Caffeine and Hypothyroidism — Is Too Much Caffeine Screwing Your Thyroid?

April 29, 2013 2 Comments by Rusty Doyle
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Do you sometimes wonder whether or not your hypothyroidism is affected by your morning cup of coffee?

Caffeine Intake and hypothyroidism is an issue that all individuals with hypothyroid problems need to address.

Caffeine and HypothyroidismThis is because most people consume caffeine on a regular basis and knowing how this could be affecting your thyroid is a highly recommended.

What is Hypothyroidism?

An underactive thyroid condition, hypothyroidism occurs when there are not enough of certain important hormones being produced by your glands. Hypothyroidism is more likely for aged sixty and above women. Needless to say, your body’s normal balance is upset when you have hypothyroidism. In its early stage, there are hardly any symptoms to speak of but later, hypothyroidism that is left untreated can cause problems of health including:

  • Heart disease
  • Infertility
  • Joint pain
  • Obesity

Currently, there are tests that accurately make a diagnosis of hypothyroidism once tests are done. Usually, it is safe, effective and simple to undergo treatment using the synthetic thyroid hormone. On the other hand when you take medication simultaneously with other depressants or stimulants such as caffeine, this is usually where the trouble starts.

What is Caffeine?

Naturally derived from plants, caffeine naturally occurs in plants used to make chocolate, some sodas, tea and coffee. Many times adults who drink between two and four coffee cups each day won’t really come across any issues. Problems tend to crop up when consumption of coffee becomes between six to ten cups per day. Symptoms of too much caffeine in your system will include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Depression
  • Excess production of urine
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tremors
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness

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Hypothyroidism and Caffeine – Drink Your Morning Cup of Coffee Moderately

These days, most people depend on their morning caffeine dose from a cup of tea or coffee while others rely on energy drinks and soft drinks throughout the day. If you are healthy otherwise and drink coffee moderately, the habit of caffeine will most likely not be an issue. On the other hand, thyroid medications do get affected with excess intake of caffeine, which stimulates the thyroid. Being readily available, caffeine is classified as a stimulant and will throw the natural balance of your body out of whack.

Hypothyroidism and Caffeine Sensitivity – Consuming Caffeine in Large Amounts Could Become a Problem

For most people, caffeine is not really a problem in small amounts. It only becomes an issue when caffeine begins to be consumed in larger amounts and rather than impacting just the health of your thyroid, it actually creates an impact on everything else as well. For this reason, if someone consumes a lot of soda and caffeine on a regular basis then the body’s metabolism will become affected. For someone with hypothyroidism who is seeking energy, this may sound like good news but it really is not.

Here’s why:

The adrenal glands are also affected by high caffeine consumptions each day. Being a stimulant, caffeine produces adrenaline in the body especially when you drink soda or coffee in large amount. Adrenaline is only supposed to be produced when the body is in a situation of flight or fight and not when you are at your desk, tinkering with your email inbox. In other words, combining the fatigue you feel from hypothyroidism with the temporary “high” you get from caffeine will throw your system out of whack, leading you to “crash” and feel more fatigue a few hours later.

Hypothyroidism and Caffeine Intake – Fatigue and the Temporary Coffee High

The condition of hypothyroidism is when the production of hormones by the thyroid gland is not adequate for what is needed by the body. One common cause is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. One of the symptoms most noticeable in hypothyroidism is fatigue. It is easy to understand why this condition is often misdiagnosed as a normal symptom of aging in older women.

Hypothyroidism and Caffeine – Caffeine Interferes with Hypothyroidism Medication

Consuming caffeine in large amounts will cause epinephrine and norepinephrine hormones to be released by the adrenals. Naturally, it will take some time for this to happen and will occur sooner if caffeine is something you consumed starting a younger age. Needless to say, the thyroid becomes stressed out when caffeine is excessive. Again, 2-4 cups of coffee daily may not cause any issues if you are healthy otherwise. On the other hand, one study reports that rats given caffeine indicated less production of T4 thyroid hormone after one day. In another study, when the thyroid replacement hormone was followed by a cup of coffee, this affected the medication absorption.

Caffeine Intake and hypothyroidism – Self Medication with Caffeine

The thyroid is stressed out by caffeine and because of this it is a good idea to limit your caffeine intake. Naturally, it is quite tempting to self-medicate with caffeine but the only problem is that this can become a lifelong maladaptive habit that will wreak more havoc in your body. After all, the high you get is only temporary and this will tempt you into ingesting more caffeine each time you feel “down.”

Caffeine and Hypothyroidism – Cutting Back on Coffee

Once you make a decision to limit your cups of coffee each day, you need to do this gradually. The reason for this is so that you will be able to prevent symptoms of withdrawal, which won’t be easy to handle especially when one of the main symptoms of your hypothyroidism is fatigue.

Caffeine and Hypothyroidism

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