This question usually comes at me with a side order of mumma attitude. What is sacrosanct to most knackered mums? Caffeine, chocolate and wine. Not necessarily in that order. We’ll talk about the other two another day – but for now let’s talk about coffee.
Right. Caffeine. Evil genius or much maligned superhero? Well, there’s been tons of research on caffeine.
First, did you know that you may be genetically predisposed to how you react to coffee? Me? I can’t drink it. Love the smell and the taste but one cup and I can go one of two ways – weirdly euphoric or jittery and anxious.
It’s in your genes… Caffeine is metabolized by a liver enzyme coded by the gene CYP1A2. In simple(r) speak, if you have 1 or 2 variants of this gene (depending on whether you inherited copies of this variant from one or both parents), it may impact how your body reacts to a coffee. I’m a (super) slow metabolizer. You may be one of those people that can have an espresso at midnight and still sleep like a baby = fast metaboliser.
Sleep impact – There are a multitude of reasons why you might not be sleeping. Chances are, if you’re a parent, small people wandering into your room in the middle of the night has a lot to do with it. But if you have a high intake of caffeine, it is a stimulant so it’s worth cutting right back to see if the quality of your sleep improves.
PMS – Hmmm. The jury is out. There was some research in 2016 that said caffeine doesn’t affect it, but what we do know is that as a stimulant caffeine can cause anxiety in some women and coffee may make this worse. Breast tenderness can be improved by various nutritional interventions but one 2014 study showed that 61 percent of women with breast pain who cut out caffeine had reduced pain.
Menopause – Evidence is mixed but caffeine intake been shown to exacerbate hot flashes and night sweats so cut it out for a few weeks but change nothing else. Better or not?
Fertility – What about if you’re trying to get pregnant? There is evidence that caffeine impacts fertility. Consuming caffeine in large quantities has been associated with miscarriage and reduced birth weight. So, if you’re TTC I advise that you avoid or keep to around 200mg a day – that’s a regular latte or cappuccino.
And I feel honour-bound to say that coffee beans are heavily sprayed in pesticides, so if you’re going to drink it, choose organic.
This is not an all-encompassing overview. There is stacks of scientific data on caffeine. Some of it even shows potential health benefits. So, listen, if you drink coffee because you love it, and you’re in great health, enjoy. If you and caffeine aren’t a great match, and you recognise it impacts your mood or sleep, cut back.
If you can’t get through the morning (or out the door) without caffeine, consider nutritional therapy. Call me for a FREE (UK) discovery call 07939 516512 to talk about how we can get your mojo up and running without those cups of wakey juice.