Let’s talk about coffee to find out if it’s good or bad and how it can affect your hormones.
For many of us, drinking coffee is a morning ritual, a means of socialisation, and a must have for our daily breaks.
Unfortunately for the wonderful pick-me-up and social beverage, the repercussions of regular or excessive consumption can have quite negative side effects on our hormones.
Apart from the well known side-effects of gitteriness, and getting our adrenals going, a lesser known effect of coffee consumption is that excessive consumption increases out oestrogen levels.
Coffee and its effects of estrogen:
For those who are suffering from hormonal imbalances, you may want to consider reducing or eliminating your consumption of coffee. An increasing number of studies have shown a direct link between coffee consumption and increased oestrogen levels (Kotsopoulos, J et al, 2009)(Lucero, J, 2001).
Having an oestrogen dominance predisposes you to a plethora of symptoms, including bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, fogginess, weight gain, headaches, PMS, and slow metabolism.
According to Dr Christiane Northup “Estrogen dominance has also been linked to allergies, autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, uterine cancer, infertility, ovarian cysts, and increased blood clotting, and is also associated with acceleration of the aging process.”
A word on coffee from a Chinese medicine perspective:
In Chinese medicine, coffee strongly raises the Yang qi of the body making the body warm and the circulation increase, and especially to the head. It draws upon the Kidney and Liver energies in order to do so. While you may initially feel a rush, long-term usage depletes the body of liver yin and kidney qi.
When the Liver is being pressed to perform abnormally, it can put stress on the organ and start causing congestion. Liver qi stagnation may result, and the signs that you might have it include PMS, sore distended breasts, and irritability.
When Yin is depleted, the body moves more easily into anxiety, and feeling of being on edge. Your sleep quality may diminish, you may have tendencies towards inflammation and redness.
As the Liver is associated with the smooth flowing of qi, when there is liver qi stagnation, you physically might feel like things are not flowing. You may retain fluid, or feel sluggish.
I’ve had a love hate relationship with this drug for many years. Recently, I finally kicked the habit for good. For me it was breaking an old ritual and starting a new one, more than actually missing the taste. I can honestly say I have no regrets.
So the next time you fall out of bed, and reach for your stimulant, you may want to reconsider what this addiction is doing to your body.
1. Kotsopoulos J, Eliassen H, Missmer S, Hankinson S, Tworoger S, Relationship between caffeine intake and plasma sex hormone concentrations in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, Cancer. 2009 Jun 15; 115(12): 2765–2774.
2. Lucero J, Harlow B L, Barbieri R L, Sluss P, Cramer D W, Fertility and Sterility 2001;76(4):723-9.