Coffee is the magic potion that makes us perform like a machine in the office. Even at home, after taking care of the babies, a cup of espresso adds an extra health bar we desperately need for doing the dishes or getting the dinner ready. But is coffee bad for your thyroid?
The question arises because many scientists, nutrition experts, and doctors are now associating thyroid problems with caffeine, thus, coffee. The thyroid’s the butterfly-shaped gland that makes some vital hormones responsible for the metabolic, cardiovascular activities of your body and your physical development.
A thyroid malfunction or hypothyroidism can spell trouble for you. If you’re rapidly gaining weight, always tired, anxious, stressed, or having frequent migraines, you might want to consult a doctor. But should you cut back to your consumption of coffee?
I’m here to throw in some facts so you can decide for yourself.
Is Coffee Bad for Your Thyroid?
Now, it’s time for answering the big question. If you read this write-up, you’ll know your answer. Basically, if you have too much coffee, you can face some issues. Let’s see some common problems.
Excess Caffeine Reduces the Production of Thyroid Hormone
Why do we drink this much coffee? Admit it, we all long for that short coffee break every now and then. A much-needed blast of energy and joy can certainly preserve office productivity.
Now for a quick biology lesson. The blast of energy comes from the secretion of cortisol. When you drink coffee, the sugar level in your blood spikes. Your body increases the secretion of cortisol to deal with this.
But too much coffee increases the blood sugar level too much and the body responds by secreting more cortisol and epinephrine, making you anxious and jittery. My question to you is, would you like to work in the office in such an unstable state? No? That’s exactly how your thyroid gland feels.
Because of the increased commotion and ruckus going on (Elevated sugar levels and anxiety), the thyroid gland reduces its activity, causing all the thyroid problems.
This may be the most relatable feature of coffee there is. When everything in your body’s going perfectly, the organ functions well. This also applies to the glands as well. They need proper rest aka sleep, to do their job perfectly. And then comes the adversary to this harmonious system, all-nighters.
An irregularity in your sleeping schedule’s the most common reason for insomnia, which tires down the adrenal and thyroid glands. Coffee just makes it worse.
Say, you need to grind through hours of paperwork or finish the new Red Dead Redemption or study for the exam the next day. So you brew a pot of coffee and you go on, and on. To cope with the extra blood sugar, your adrenal glands work tirelessly to produce epinephrine and cortisol, until it gives in.
The Adrenal gland supervises the function of the thyroid gland. When the adrenal gland gets tired, the thyroid gland ceases to function properly also. So the next time you’re suffering from a thyroid-related condition, it’s time to point a finger to that third cup of coffee you had in the last hour.
Caffeine has somewhat of a bad name for messing up hormonal systems, but to fully understand how it does that, let’s get familiar with the thyroid hormones.
The thyroid gland produces three types of hormones. The main hormone’s triiodothyronine or T3 in short. There’s also thyroxin or T4 which converts into T3, and the reverse-T3 or RT3 that negates triiodothyronine’s effect. Yes, the names can be quite a mouthful!
When your body faces extreme stress, or when you drink too much caramel macchiato, to take care of the increased sugar level the body deploys cortisol. Cortisol directly affects the thyroid gland, inhibiting the conversion of T4 to T3 creating a shortage of T3.
Caffeine also induces the secretion of estrogen, which like cortisol, also reduces the conversion of T4 into T3. So, if someone asks you, ‘Is coffee bad for your thyroid?’, this can be one of the strong points you can make.
Excess Caffeine Causes Inflammation
If stomach pain and cramps keep you up at night, I feel you. I’ve been dealing with IBS for quite a long time, and trust me when I say this, you don’t want this crab on your plate! What does that have to do with caffein you ask?
Many of us start the day with coffee. I personally have nothing against coffee but drinking it on an empty stomach may not be a good idea. Caffeine’s an inflammatory substance. Our stomachs protected by a layer of mucus that protects the stomach lining from the incredibly corrosive Hydrochloric Acid.
Taking coffee on an empty stomach will cause inflammations in the stomach lining leaving it wide open in front of the onslaught of stomach acid. This causes gastric ulcers, stomach distress, IBS, etc.
And with all this going on in the stomach, the organs nearby will be affected also. I’m talking about the liver, intestines, adrenal, and thyroid gland which’s not far away. So, take your breakfast before your morning cup of coffee, will you?!
Reduces Hormone Absorption
I’ve seen a lot of folks taking Hypothyroidism meds with coffee. I mean really guys, what’re you thinking! You’re taking medicines containing thyroid hormones, with the very thing that creates the hormonal imbalance in the first place?!
This medicine should be taken on an empty stomach. When you add coffee to the mix, aside from causing gastrointestinal damage on a cellular level, this reduces the uptake of the hormones by 30%. So, this may be one of the reasons why you’re not getting better even after taking those meds!
I believe the question, ‘Is coffee bad for your thyroid?’ should be changed to ‘How much coffee is too much?’. Because all these problems arise when you take too much coffee.
Don’t get me wrong, one or two cups a day may actually be good for you. Coffee’s filled with polyphenols and antioxidants and maintains the capability of an individual. But too much of it can have a detrimental effect on your thyroid gland, intestines, liver, kidney, and many other vital organs.
So, it’s probably a good time to check your coffee cravings a bit. Don’t you think?
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