Do you kick-start your day with a hot cup of coffee? Perhaps you indulge in tea, soda, or energy drinks instead.
Unfortunately, that caffeine kick you crave to get through the day may be wreaking havoc on your estrogen levels.
The Caffeine/Estrogen Connection
Estrogen plays a number of roles in women’s bodies, particularly sexual and reproductive health. Estrogen also promotes breast cancer tumor growth, which is why lowering estrogen levels or blocking estrogen production is often used to prevent or slow cancer reappearance post-surgery.
Additionally, estrogen prevents bone loss. When combined with calcium, vitamin D, and other hormones and minerals, estrogen builds strong bones.
- Estrogen maintains healthy skin.
- Estrogen deficiency increases risk of heart disease.
- Low levels of estrogen may contribute to depression.
- Estrogen causes gender differentiation in fetal growth.
- Estrogen increases HDL (good) cholesterol.
Maintaining optimal estrogen levels is integral to good health. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep estrogen levels in check.
Why Coffee is Hazardous to Hormonal Health
Here’s where the information gets tricky.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that detailed the effects of caffeine on woman. More than 250 subjects ranging in age from 18 to 44 participated. The average age was 27.
Two cups of coffee a day lowered estrogen levels in Caucasian women by 13%, while it raised estrogen levels in Asian women by 59%.
Why the differences?
The reasons are unclear; however, it’s possible that genetics and their influence on metabolism may play a role in how Caucasian and Asian women’s bodies are affected by caffeine.
It’s important to note that low levels of estrogen are associated with menopause. When estrogen levels drop, women may experience night sweats, hot flashes, and fatigue.
The good news is that for healthy women, their reproductive health is not significantly altered by coffee consumption.
Although the study did not focus on the effects of caffeine in men, it may be a good idea for both men and women to cut back on caffeine to keep hormonal levels in check.