Although I've never been a fan myself, I realize I'm definitely in the minority on that. If you’re like most people, coffee gets you going in the morning, keeps you company on your commute, is in your 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 hormonal issues.

Women’s hormone expert, Alissa Vitti, shared her perspective on coffee consumption in an article over on MindBodyGreen[2]. Vitti believes that women, in particular, should cut back or stop consuming coffee. You may be tempted to roll your eyes when you hear that, but there's actually some good research to support this.

Here's a few facts from some research regarding how coffee and caffeine may negatively affect our hormones:

1. Caffeine may impact pregnancy and miscarriage rates:

A 2016 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.[3] 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.[4]

3. Women may metabolize 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 estrogen. It’s possible that in some women, consuming caffeine may interfere with enzyme CYP1A2 and impact estrogen metabolism (which can lead to estrogen dominance and a host of hormonal imbalance!) Slow metabolizers of caffeine also have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease[5] (which is the number 1 killer of women in the United States.) Reducing caffeine consumption may reduce health risks more in women who have impaired CYP1A2 function. Genetic testing can determine your status.

4. 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.”[6] From mood management to sound sleep, caffeine can deplete the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

So, what does all this mean? Do you have throw away all of your Starbucks gift cards and completely give up your fav coffee drinks to have balanced hormones? Well, that's hard to say. Everyone is unique and our bodies don't respond the same way to the same things. One woman may be able to consistency drink coffee and have no negative affects to her hormonal health. Another woman may drink it and suffer consequences.

My rule of thumb is that excessive caffeine is not good for anyone, so limiting your coffee consumption should always be a priority. In addition, if you're having ANY hormonal, menstrual, and/or fertility challenges, kicking the coffee and caffeine to the curb can be very helpful. It may be a hard habit to kick initially, but start with baby steps.

Quick steps to Quit Caffeine:

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

● Stop adding flavor syrups, sugar, and cream to your coffee.

● Switch your mug of coffee to a smaller cup of it! A cup of espresso is better than a large cup of your favorite, sugary Starbucks.

● Half caf. Cut your regular coffee with decaf.

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

It is all about your mindset. Once you decide that you NEED 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.

Got period problems? Newly off birth control? Have conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, or fibroids? Want to conceive soon? Start setting the foundation for better hormonal, menstrual health, and fertility in just 21 days. Learn more about my 21 Day Hormone Detox here.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]