Health Issues associated with Coffee and Caffeine
There are four main health issues caused by coffee and the over-consumption of caffeine:
1) Exhausted Adrenal Glands: Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It causes the adrenal glands secrete adrenaline, the hormone your body depends on in emergencies to elevate your heart rate, increase your respiration and blood pressure for a rapid flight-or-fight response. When you overuse stimulants, the adrenals become exhausted. If your caffeine sensitivity has diminished or you’re one of those who claims you can drink 3 shots of espresso and go right to sleep, guess what? Your adrenals have given up responding. This means you have less resistance to stress, which leaves you vulnerable to health hazards such as environmental pollutants and disease pathogens.
As we age, the adrenals become more and more important to us as the production center of the essential youth and sex hormones including DHEA, pregnenolone, progesterone, testosterone and estrogen. Many people in their forties find they can no longer tolerate the same level of caffeine consumption as they could in their twenties and thirties. The multiple effects of aging become apparent in the forties and the body frequently shows an increased variety of reactions to the toxicity of coffee and caffeine.
The adrenals can be considered the storage center for the vital force, your inherited reservoir of energy. They need nourishing to keep them in optimal health. Think of your adrenals as a bank account. If you continue to make withdrawals without any deposits, you will hit bottom with a looming overdraft in the form of depleted energy and health.
2) Severe Blood Sugar Swings: Caffeine forces the liver to release glycogen into the blood stream. The pancreas responds to the sudden rise in blood sugar by releasing insulin, the hormone which causes excess carbohydrates to be stored as fat. Within the span of an hour or two, the result is a sharp blood sugar drop resulting in a state of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). That’s when you think it’s time for another cup of coffee and the whole cycle starts up again.
As Barry Sears advises in his book, The Zone, achieving a hormonal balance and blood sugar stability allows you to maintain your natural weight and optimal energy level. He counsels that the breakdown of caffeine causes the pancreas to release too much insulin, thus creating a climate in which excess carbohydrates are stored as fat and are unavailable for use as energy by your brain. Although caffeine is a metabolic stimulant, the ultimate effect is to increase your appetite and contribute to weight gain and thus caffeine should be avoided by anyone working to reduce body fat.
3) Acid Imbalance: Over 208 acids in coffee can contribute to indigestion and a wide variety of health problems resulting from over-acidity associated with arthritic, rheumatic and skin irritations. Many people experience a burning sensation in their stomach after drinking coffee because coffee increases the secretion of acid in the stomach. Optimal health calls for an alkaline pH balance in the body.
4) Essential Mineral Depletion: Coffee inhibits the absorption of some nutrients and causes the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and trace minerals, all essential elements necessary for good health. Women need to be concerned about osteoporosis as menopause sets in. Studies show that women who drink coffee have an increased incidence of osteoporosis compared to non-coffee drinkers. Men are not immune to osteoporosis either.
There are a number of health conditions for which doctors advise their patients to eliminate coffee and all caffeine from their diet.
· Acid indigestion
· Anxiety, irritability and nervousness
· Candida or yeast problems
· Colitis, diverticulitis, diarrhea and other irritable bowel symptoms
· Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other auto-immune disorders
· Diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
· Dizziness, Meniere’s syndrome or tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
· Heart disease or heart palpitations
· High blood pressure
· High cholesterol
· Insomnia and interrupted or poor quality sleep
· Liver disease and gallbladder problems such as gallstones
· Kidney or bladder problems including kidney stones
· Migraines or other vascular headaches
· Skin irritations, rashes and dryness
· Ulcers, heartburn, and stomach problems such as hiatal hernias
· Urinary tract irritation
Female Health Issues: Women in particular need to be concerned about their caffeine intake during pregnancy because caffeine crosses the placental barrier to the fetus and studies show higher incidence of miscarriage, infertility and low birth weight in those women who drink too much caffeine. PMS symptoms and fibrocystic breast disease are both aggravated by caffeine. Hot flashes and other symptoms caused by hormonal fluctuations during menopause also are aggravated by caffeine. Coffee causes the body to excrete calcium and other minerals. Women at risk for osteoporosis need to eliminate their intake of caffeine and coffee.
Male Health Issues: Coffee is an irritant to the urinary tract and bladder. It is also a diuretic that aggravates conditions associated with frequent urination. Eliminating coffee and caffeine often relieves symptoms associated with frequent urination due to enlarged prostate glands.