The health benefits of coffee, or lack thereof, seems to be a subject that has engaged researchers for years. There are many research articles alluding to the health benefits of coffee, which include lowering breast cancer risk and cardiovascular disease, helping with depression, and reducing Alzheimer’s. These studies are correlative, meaning they look at lifestyle and compare it with other risk factors. This means that coffee may be one of many factors affecting this list of items.
Caffeine And Estrogen
It was discovered over 80 years ago that caffeine has an impact on estrogen. Some of the components of coffee show estrogenic activity, which for certain individuals, can be deleterious. For instance, if you are already estrogen dominant, daily caffeine intake may not be a good idea. If you are a menopausal woman, however, it may actually help alleviate symptoms.
Coffee And Postmenopausal Women
Other studies show that coffee may have a protective effect on postmenopausal women and breast cancer patients. One study showed there are benefits of coffee with or without caffeine, implying there are other beneficial chemicals in coffee.
The study on postmenopausal women showed the benefits of drinking 4+ cups of coffee a day, and was based on patient self-reporting. In my opinion, these subjects were most likely individuals who metabolize caffeine and chemicals more efficiently in the liver. It could be argued that they would already be less susceptible to a cancer risk than other individuals who can’t metabolize chemicals in the liver as quickly.
Caffeine And The Adrenal System
Clinically, I have seen high caffeine consumption linked to fibrocystic breasts and ovarian cysts. This may have to do with caffeine’s hormonal effects, as well as where it is broken down in the liver. Caffeine can also be very taxing to the adrenal system, causing us to increase stress hormone production. If your adrenals are already having difficulty keeping up, then adding more caffeine may take away their ability to keep up with day-to-day functioning.
Of course, I recommend a lower intake of caffeine in pregnant women (100mg or less daily) since a higher intake has been associated with lower birth weights.
Caffeine can also have an impact on blood pressure, mineral levels, the stomach and the bladder.
If you have questions about whether your caffeine and coffee intake are okay for your individual health, contact me today!
Lafranconi A, Micek A, De Paoli P4 et al. Coffee Intake Decreases Risk of Postmenopausal Breast Cancer: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis on Prospective Cohort Studies. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 23;10(2). pii: E112.
Li XJ, Ren ZJ, Qin JW, et al. Coffee consumption and risk of breast cancer: an up-to-date meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e52681.