Does Caffeine Affect My Hormones?

Coffee. Tea. Soda. Energy drinks.

We love our caffeine. No matter how many warnings we get about what it does to your heart, your anxiety, your mood... it seems nothing stops people from that morning coffee run. You may want to put down the Red Bull when you hear this one: caffeine is also messing with your hormones. That’s a delicate balance you don’t want to disrupt.

 

Caffeine & Estrogen

So, we’re looking at 200 milligrams of caffeine today. That's equal to about: 2 cups of coffee. Or, it's 7 cups of tea, could be those 2 Red Bulls you had, or maybe the 4 cups of Pepsi from yesterday. Caffeine can mess with with estrogen- specifically E2, or estradiol. This is the predominant form of estrogen during our reproductive years.

One study revealed that E2 and caffeine react different depending on your ethnic background. Asian women experienced an increase in E2 levels from caffeine, whereas white women had decreased levels of E2 from the same amount of caffeine.

The study also  specified that caffeinated soda and green tea, in particular, caused increased E2 levels across every racial group. It even warned that drinking more than 1 cup of green tea every day could lead to issues in ovulation (1). Take that with a grain of salt, as the sample size for the experiment was pretty small.

 

 

What this Means for Your Health

Keep in mind: if you’re drinking a lot of caffeine every day for a long period of time, then you're more more likely to face issues with your estrogen levels. If you have a cup of coffee once in a while-no need to panic.

Elevated levels of E2 has been linked to conditions like endometriosis. With that comes an increased risk of infertility (2). Doctors also see high E2 levels in patients with breast cancer. Low levels of E2 levels are related to conditions like early onset menopause. These are the extremes, but it’s not a bad idea to know about them. Changes in E2 levels can also result in issues with bone density for women (3).

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3260075/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10731122
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12577184
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