Magic black drink, wake-up drink, elixir of Gods – these are just some of the synonyms used for coffee. Black, latte, cappuccino, macchiato, mocha… I have already watery mouth, what about you? This probably the most common morning drink took control over the world. It is delicious and gives you energy – at least for a while – but… is it good for your thyroid?
According to the National Coffee Association’s online survey from 2013, about 83 percent of adults in the USA drink coffee. It’s a good number. Although it doesn’t really surprise me when I see the growing coffee-shops businesses all around. In the internet I found many researches and actually arguments about benefits of coffee vs harmful, addicting caffeine. Well, obviously large amounts of caffeine may be harmful, but if it is moderate, it shouldn’t be bad – it’s like with anything else – too much isn’t good.
Coffee – good or bad?
The one answer doesn’t really exist. It depends on your health and predispositions. Coffee has many benefits, like for example fact that it is extremely high in antioxidants, which is very good, because antioxidants fight with toxicity and slows down aging processes. Some studies shows that coffee can even prevent cancer, diabetes and depression. Dr. Axe, founder of the largest natural – health websites in the world claims that:
Coffee has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, which supports cognitive function. In addition, coffee and caffeine consumption works as an Alzheimer’s natural treatment, in addition to other brain disorders.
As you probably know from your own experience, coffee gives you energy and this is probably the main reason why you drink it. However, I used to drink coffee for the taste (because I loved it!), and even if I needed energy – trust me – if you are hypothyroid, coffee will not give you energy. In my case… 5 of them daily (!) didn’t help at all.
Coffee and thyroid
Alright, I used to be addicted to coffee flavor, I still like cappuccino a lot, but I drink it very occasionally. Why? Because coffee / caffeine:
#1 Impacts T4 absorption
T4 – levothyroxine, the synthetic thyroid hormone which you probably take daily if you have hypothyroidism, is blocked by drinking coffee. If you cannot live without your morning elixir – take your hormone pill at least an hour before drinking coffee. This may help to increase hormone absorption in your body.
#2 Decrease magnesium levels
Magnesium levels are controlled in the body in large part by the kidneys. Kidneys filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals. The more coffee you drink, the less magnesium your intestines can absorb. Sad, but truth.
Why you do not wanna have decreased magnesium absorption: according to hypothyroidmom.com:
Magnesium is responsible for converting the inactive T4 thyroid hormone into the active form of T3. This is extremely important because the metabolism of your body cells are enhanced by T3, not inactive T4.
Magnesium deficiency is related to goiter, or an enlarged thyroid gland. Another important nutrient in preventing goiter is iodine, but magnesium is right there helping too.
Magnesium helps you to make more T4 in the thyroid gland. Without magnesium, many of the thyroid enzymes that make thyroid hormone simply could not function.
What I noticed when I used to drink too much coffee – I had muscle cramps – from my eyes (facial tics) to painful feet cramps. You may also suffer from chronic pain if you have magnesium deficiency.
#3 Is addicting
Caffeine is addicting to the point that if you stop having your coffee, you may suffer from headaches, pain, anxiety or digestive issues. However it is possible to get rid off this addiction – I am an example: 5 coffees daily reduced to 0 or 1 occasionally. I had headaches, and anxiety for a while, but it finally disappeared.
If somebody is struggling with chronic fatigue on a regular basis or has thyroid issues, adrenal issues or hormonal issues, drinking coffee can actually exacerbate the problem. That caffeine is really the main issue with coffee, as it will burn out your adrenal glands because it can be an addictive stimulant. – Dr Axe
#4 Causes inflammations
Caffeine is a significant contributor of inflammation in the body. If you are already hypothyroid, you do not want more body pains, aches, skin problems or fatigue, do you? Inflammation causes symptoms above plus it may cause autoimmune conditions as well (like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). This study shows it clearly.
Drink or not to drink – that is… your choice
As you see, coffee is both good and can be bad for you. Especially for those with hypothyroidism I do not recommend drinking it too much (more than 1 cup daily). I know if you are addicted it is very hard to stop, but it is possible and worth it. Instead of coffee you can try Maca Root with cacao or just drink more natural tea (herbal) or chicory (check out this awesome recipe). I know it is not the same taste and I do not want to encourage you to fool yourself, but if you want to improve your thyroid health – it is good to sacrifice this one drink. If you decide to continue drinking coffee anyway, and I do not judge you, (I drink it occasionally too even if I am hypothyroid), it is good to pay attention to the following:
make sure you buy organic coffee beans – I buy mine in Organic stores like Sprouts or Whole Foods
it is better to buy organic beans than instant coffee – instant coffee is processed and may be contaminated by ochratoxin
I hope this article didn’t discourage you in any way to drinking coffee, because I emphasize again – everyone is different. I just base on my own experience. Moderate amounts of caffeine, under control never killed nobody! 🙂