Is coffee toxic? By drinking too much coffee, many believe may harm your health. Latest trends across the health and wellness scene suggest entirely the opposite. Studies do indicate that your daily cup of joe does actually deserve a big thumbs up for your health (1). So yes, coffee is healthy, but only for some. And most importantly, only in small amounts. Like most things, it’s always best to take a holistic approach. You are beautifully unique! What may suit one, may not suit the other. Therefore, is coffee toxic to your health? Let’s dig into all the research, facts and figures and work out whether you might be better off switching your daily cappuccino to a turmeric latte after all.
First of all, there is strong scientific evidence suggesting that coffee has many health benefits including improving your mood, memory, energy, weight loss, physical performance, lowering your risk of Parkinson’s and type II diabetes. Furthermore, it may also protect you from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, liver conditions and help ease depression. Coffee contains a high dose of healthy antioxidants and is considered one of the healthiest beverages in our society today. It’s easy to ascertain how it may be beneficial for all these mentioned health conditions. However, as with everything there is individuality that needs to be considered. Let’s talk through some concerns with coffee consumption and who should think twice before pouring a second cup.
Is Coffee Toxic For Some Medical Conditions
If you suffer from a medical condition, suffer from anxiety, insomnia, heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heart condition then coffee is not a healthy choice of beverage. Additionally, coffee is not recommended if you are a child, adolescent, pregnant or breastfeeding (2). One study done on males found that caffeine may reduce male fertility (3).
Studies suggest that caffeine may have negative implications for people with anxiety and those who suffer panic attacks (4). Stress is a condition closely linked to anxiety and as you can imagine caffeine may increase your stress hormones, catecholamines. Furthermore, cortisol may increase your insulin levels, which in turn increases inflammation. Blood sugar metabolism and inflammation may be the underlying factors associated with many health conditions.
The acidity of coffee seems to aggravate most digestive issues including indigestion, heartburn, GERD and dysbiosis. The health of your immune system, hormonal balance, excretion of toxins, balancing your nervous system, enhancing your brain health and lowering inflammatory levels are all linked to the health of your gut.
For an optimally functioning digestive system, most recommend eliminating food allergies and sensitivities. If you drink your coffee with milk, this may be additionally negatively impacting your health if you have an intolerance or allergy to dairy.
Coffee may affect your cardiovascular system, including your blood pressure and heart rate. Diastolic blood pressure significantly decreases, but the changes to your systolic blood pressure after drinking coffee requires further investigation. Increased risk of nonfatal myocardial infarction if you have a slow caffeine metabolism may be associated with coffee (5). You can have your DNA tested to give you an indication of your CYP-182 gene to see how efficiently you metabolize caffeine. If you know you are not at any risk of this condition, you could pay attention to your mental and physical reactions after having your hit of coffee. Do you become agitated? Does your heart rate increase? Check with your health care professional at all times.
As we all know, coffee affects your mental alertness, activates your noradrenaline and affects the local release of dopamine. Dopamine is your neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) which drives your motivation, learning, memory, attention, mood, pain, pleasure, behavior, cognition and your increased feelings of wakefulness. Dopamine is released during the day, which helps you stay awake and energized. Towards evening time your dopamine levels decrease and your sleep hormone melatonin increases which helps to induce a deep, relaxing sleep.
Caffeine, as many studies suggest may lower your quality of sleep by reducing your slow-wave sleep and electroencephalographic (EEG) slow-wave activity. In one particular study, caffeine showed signs of increasing your stage-1, wakefulness, and arousals during sleep (6). Interestingly it seems that as you age, you may become more sensitive to caffeine compared to younger adults (7). For optimal rest, happiness and vitality, serotonin is necessary. Coffee can often disrupt your levels of serotonin released which may affect your sleep.
Coffee seems to raise your blood sugar levels immediately after drinking. If people with type II diabetes sipped a cup of coffee before their meal, studies show that you may have a higher level of blood glucose after your meal. But, did you know that coffee may help lower your risk of developing type II diabetes? However, if you already have type II diabetes, the caffeine content of coffee may be dangerous.
The American Diabetes Association found that high coffee consumption for four weeks increased fasting insulin concentrations compared with coffee abstinence (8). Be aware that signs and symptoms of diabetes may include thirstiness, irritability, loss of energy and loss of weight. Always check with your healthcare professional. One study found that by drinking only one cup of fresh coffee per day increases your risk of developing diabetes, but if you raised your coffee intake to more than one cup a day you had a lower risk of developing type II diabetes (9). Lower levels of insulin sensitivity may cause high blood sugar levels which may lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Reasons Why Coffee Is Bad For You
The caffeine in coffee has been known to cause, among other things, restlessness, headaches, irritability, nausea, and dehydration. Also found in coffee is a class of drugs called methylxanthines. Methylxanthine is a class of drugs derived from purine base xanthine. Plants and animals naturally produce xanthine. Caffeine is a type of methylxanthine which may be responsible for the effects of caffeine on learning, memory, performance, and coordination. However, caffeine may cause apparent effects on anxiety and sleep which vary according to individual sensitivity to the methylxanthine (10). With so many conflicting articles regarding the positive and negative effects coffee has on our health, it’s tricky to ascertain whether to drink it or not. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at why coffee may be bad for you.
Although coffee may offer your body one of the highest doses of antioxidants of all foods, it is also is a source of a class of chemicals called diterpenes. Above all, higher levels of triglycerides, LDL and VLDL levels may be linked to diterpene. However, naturally occurring diterpenes exert several biological activities such as anti-inflammatory action, antimicrobial and antispasmodic activities (11).
Homocysteine is a naturally-occurring amino acid which converts to another amino acid called cysteine. If the conversion of homocysteine to cysteine is somehow impaired, homocysteine levels rise and become harmful. Furthermore, elevated levels of homocysteine, which six cups of coffee seems to cause, may be associated with atherosclerosis, blood clots, cardiovascular disease, stroke, migraines, mood, macular degeneration, and cognitive decline (12).
Loss Of Nutrients
Caffeine has been known for years as a diuretic. The increased fluid loss after drinking more than ten cups of coffee per day may also cause loss of vital nutrients including calcium, iron, potassium and even magnesium.
Switching to decaffeinated may help, but decaffeinated coffee still contains some caffeine. The amount of caffeine in decaffeinated coffee also varies depending on where the coffee is grown and which type of decaffeinating process is used (13).
How Much Is Too Much
This amount varies for everyone, however, drinking more than 400 mg, which is the equivalent of four cups of coffee per day is considered an excessive amount of coffee to be drinking (14).
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