Does coffee affect your fertility?
Simply put, what we put into our bodies can make a difference in our health.
Take caffeine for example. Studies have shown that women who drink one to one and a half cups of coffee each day had up to a 50% reduction in fertility. Three cups a day has been linked to early miscarriage (new evidence shows 200 milligrams as the limit).
Yes, there are some women who conceive while drinking multiple cups of coffee a day. Yes there are women who drink it during their entire pregnancy. But remember that each of our bodies are so very different and what affects one women will have no affect on the other. And coffee (and any type of caffeine) will have more negative effects on a person that already deals with hormone problems.
How caffeine could affect your fertility:
- The liver has to convert caffeine so that it may be eliminated in your urine. Your liver also has to deal with excreting your hormones. If the liver is overworked in one area, it can’t function properly.
- Caffeine may harm sperm at a molecular level.
- Caffeine may increase the excretion of calcium. Calcium helps build strong bones and the bones of a baby.
- Coffee in particular is hard on your adrenal glands – your adrenal glands control your sex hormones.
- We also tend to replace other healthy foods/beverages and drink coffee instead!
The brain also sends signals to the pituitary gland which sends ACTH to the adrenals which then produces adrenaline and cortisol – the same thing happens when we’re in danger. So our adrenals are producing both adrenaline and cortisol when it’s not needed. After time it can simply contribute to HPA axis dysfunction AKA adrenal dysfunction/adrenal fatigue especially when combined with other stress and/or poor diet choices.
Coffee also boosts cortisol production at the wrong times, putting our bodies on a different “rhythm”. So instead of naturally getting a boost of cortisol in the morning, we’re doing it in the middle of the afternoon, which then can have an effect on melatonin production and cause problems with sleep. Since melatonin has been shown to help stimulate the production of progesterone (or at least work synergistically) , this could have negative effects on progesterone levels.
So is coffee really bad for us?
I don’t necessarily think that coffee is all bad, I mean, it’s been shown to have some benefits too. But any daily habit that we “need” to function “normally” is also messing with our fragile chemical and hormonal balances and signals in the body, you know?
While it may seem to some that I’m on the extreme side of things here when I say to cut out caffeine completely, I’ve also realized it’s a relatively easy thing to do in the grand scheme of things.
I used to be a soda junkie, then turned coffee junkie when my parents owned a coffeehouse. Drinking at least one large cup per day (by the way, one cup is equal to about 8oz, so if you’re drinking out of a 16oz cup like I did, it’s two cups) and a lot of times two. Coffee is still a favorite of mine and I would drink it all day long if I could! But the more coffee I drink, the more I struggle with feeling good.
Caffeine is the most used drug in America, and if you’re addicted like so many others, start slow and cut back a little at a time. Get a small instead of the grande, or ask for half decaf until you can cut it out completely. For those of us who don’t drink coffee, you still need to be careful about sodas, chocolate, tea, and medications.
And you know, I think it’s not only the caffeine in the drinks, but the sugar and flavorings as well. That’s a lot for your body to deal with! Excess sugar causes your body to lose excess amounts of vitamin B during digestion and also causes a spike in insulin, which effects your endocrine/hormone system.
While drinking coffee may not be the one issue between you and fertility, is it not worth the extra effort?
Also make sure you check out the video Hethir from Natural Fertility Info put together on caffeine and fertility!
How much caffeine do you normally drink each day? Is it something you could give up?