Coffee is a very popular drink worldwide. It’s estimated that coffee lovers consume around 2.25 billion cups of coffee per day.
We drink coffee for the taste and its ability to give us an energy boost. Most people are aware of the caffeine in coffee that is responsible for the pick-me-up ability of coffee, but there are many other compounds in coffee as well.
Also, people in different parts of the world brew it differently and consume it differently. All these factors make it difficult for experts to be sure how coffee affects different people.
Researchers have found that coffee has many health benefits including protection against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver diseases.
However, drinking too much coffee can also have some adverse effects.
Side Effects Of Coffee
Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. According to Sleep Education, caffeine begins to affect the body very quickly after consumption.
It enters the bloodstream within 15 minutes and reaches a peak level in the blood within 30 to 60 minutes. It takes the body 3 to 5 hours to eliminate half of the caffeine. The remaining caffeine can stay in your body for a long time.
Caffeine can have a disruptive effect on sleep. Drinking a cup of coffee close to bedtime can make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
If you drink too much coffee or drink it late in the afternoon or early in the evening, the caffeine will delay the time that you fall asleep, which results in an overall reduction in sleep time. Insufficient sleep over extended periods has severe negative effects on your health.
Coffee Can Interact With Medication
Coffee can affect some prescription drugs by either blocking their absorption or increasing their effects.
It can either be the caffeine in coffee or some other compounds in coffee that can interfere with the working of certain drugs.
Studies show that the working of medication for depression, thyroid and osteoporosis can be affected by coffee.
Here is a list of medications that caffeine can affect.
The Effect Of Coffee On Stress And Depression
Caffeine elevates levels of cortisol and other hormones in your body, causing a temporary boost in mood. After the caffeine wears off, feelings of mild to moderate depression can set in.
Coffee is not known to cause depression or stress; it tends to make people feel better.
However, studies have shown that coffee consumption could make depression worse in people who already suffer from depression.
Both caffeine and stress can raise your cortisol levels, which is not good for your health. Prolonged elevated levels of cortisol are very bad for your health.
The secret is to enjoy your coffee, but stick to moderate amounts – around 3 cups a day.
Nervousness And Anxiety
The caffeine in coffee causes the release of adrenaline, the “fight-or-flight” hormone. But if you drink a lot of coffee, the effect of the adrenaline can become stronger, making you feel anxious and nervous, even jittery.
In fact, there is a condition named caffeine-induced anxiety disorder. The American Psychiatric Association has added it as one of the caffeine-related syndromes in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
This is a very real condition with serious physical and psychological effects. I have a friend who was diagnosed with caffeine-induced anxiety disorder after drinking two Red Bulls.
The beverage is known for its high caffeine content. Now, this is an extreme example, and not everyone who drinks soft drinks with high caffeine content is in danger of developing an anxiety disorder, but it would be wise to be careful.
In caffeine-sensitive people, even a modest amount of coffee can cause rapid breathing and feelings of anxiety and stress.
This side effect of coffee is not uncommon. So, for people who find that they often feel jittery, it might be a good idea to cut back on their caffeine intake.
Coffee Can Aggravate Heartburn Or Acid Reflux
One other side effect of coffee that it can worsen the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in some people.
This seems to be especially true for people who take coffee with milk or cream. With black coffee the effect seems less severe.
The acid reflux seems to happen because the caffeine in coffee relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter – the muscle that normally keeps stomach contents from moving up into the throat.
If you suffer from heartburn, try to limit your consumption of coffee and see if your symptoms improve.
Coffee Can Be A Laxative
That early morning cup of coffee you love so much can jump-start your day in more ways than simply waking you up – it can also wake up your bowels. Many people find that their bowel movements are positively affected by that first cup of coffee.
Studies have shown that caffeine can stimulate contractions of the colon and give the urge for your bowels to go.
Research has shown that caffeine increases the activity of the colon, but studies have also shown that decaffeinated coffee has the same side effect.
Coffee And Headaches
Some people say coffee gives them headaches, and others, like me, experience relief from headaches after a cup of coffee. According to WebMD, it’s possible for coffee to both cause and relieves headache.
Caffeine can help with pain and is a common ingredient in painkillers. Caffeine makes painkillers more effective and it helps to reduce inflammation.
But coffee can also cause headaches. This happens when you stop drinking coffee. When you drink coffee, the caffeine narrows the blood vessels that surround your brain.
As soon as you stop drinking coffee, you get a headache because the blood vessels expand again. Headaches can be a side effect of stopping to drink coffee.
Coffee Can Hinder The Ability Of Platelets
Humans have three kinds of blood cells, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The normal platelet count in the body is between 150,000 and 350,000 per microliter of blood.
One of the functions of platelets is to stop bleeding by sticking together and forming a scab in the case of injury. If your platelet count is low, you might have a problem with bleeding that doesn’t stop.
Researchers have studied the possible effect of caffeine on platelets. In a 2008 study, scientists gave study subjects 200 ml coffee to drink at one session and then a 180-mg caffeine capsule with 200 ml of water at another session.
The scientists found that the coffee had an anti-platelet effect, but the caffeine only had no effect on platelets in the subjects.
This means that while coffee may affect the body’s platelets, it’s not the caffeine in the coffee that causes the effect.
Hampers Mineral Absorption
Coffee can reduce iron absorption. For instance, scientists have found that study subjects who drank a cup of coffee with their hamburger meal absorbed 39% less iron from the meal than if they didn’t have the coffee.
Hold on if you like to have a cup of coffee with a sandwich. One study showed that a cup of instant coffee with a sandwich reduced iron absorption up to 90%!
But don’t worry – if you have the coffee an hour before the meal, the coffee won’t affect iron absorption.
You may also have heard that coffee reduces calcium absorption.
However, according to American Bone Health, the caffeine in coffee may very modestly reduce calcium absorption (by about 4 mg of calcium per cup of coffee). But you can undo this effect by simply adding milk to your coffee.
Frequent urination is a common side effect of drinking coffee. It happens because the caffeine in coffee has a stimulatory effect on the bladder.
The caffeine in coffee can increase bladder activity and create a higher feeling of urgency and cause frequent urination.
It can also lead to increased incontinence. If you are at risk, you can reduce your intake of caffeine or opt for decaffeinated coffee.
On the whole, drinking coffee is good for you. Coffee can have some adverse side effects especially if you indulge in too many cups of coffee.
If you stick to a moderate amount, about three 8-ounce cups of coffee per day, you should not experience many, if any side effects.