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Coffee Increases Estrogen in Women

December 08, 2001 | 53,872 views
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Drinking more than two cups of coffee daily may boost estrogen levels in women and could worsen conditions such as endometriosis and breast pain.

According to the researchers, women who drank the most coffee had higher levels of estradiol, a naturally occurring form of estrogen, during the early follicular phase, or days 1 to 5 of the menstrual cycle.

Higher estrogen levels would not be beneficial for women who for example have endometriosis, breast pain and family histories of breast or ovarian cancer, especially arising premenopausally.

The study included nearly 500 women aged 36 to 45 who were not pregnant, breast-feeding or taking hormones. All women answered questions about their diets, smoking habits, height and weight. Researchers measured the women's hormone levels during days 1 to 5 of their menstrual cycle.

Women who consumed more than one cup of coffee a day had significantly higher levels of estrogen during the early follicular phase of their menstrual cycle.

Caffeine intake from all sources was linked with higher estrogen levels regardless of age, body mass index (BMI), caloric intake, smoking, and alcohol and cholesterol intake.

Women who consumed at least 500 milligrams of caffeine daily, the equivalent of four or five cups of coffee, had nearly 70% more estrogen during the early follicular phase than women consuming no more than 100 mg of caffeine daily, or less than one cup of coffee.

This study provides a basis for believing that coffee consumption increases estradiol levels. While these effects are modest with one or two cups, they are more evident at higher levels of consumption.

Fertility and Sterility October 2001;76:723-729


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. While I believe that coffee and caffeine are far less dangerous than fruit juice or soda, it is still wise to limit, and if possible, eliminate its use.

This is becoming increasingly clear for women, as coffee should NEVER be consumed during pregnancy. It also appears that coffee consumption is associated with increased estrogen levels, which means an increase for breast and endometrial cancer.

Coffee has been previously associated with increased risk of stroke and rheumatoid arthritis.

One can use a product called Water Joe that is basically bottled water with caffeine added to help you wean off of the coffee. If you stop coffee cold turkey you will likely develop a severe headache from going through caffeine withdrawal.

If you simply MUST drink coffee here are a few tips to help reduce the chances of harmful effects:

  • Use organic coffee - Coffee is a heavily sprayed crop, so drinking organic coffee might reduce or eliminate the exposure to toxic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. The only drawback is that the countries where coffee is produced probably have less control and monitoring for compliance to organic practices. You will also be helping to protect the health of the people working in the coffee fields, as you will be helping to reduce their toxic exposure as well.

  • "Swiss Water Process" decaf - If you are going to drink decaffeinated coffee, be sure that it is one that uses a non-chemical based method of decaffeination. The "Swiss Water Process" is a patented method and is the best choice. Most of the major brands are chemically decaffeinated, even if it says "Naturally Decaffeinated" right on the container. If you are unsure of the methods, contact the manufacturer.
  • Avoid sugar and/or milk - These are actually much worse for you than the coffee itself. Don't compound the detrimental health effects by adding milk or sugar to your coffee.

  • Unbleached filters - If you use a "drip" coffee maker, be sure to use non-bleached filters. The bright white ones, which most people use, are chlorine bleached and some of this chlorine will be extracted from the filter during the brewing process.

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