Plus I share my thoughts on the Bulletproof/Upgraded Coffee trend, How Women Need to Biohack their Energy Levels Differently than Men, and How to Heal from Caffeine Exposure
In my early 20’s during a routine GYN visit my doctor found a lump in my breast. She asked two other doctors to come in to examine it and the three of them were talking about it as if I wasn’t even there. My anxiety about potentially having something serious was mounting.
I remember being totally terrified, actually. Eventually, after what seemed like hours, they decided that it was a fluid filled cyst, so of course I asked what might have caused that. My GYN then asked me if I had been drinking lots of caffeine recently – the answer was a huge yes – I had been staying up late studying for finals – and then it came out that caffeine increases the tendency of breast tissue to produce cysts.
I stopped taking in all forms of caffeine that day, and have been caffeine free for 20 years. The research that has come out since I made that choice has only made me more grateful that I listened to that early warning signal from my body. I wanted to share with you 3 little-known reasons you, as a woman, shouldn’t be drinking coffee or caffeine in general, especially if you have PMS, are trying to conceive, or have a diagnosed menstrual issue.
Reason #1 – Caffeine Causes Cyst Formation in the Breasts and Ovaries
Caffeine can increase the development of benign breast disease. Did you know that? I certainly didn’t! I LOVED coffee, espresso bars, the ritual, lattes – I’m not gonna lie, the stuff is delicious! After this scare, I began looking into caffeine and its effects on hormones. Turns out for women with PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis, Ovarian Cysts, and Fibrocystic breasts- caffeine is a guaranteed way to make more cysts. For everyone else with hormonal sensitivity, it might not cause cysts, but it will disrupt your system.
Sometimes it seems like coffee is our national drug of choice. We’re too often overworked, under-rested, plus poorly fed, and so coffee has become the crutch many of us use just to get through another busy day. A lot of people feel like coffee must be good for them in one way or another, and with all of the extraordinary marketing by big brands and continuously reported contradictory research, of course you would. The truth however is that we’re addicted and we don’t know the biochemical effects of this substance on our hormones.
Coffee is absolutely terrible when it comes to the female hormonal ecosystem and beyond this cyst formation situation there are 3 other reasons it’s not good for us ladies.
If you’re struggling with your period, fibroids, cysts of any kind in the breast or ovary, endometriosis, infertility, low sex drive, moodiness, low energy, and weight issues – coffee is making all of these problems much worse.
Reason #2 – Your Genes Determine If You Can Metabolize Caffeine Safely
Caffeine is broken down by the liver using the enzyme CYP1A2. Your ability to produce this enzyme is regulated by the CYP1A2 gene. If you have a mutation in this gene, it will dictate how your liver will be able to break down and eliminate caffeine from your system. Based on your gene variation, you’ll either make a lot of this enzyme (and be a successful caffeine guzzler) or a little. Turns out only 10% of the population make a lot of this enzyme! If you are a slow metabolizer, a 2006 study showed that you are at an elevated risk of suffering a heart attack from consuming 2 or more cups of coffee a day. With heart disease being the number 1 killer of women, it seems that every woman should be testing their genes before consuming this substance!
Here’s the other interesting thing about this, CYP1A2, is also involved by the liver in the metabolism of estrogen. So if you haven’t had your genetic testing done, but you struggle with PMS, a diagnosed estrogen-dominant condition like PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis, etc, then you have reason to suspect that you may have a mutation with this gene and are making less of this enzyme needed not only to break down caffeine but also estrogen.
In 2008, research was done to build on the earlier studies linking caffeine to breast tissue changes and showed some association with increased risk of breast cancer. Perhaps the variation in risk factors has something to do with this gene variation. I think if there’s a history of breast cancer in your family, then this is important information to consider.
This is why getting off caffeine is such an important part of the FLO protocol – you’re here because you are struggling with the various ways estrogen dominance can present in the body and we want to remove all obstacles from the endocrine system so it can break that hormone down more efficiently.
Reason #3 – Caffeine Increases Infertility Rates!
It’s alarming how significant an impact this has on fertility for both men and women, and yet it’s rarely ever mentioned as a dietary change required when pursuing conception by any means, natural or medically supported. It’s so impactful, I’ve included the list of all the current research so you can be totally informed.
- 3 cups of coffee a day consumed by women or men increases the risk of miscarriage dramatically – by 74%
- Caffeine is associated with sub-optimal or suppressed fertility and, therefore, difficulties conceiving
- Drinking caffeinated beverages during early pregnancy (before you may know that you’re pregnant) increases the risk of early pregnancy loss
- Caffeine is considered an impairment to fertility alongside alcohol and smoking
- Men who drink 2 of more cups of coffee a day had a lower chance of conception via IVF
- Coffee disrupts ovulation by increasing cortisol levels and stressing the adrenals
- Coffee depletes vital vitamins and minerals needed for ovulation and healthy fertility (including absolutely necessary B vitamins and folate) and coffee’s acidity causes gut health problems
One more Reason – Caffeine depletes the body of micronutrients essential for hormone balance
We all know not to drink coffee when we’re pregnant or breastfeeding, but the fact of the matter is – at every stage it is bad news for your hormones.
Coffee flushes magnesium and other nutrients and minerals that are vital for happy hormones, such as B vitamins from your system. Here’s more from me on why magnesium is so very important for your ovaries. The acidity of coffee causes an imbalance in your gut flora and makes it harder for you to absorb the goodness of even the healthiest of diets. This makes it harder for your endocrine system to do it’s job of balancing your hormones. Taking supplements is key when recovering from
caffeine exposure – these are the optimal supplements you need to replenish your levels.
The Bulletproof Coffee Dilemma and Biohacking Your Energy as a Woman
I love Dave Asprey and his work and I think Bulletproof Coffee is AMAZING…for men.
In fact, coffee is an essential biohacking tool for men who experience profound energy dips every single day as they run out of their testosterone and cortisol supply for the day. You however, as a woman, do not have that issue, and do not need to compensate for your energy in this way. In a male-centric health paradigm, boosting the energy with caffeine makes sense for their bodies and the lifestyle that is patterned after their hormones.
In the female-centric health paradigm, you want to boost your energy by supporting your blood sugar and your adrenals to give you sustainable energy all throughout the day as your estrogen and progesterone, testosterone, and insulin fluctuate throughout the month. Eliminating coffee and cycle syncing your diet is the best way to biohack your way to more energy. Especially when you factor in all the research that shows caffeine’s specific impact on women’s health, we must be gender specific in our quest to biohack our energy!
For example, men are not designed to hold nutrients for as long as women are. Women are brilliantly designed to conserve as much energy from whatever we’re taking in so we can grown other tiny humans in our uterus. Whether you are actively doing this or not, your body simply retains fluids for much longer and we metabolize the chemicals contained much more slowly. Whereas liquids process through the male body at a rapid rate – men drink and urinate out both alcohol and caffeine fast and avoid much of the negative physical impact as a result.
As a result, biohacking must be different for men and women as we have two totally distinct systems. If you do choose to consume it, and you have the genes to metabolize it, then absolutely add healthy fats to the coffee – especially the coconut oil – to help your blood sugar cope with the caffeine.
However, for us ladies, the caffeine is still there, depleting your key hormone balancing micronutrients, spiking your cortisol and insulin and disrupting your endocrine function. You may also have a slightly fatty liver as a result of your hormonal issues, and you may have a hard time digesting not only the dairy, but also breaking down all of that fat and caffeine.
Many women are estrogen dominant and you only need to look as far as my post on dairy to see why I discourage this when dealing with hormonal issues. And if you’re here at the Flo Living blog, I’m guessing that you’re dealing with some hormonal issues.
The coffee detox – my 5-step guide to making the transition
If you want to wean yourself off, you need to first ask yourself this question – why do I drink coffee? If it’s because you truly love the taste, I have a 5 step strategy for you to keep the habit under control and make it less harmful to your hormones. If you like coffee because it keeps you awake and gives you energy, well I have a 5 step strategy for you too to heal your fatigue and boost your energy.
Scenario 1: OK, I get that it’s bad for me, but I’m never going to cut it out completely. What can I do to minimize the damage?
So, for those of you who just love the taste and do not rely on it to feel awake in the morning or to concentrate or to get through the day (be honest!) here’s how to minimize those bad effects:
- Ditch the White Stuff – Lose the sugar and the cream and minimize the blood sugar impact. Try Lakanto and coconut milk instead.
- Size Matters – Take the European approach to coffee drinking. Drink a small cup of fresh espresso, rather than a giant venti, trenti bucket from Starbucks.
- Only with Food – Again, the Europeans have this right, drink your small cup of coffee after or during a full meal. If you enjoy the taste, you should be savoring it – not gulping it down on the run or as you dash to the office.
- Replenish your Nutrient levels – take the FLO Balance Supplements to ensure you rebuild your lost magnesium and B’s and help your gut and your liver deal with the caffeine exposure.
- Begin Cycle Syncing to decrease cravings – when you eat, exercise, and work in a way that supports your fluctuating hormones, you build energy daily, instead of working against your hormones and leave yourself drained. You’ll naturally crave less coffee! Download the MyFLO app for the ultimate cycle syncing guide.
Scenario 2: Ok, I now see that this is probably making my symptoms worse and I want to stop, but the withdrawal is bad, what can I do to wean off of it for good?
For those of you who find yourselves groggy and tired even after what seems like a full night’s sleep, you might well be suffering with adrenal fatigue. Rather than jacking up your energy levels artificially, you need to think about healing your adrenal glands. Here’s how to start that process:
- Calorie Load for Breakfast – Eat a really good, big breakfast every day. Have a two egg omelette with spinach plus gluten-free bread and avocado. Make it the central meal of your day. This is eating with the natural biorhythm of your body. Your body needs fuel early rather than in the evening when it’s preparing for rest.
- Boost Your Adrenal Support – Support your need for mental focus with ginkgo biloba and rhodiola. For natural and sustainable energy take ashwaganha, vitamin B12 and vitamin B5. To reduce stress and calm your cortisol, drink holy basil tea.
- My Ultimate Substitute – Swap coffee for kukicha or “twig” tea, which is made from the roasted stem from which green tea leaves are plucked. It has a nutty taste and is perfect any time of the day. It’s also alkalizing for the blood versus the acid-forming cup of coffee. I am a tea collector, and I know that most herbal tea over time just tastes like hot potpourri. But kukicha tea is in a non-floral, non-herbaceous class by itself – you will LOVE it (and want to keep it in your bag at all times!).
- Replenish your Nutrient levels – take the FLO Balance Supplements to ensure you rebuild your lost magnesium and B’s and help your adrenals, gut and your liver heal from the long term caffeine exposure.
- Begin Cycle Syncing to build energy – when you eat, exercise, and work in a way that supports your fluctuating hormones, you build energy daily, instead of working against your hormones and leave yourself drained. Download the MyFLO app for the ultimate cycle syncing guide.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you
First, is coffee your drug of choice? Have you worried about how much you drink?
Second, will you try to wean yourself off? Let me know how it goes!
Third, you know everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social by clicking the buttons below
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When you take these 5 supplements daily, you’ll be giving your body excellent micronutrients to support healthier hormone levels. Which means that you’ll start to see your worst period symptoms get better… and even disappear after a while.
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I just read your story about coffee!! I never knew it was “bad” for you even in moderation. I have slowed down on how much I drink coffee in the morning and I def can’t drink it after 12 or I can’t sleep. Well now I just found out I’m pregnant 6 weeks and I take one sip in the morning… I’d truthfully rather not. What else do you recommend me drinking thru this tiring process?:)))
Hi there – no caffeine while pregnant or nursing is best. Hot water with lemon is good and raspberry leaf tea is excellent to strengthen the uterus during pregnancy.
J Archer says
Raspberry tea causes miscarriages in early pregnancy – midwives in the UK tell you to avoid it. In this instance a little coffee’s not going to hurt you.
Better to use something that won’t addict the baby and cause loss of sleep- which will become more vital and harder to attain as the pregnancy goes by. Best coffee sub. EVER is roasted dandelion tea mixed with roasted chicory tea, infused then poured over a scoop of grass-fed gelatin, a big chunk of butter and a teaspoon of coconut sugar. High-speed blended it is DIVINELY rich smooth and every bit as a ‘HIT’ as coffee used to be to me. Except it does the body good, it doesn’t damage anything.
yes I was reading the same thing. I would not suggest raspberry tea in first tri mister, you can substitute with chamomile tea and water and lemon is good and 1 Coffee between 2-3 break days is safe. say u had one on Monday take a break and drink it Thursday and so on. have a nice day.
This is terrible and dangerous advice, you should not drink raspberry leaf tea until the last few weeks of pregnancy as directed by your midwife.
Oh my gosh, no raspberry tea when pregnant! Go to a trained herbalist and midwife for instruction and not on an online forum.
I get about the same amount of caffeine in a large cup of tea as i do in a small cup of coffee. I have drunk tea for as long as I can remember and it never causes breast cysts but a small amount of coffee for a couple days, does. I think it is something else in the coffee perhaps the oils that cause the cysts..
I want to know more about this too. I noticed that when I say black tea my skin is fine, when I drink coffee l get cysts like pimples. I think you are definitely on to something about the oil! I’ve been thinking the exact same thing!
What did you do about the cyst ? Did they slowly go away when you stopped with the caffeine ?
This is amazing…I also found a lump in my breast and it came to be a cyst that i needed drained. I had no clue how it started but i drink a ton of caffeine. Thank you for this article.
I’ve never been a coffee drinker. Can’t stand the smell of it brewing, for one, and the taste is disgusting, to me. I do, however, have a Diet Dr. Pepper addiction. I love the taste and the fizz. I realize how bad it is and that I need to drop the habit, I just don’t know what my alternatives are considering how very picky I am. Water is boring. Tea doesn’t do it for me either. Going cold turkey is just a set up for failure in my book and the migraine headaches that go along with it doesn’t appeal to me either. I thought about making my own fruit soda with seltzer water to avoid any additives, but to still have the fizz. The process to which to make your own soda is quite a task, though. Any thoughts on this?
Melissa, try club soda with some orange, lime, or lemon juice. You can also use mineral water, or any other fizzy water. Just keep in mind that the carbonation is considered acidic, too, and can leach the calcium out of your body. A homemade alternative could be some old fashioned sodas, using baking soda and vinegar mixed with fruit juice. There’s lots of simple recipes online.
Water Kefir is the BEST sub for soda, super easy to make, and inexpensive! Choose juice or diy flavored simple syrup for fun flavors!
Citrus also effects estrogen levels. just read about that.
Nicole Campbell says
Hi could you post a link to where you read about that? That makes sense to me in regards to how I react to citrus.
Hey Melissa, Diet Soda – nasty artificial sweeteners wreak havoc on your endocrine system and the carbonation dehydrates you and strips the magnesium levels in your body. Definitely make your own!
What about decaf coffee? I’m trying to figure out if it’s caffeine that’s the enemy, or something inherent in coffee.
The issue with decaf is the chemical process used to extract the caffeine – also not good for us. So either way, you’ve got to let it go. xo Alisa
I know this is an old conversation but just want to mention that Swiss Water Process is the healthy alternative to removing caffeine, 99.9% they say:
Most health food stores sell SWP decaf coffee.
However Im also not sure that coffee is free from other components that are harmful. Im still on the fence myself. 🙂
I only use Swiss Water Decaf coffee beans, they do not affect me the way like other decaf and non decaf beans (stressed, jitttery feeling, insomnia and anxiety).
I’m also curious if Swiss water process decaf is going to have these affects?
Decaf still contains caffeine. If you are struggling with a hormonal issue, it is well worth giving it up for 3 to 6 months to notice a difference!
Ever heard of Barlico or coffee substituted with Barley?
I’ve tried withdrawing from coffee,even instant ones..withdrawl affects can be bad. I drink coffee more out of comfort,similar to some people and hot chocolate on freezing nights. I drink a cup to feel calm, to wind down, to let go. Before that, I was biking. Coffee did not exist.
As long as you don’t have issues with gluten, the barley coffees can work! You can also look into chicory root coffee. I would slowly wean yourself off of caffeine to avoid the side effects!
True true true! We are addicted. I know it’s bad for me and it’s HARD to stop. I am trying and will let you know how it goes!
how’s it going?? xo Alisa
Louise Alexander says
How bad is tea? Black tea, that is. My body cannot tolerate coffee, yet I need a cup of tea in the morning just to get me going. It’s a cultural thing, I’m English & have been drinking it since I was young. I try to only drink organic, no more than 3 cups and none after 5pm, but I do worry this may be too much.
Louise, it’s too much! Try Kukicha or Roobois or Herbal Chai to keep the ritual and ditch the caffeine exposure. xo Alisa
kukicha still has caffeine, just considerably less of it
Marisa Warren says
Great article. How about cold brewed coffee or Matcha Tea? The marketing hype around cold brewed coffee claims it is significantly less acidic & better for you.
In relation to Match Tea – what is your view? It does have a stronger caffeine dose than regular green tea.
Hey Marisa, so glad you liked it! All caffeine is the same – no getting around it 😉 xo Alisa
I have tried to quit at least 20 times. I get massive headaches, mood swings, fatigue… *sigh* But, then, I’m back on the black stuff with two to three sugars in a small cup in the morning. 🙁 I don’t even think I need it because it wakes me up slightly…not fully! I am caffeine sensitive so I can’t drink it in the afternoon or late morning. I mean, I’m already on 3 mg of Melatonin a night!
Oh Yvette, this is such a vicious cycle you’re in. Too much caffeine, depletes your magnesium, causes insomnia, disrupts melatonin production, you’re exhausted, you keep drinking coffee….it’s got to stop! I want you to change your food and get on some magnesium asap!
A magnesium rub will do good. Just rub it on your feet, and it will help increase your magnesium levels while helping you sleep. I have used it and it helps!!!
I have been drinking BP coffee over 2 years now. While it certainly helped with brain functioning and losing weight, I found my hormones are still not balanced. Also, I think ketosis might not be a good idea if there is an underlying thyroid issue. I felt my immune system was less optional, too. So, I occasionally do ketosis (to drop a few pounds) and still drink coffee everyday. The reason I drink coffee in the morning is my morning cortisol is too low in the morning and I want to boost up a little bit. do you think it is ok?
Hi Jiah, yeah this is the issue – caffeine doesn’t fix low cortisol it makes your adrenals worse. I want you to get on the FLO protocol and fix your hormones properly! keep me posted! xo Alisa
I love my coffee. I have cut back from a 16 oz mug to an 8 oz mug in the mornings. How do I know I love my coffee? I only use cinnamon to sweeten it. But I do tend to drink it on an empty stomach. Part of that reason though is that I am not hungry in the morning. And honestly, I can only eat eggs once a week. I do have a protein shake I like that is vegan, raw, organic, non gmo, etc, and I will have that with young coconut water. But even then – I can only stomach it after I have had my coffee, not before. If I eat before my coffee- I feel like I am force feeding myself.
Hi Erin, try warm water with lemon BEFORE your coffee and see if this wakes up your digestive juices. You also may be not making enough digestive enzymes – you can have one before breakfast to see if this helps.
I love your book and I do want to heal my hormones, but these blog posts make me feel more overwhelmed than hopeful. No caffeine, no dairy, no wheat, no sugar… I consider myself fairly healthy, but honestly, what am I supposed to buy? Eggs, leafy greens, and twig tea??
I feel like I have to write off enjoying food in order to feel better, and I don’t even FEEL better yet.
Help a sister out, Alisa.
Hey Mel, thank you for this honesty – let me assure you I enjoy SO MUCH FOOD ALL the time. You’re just not used to it yet, but cutting out those 4 things out of hundreds of other options is not so major. But it is if you’re relying on them heavily. SO, pick one of them and start with ONLY that for a month before you eliminate another. Baby steps sister and keep me posted! xo Alisa
Mindful Manna says
Find some cookbooks that inspire you and show you how great food can be without those ingredients! That made all the difference for me. I love Rachel Mansfeld’s It’s All Good and Clean Eats by Alejandro Junger.
talita de castro miranda says
Is cacao a substitute?
I thought cacao/chocolate had a lot of caffeine though?
1 cup of hot cocoa would be between 1 to 8 mg of caffeine, while coffee has about 95 to 200 mg per cup. There is still caffeine, so you do want to be mindful about having chocolate later in the day especially if you are sensitive.
Cocoa has WAY less caffeine than coffee as much as I know.
I stopped drinking coffee as it was making me feel jittery and anxious. It’s good to read there is a reason I felt that way.
I love your advice about eating a big breakfast..I have started doing that and I feel a lot better in terms of blood sugar remaining stable throughout the day. My favourite breakfast is a smoothie…small cooked sweet potato put in the blender with 500ml carrageenan-free almond milk and 2 tbsp ground hazelnuts or almonds. With 1/4 tsp of maple syrup. I also eat two boiled eggs with it.
Keeps me going for hours and it’s eaten quickly as I prepare the eggs and sweet potatoes beforehand.
That sounds DELICIOUS! I’m so going to make that smoothie!! We need to have a community cook book! send me more recipes love! xo Alisa
Thank you for posting this article. Getting caffeine (coffee) out of my diet has been the biggest challenge of all. How do you feel Abt chicory & dandelion root? I found an herbal mix of these that is a good coffee replacement.
Thx for all of your help & knowledge:)
EXCELLENT substitute! you rock!
Is there a way to reverse fibrocystic breasts?
I am not a coffee drinker:)
Yes – Vitamin E!
Topically or internally taken?
Hi ! How much should we take? I currently take evening primrose. 2 tabs a day. I have 5 fybroadonomas at the moment and suffer from daily breast soreness. they are also very lumpy. I see a specialist every 6 months as I have been told I am moderate risk for Breast cancer.
While I did enjoy this article very much, I need to point out a chemistry mistake. food does NOT change the ph of your blood! It can change the ph of your saliva, but not blood. Our blood is maintained in a tight homeostatic range to keep us alive. If coffee could change the ph of our blood as your post suggests above, there would be many, many, dead coffee drinking people. Again, really enjoyed your article, but it does have a little bit of misinformation in it
Hi Maria, thanks for this catch. Obviously what was meant there was about increasing the acidity or alkalinity of our blood. xo Alisa
Marny Culpepper says
I’m just reading over these old posts and feel confused. Isn’t that the pH of blood that can’t be changed, accd. to Maria?
I have 1 cup of green tea a day. I know there is less caffeine than coffee or black tea, so it that ok? I have also read your book and much of it focuses on constipation, but what about the opposite problem?
If you’re having loose stools, then caffeine is bad news!
I love Kukicha and Tulsi tea, and drink plenty. That being said, I have been indulging in a little espresso or chai before a run because it really seems to help me run faster and longer. I do not add sugar or dairy to either and spike it with Moringa for B vitamins and aminos. Is this occasional use harmful as well? I love your advice! xo
COOL idea Kendra – add a little magnesium at night and you should be okay! xo Alisa
I am wondering about drinking ice tea I know it has caffeine but is it as bad. I was recently diagnosed with pcos and am needing all the info I can get.
Nope Connie – Iced tea if it’s caffeinated is not good for you or your PCOS. You can do it – I’ve been caffeine free for 17 years and I’m a new mom and don’t use it at all to make up for energy lows from sleep deprivation – there is another way! xoxo Alisa
karen yossef says
I heard about this at my morning Pilates class and today was the first day I did not have my morning coffee. I am 75 y.o, still work full time, exercise every day and am able to run 8-10 miles on my days off which takes me close to 2 hours. I eat very healthy and make most everything I eat including stock, cookies, granola, etc…..I wanted to stop drinking coffee to see the effect and my 1:00 I made myself a cup of coffee here at work….not liking the effect of not drinking it. My head felt funny, and my run this morning (before my hour Pilates) was not a good run. I am in very good health and take no RX at all for anything…and do not have any aches and pains…..so is giving up coffee something I should even think about????? At home I only drink a morning coffee, I do drink more at work which is 4 days a week! I am also anal about my coffee and only drink a certain brand. I felt that at my age life is to enjoy and I was not enjoying it today!
Karen – if you’re not experiencing ANY insomnia from your morning cup, then for you it’s okay! I would still however have you add in the magnesium at night to offset the loss induced by the caffeine and all of your exercise. And WOW – you are an AMAZING example of how diet and lifestyle can keep us fit and vibrant at any age! thank you! xoxo Alisa
Slowly wean yourself off. Drink less everyday for a week or two or mix with decaf slowly then completely stop drinking. Ive done it cold turkey and not good. Try slowly eliminating.
Hi Alisa! Coffee has by far been the hardest habit for me to break! I now only drink decaf and was wondering whether decaf has the same blood-sugar-spiking affect as regular. I drink coffee mostly for the ritual- it is sooo ingrained in me to start my day with a nice warm cup! Its such a simple pleasure I have a hard time cutting it out. However, I’m careful to eat something first and I also cut the decaf with Teeccino, plus add cinnamon. I mostly use almond milk but occasionally use half and half. Is this OK or do I just need to completely cut out the decaf? If so are there any other suggestions on coffee substitutes? Teecino is just ‘meh’ as a substitute, and I’ve tried teas which just don’t do it for me.
I found your post by attempting to find Alisa’s response to Teeccino and her protocol. If you do a find on this page she does address it elsewhere making it a good choice of beverage.
I am a hardcore coffee drinker. I only have 1 16 oz mug of it a day and when I do it is like tar. Dark, rich and smooth with just a bit of bitterness and I only add cinnamon to it. Let’s put it this way, when out at restaurants for breakfast most only have a medium roast so I always get a shot of espresso added to my cup of coffee. I love it for flavor.
I am getting off of it though because of my adrenals. I have tried several “coffee substitutes” and rarely do they turn out good. And not all Teeccino’s are good, IMO, for the coffee you seek. It took a few try’s but we have found the Java and the Mocha are the ones that really taste most close than any other substitute out there. On Teeccino’s website they tell you how to ween yourself off of coffee over a two week period brewing it into your regular coffee. And they give a list of the ones with zero naturally occurring stimulants (Mocha has a stimulant called Theobromine), Java being on that list. (French Roast which is a dark roast is on the list too, but we didn’t like it for some reason- I cannot recall.) I say “we” because in finding Teeccino I have gotten my husband off his addiction too. He has gone from 4 venti’s down to 1 small/tall cup of coffee and drinks teeccino in the evenings. I brew it in my coffee maker. I use 1 heaping tablespoon per 1 cup of the water line. For example, I fill the water line to the 3 cup mark and add 3 heaping tablespoons of Teeccino. Just recently, I have been using the Bulletproof method with my Teeccino and it’s not bad. Hopefully this gets to you and works for you too.
How bad are caffeinated teas on the hormones? I am obsessed with my yerba mate and often drink a black or green tea later in the morning. I have a tough time waking up or feeling motivated without the caffeine.
I don’t wake up tired or groggy with a need for coffee at all. However, I love the flavor and the ritual. I only drink a half a mug of black coffee with cinnamon and every once in awhile i make it “bulletproof”. I have endometriosis and Hashimotos and am having trouble getting pregnant. I gave up coffee but the problem is that when I don’t drink it I start developing a headache in the early afternoon that becomes a full blown migraine by night time and only going to sleep will make it go away. Is it really so terrible to have 1/2 a cup a day? Thanks for any insight!
I am so glad you asked! Yes, for you especially it makes a huge difference. The fact that you are not able to go without coffee without getting migraines is a huge red flag. You have Hoshimotos which will only be aggravated by this stimulant – if you want to get pregnant, supporting your thyroid is critical.
I am going to suggest that you connect with one of our Flo Counselors for a complementary consult to go over this question, and also to find out what options you have to naturally heal the issues you are dealing with – these are issues that we see all the time and that we have had a lot of success with. To book a session, go to this link: http://bit.ly/12Xruvm
I have been limiting coffee ever since reading this as I have recently been diagnosed with pcos. However I still drink green tea – I don’t rely on it for energy, I usually drink it for its fat-burning and antioxidant properties. Apart from that I try to maintain a healthy diet void of dairy, gluten and high gi foods wherever possible. Is it okay to still have one or two cups of green tea a day? what about white Tea? I read it also has similar properties of green tea but with less caffeine? Thanks
Great question! So, there are several factors to consider here: Caffeine influences blood sugar balance, and it can negatively affect the adrenals. These are 2 major issues for someone dealing with a hormonal imbalance. Yes, there are healthy aspects to these drinks, but in your situation the negatives may outweigh the positives. I know all the info can feel overwhelming, but we have laid it all out so that you can make sense of it for you life! Also, we have no intention of removing everything you love about eating! It is so important to be first adding healthy foods, getting the ratios of macro nutrients right, and feeling better – then removing some of the foods that can disrupt our health doesn’t feel punishing at all!
Pcos for 5 years. Trying to conceive for 2, got bells palsey from stress, couldn’t drink my usual 4-5 cups a day…BAM pregnant 4 weeks later. I took every drug under the sun to try and conceive. Am back to work 4 weeks and my period has stopped…why??? I’m back drinking 4-5 cups.
Coffee can cause many issues! As you have experienced for yourself. There could be several reasons for your missing periods – but bottom line there is a hormonal imbalance. The cause could be stress, nutritional deficiency, and/or adrenal fatigue. The positive is that your body responds to a shift in diet and lifestyle, so focus on this! Let us know how we can support you, and take advantage of the free consult I offer with one of my counselors. You can sign up here: http://bit.ly/12Xruvm
I love the taste of coffee, but I have been researching the damages of coffee because I am hypothyroid. Could it cause acne breakouts?
Yes, caffeine has contribute to acne! Look into slowly weaning off to decaf, and then black/green tea, and then herbal teas like roasted dandelion root tea, Teecchino, and Ayurvedic Roast! Good luck!
What is the best way of taking magnesium at night? I had a successful spate of giving up coffee for 40 days or so and felt much less stressed and anxious but I do enjoy the ritual and taste so much and find it hard to abstain in social situations! Do you have any tips for this? Do you take substitutes with you in your bag? Thanks so much, Alice
Natural Calm is a great supplement you can take in the AM and PM.
For coffee substitutes, yes, I never go anywhere without herbal tea bags!
Also do you think coffee has any effect on acne and breakouts? I keep getting cystic breakouts around my mouth and nose despite going more or less completely dairy free, which I thought was the initial culprit.. Thank you!
Alas! Coffee and caffeine have a a very definite connection to skin issues and hormonal issues! Caffeine affects the adrenals and blood sugar, which may be the trigger for you. Try switching to herbal options like Ayurvedic Blend, Teeccino, or Roasted Dandelion root tea.
I quitted coffee like a half year ago. Never feld better since..
My period is way less painfull and way more regular, no more breakouts on my chin, my brain is more clear (no more foggy head), much better sleep and so on.
I do drink a substitute; it is a Cafix kind of powder. I drink it with almond milk. Love the taste and for me it is the best coffee substitute I could find.
The first two cups I take with a teaspoon of coconutoil, some black pepper and a two teaspoons tumeric. A super detoxdrink!
Once You got through the withdrawals of quitting coffee, the benefits are really worth it!
Greetz from the Netherlands
What about the caffeine in chocolate? Is dark chocolate ok or should it be avoided?
Hi Dee, a couple squares of 85% cocoa content chocolate is great on a daily basis!
How come caffeine in chocolate or cacao is okay but tea/coffee not okay?
There is not much caffeine in chocolate, and we also don’t tend to eat that much of it. Tea and coffee have much more caffeine and we consume it in larger servings.
I’ve been on and off coffee for years. I find that if I’m already stressed out, it can make things worse, but if I’m in a good place, it has little effect. 50% of the population are slow metabolisers of caffeine, so they may be the ones who experience problems when others don’t. You can’t find out if you are one of them by doing a ’23 and me’ genetic test. Someone mentioned decaf coffee having chemicals. If you choose good quality decaf made with the Swiss water method, there are no chemicals. The Allegro brand of coffee that they sell at Whole Foods uses this method. I’m sorry if this comment is too long, but I wanted to include a part of a Ray Peat article which addresses the issue of cysts directly without people having to click the link. It is from this article:
“One of the most popular misconceptions about caffeine is that it causes fibrocystic breast disease. Several groups demonstrated pretty clearly that it doesn’t, but there was no reason that they should have had to bother, except for an amazingly incompetent, but highly publicized, series of articles–classics of their kind–by J. P. Minton, of Ohio State University. Minton neglected to notice that the healthy breast contains a high percentage of fat, and that the inflamed and diseased breast has an increased proportion of glandular material Fat cells have a low level of cyclic AMP, a regulatory substance that is associated with normal cellular differentiation and function, and is involved in mediating caffeine’s ability to inhibit cancer cell multiplication. Minton argued that cAMP increases progressively with the degree of breast disease, up to cancer, and that cAMP is increased by caffeine. A variety of substances other than caffeine that inhibit the growth of cancer cells (as well as normal breast cells) act by increasing the amount of cyclic AMP, while estrogen lowers the amount of cAMP and increases cell growth. Minton’s argument should have been to use more caffeine, in proportion to the degree of breast disease, if he were arguing logically from his evidence. Caffeine’s effect on the breast resembles that of progesterone, opposing estrogen’s effects.”
I have severe estrogen deficiency. And I have had it for many years! Im very young still, only 27 years old. I hade medicine, because I am soo sensitive and stronly reacts. And let´s face it, it contains a lot of crap. I prefer natural treatment. After the doctors “tricked” me to try provera (estrogen patches), I got so many sideeffects. And my testesteron level increased so much, instead of just my estrogen. I got unwanted sideeffects of that.
Do you have any suggestion for me? Herbs that in fact will increase estrogen, and oly that, and don´t supressed our body´s real estrogen. Many plantestrogen has the effect that they disturb for our bodys estrogenproduction, so It will stopp. The result is lower estrogen, and then of course hormonel imbalense, because the testesteron will be equal og higher than estrogen in our body.
Please reach out to us to make a free initial appointment: http://bit.ly/12Xruvm
I’m glad I read your article before going to surgery. I have been diagnosed with hydrosalpinks on the left ovary (water retention in one of the tubes). I never had one before beginning to drink coffee. ,What you said has to much sense that I am going to stop drinking coffee for good and see how it will go. I have never liked the teste anyway…. I will let you know how it will go. Emma
Nickolas Anzelmo says
Peer reviewed studies?
The ultimate coffee substitute may well be just as bad as the caffeine. Green tea and all other tea leave contain high levels of fluoride. I love the taste of coffee and kombucha, but now I am searching for healthier alternatives and that’s why your website caught my eye. I was hoping to find a replacement to coffee.
I have endometriosis and I have been trying to educate myself as much as possible. This is a great article & thank you for the encouragement also. Adrienne
coffee supplier says
My sister is full out Celiac…she has a crumb and is sick for about 6-8 hours straight, and she has no problems with coffee! She loves her coffee as she had to give up most of the foods she loved when she was diagnosed a couple years ago, it is something she enjoys very much!
One of the best article I have read in a long time, Thank you for the information.
I am a heavy coffee drinker, I drink it black and enjoy it, I dont eat breakfast, The thing I like about coffee is it keeps me from eating and I also enjoy a smoke with my morning coffee. I will start my day at 5-6 a.m with my first cup and drink the whole pot and finish by lunch… I also have fibroids and have notice every single morning I bleed after coffee, but then it stops when I stop the coffee.
I will try to cut back on the amount I drink, not sure if i can give it up at this time, but I will start with baby steps. Thank you again for a very well written article.
I’ve been in your shoes!!!! Noticing changes quickly on day three but waiting a complete reset of my hormones soon…. I drank a pot two I swear maybe more not thinking about the office pot too!!!
I have a question, i have stopped drinking coffee because of the negative hormonal affects (i have PCOS and adult acne as a result). I am still going through a tough withdrawal but hoping i should see an improvement in these issues eventually.
I have bought some chicory root drink as this says its a coffee alternative which even tastes and looks just like coffee , has no caffeine and has health benefits of its own. However, i cannot seem to find out whether this has the same negative hormonal affects as coffee? Do you have any idea?
Chicory root is a great substitute. And chicory greens are delicious to eat! Enjoy!
Thanks for a great article. Regarding the relationship between green tea and menstruation, you might also find this article helpful:
towhida sultana says
dear i dont drink coffee and i have PCO’S i readed that Cofffee is good for reducing the symtoms of diebetes type 2 what do u say on this ??
I have been stuck on coffee not ready to let go. I’ve let go before and yet get pulled back in… I’m done with coffee now! (Stomping my foot) I have been gaining weight, hormone levels off the roof…. supplements with chaste berry because I wasn’t ready to let go. However today is my 3rd day. A good day. 1st day won it like a champ till day two hit me so hard I was shocked I had enough awareness of my withdrawal. My period showed up 14 days early I’m cramping…. I’m a melt fown. I feel absolutely free now… it’s hard it’s freaking hard but it is also freaking awesome that I could take a step back and see my withdrawal with a peace of mind…. on day two I ate si much candy too… but I knew where it was stemming from “the need for high sugar content for the lack of coffee” today no biggie. Craved a little peanut butter but I absolutely advise anyone to do this. I cut cold turkey. But as a Taurus I pretty get hard set on decisions when I’ve made up my mind. Some may need to ween but what the heck does that mean when your addiction is over powering!!!-(giving it to this article to be true from my own personal successes and 100 percent spot on dilemma of the caffeine intake.
Amazing! Thank you for sharing, Ashley : )
Thanks for this article . I drink Black coffee pre workouts in order to get pumped up and active while working out . be it morning or evening. Can using chicory help me with same effect ? Chicory can boost my energy level and adrenaline ?
Hi Nidhi, No, it’s the caffeine that gives this effect.
I have been drinking DandyBlends – a herbal tea coffee substitute. I was switching from black instant coffee to Dandyblends and it tastes very similar. Over the years I have cut everything out of my coffee (sugar, then cream, then instant instead of a whole pot…) now I have been off coffee for a 1.5 months!
Aaaaannnd, I just had a regular cycle!! no late cycle bleeding etc. I was amazed. I was initially skeptical that my cycle was normal because of no caffeine – so I googled it and found this article. It’s really true! Wow…
If I buy good organic decaf is that ok? Or it will still effect my hormones?
Thank you so much for the article and your answer. I love the taste of coffee and it’s hard to give it up but I don’t mind decaf:)
Hi Sandra, Please see my response to Sharon above!
Maria L. says
The only time when I reduced from drinking coffee was my pregnancy when I was drinking only one cup a day. I do not know how I worked if I was forced to stop for coffee
What about Matcha? I have read about all the great things it does for PCOS sufferers. Any chance the positimes outweigh the negative effects of the caffeine?
Really love this article, this is true empowerment for women. So important to have this information become more readily available and mainstream.
Also, would Yerba mate be classified as caffeinated/having an affect on PCOS?
Hi Cree, Yes, anything with caffeine in it!
kenna braner says
I have a question about late nigh energy! I have a serving job that can be very energy demanding and usually dont get home till 1. I have a hard time making it through the night without caffeine. Is there anything you suggest to help with this?
I am currently reading Womancode (amazing) and have been following the protocol in order to help keep my PCOS symptoms at bay when I come off The Pill next week.
I have been weaning off coffee for the last few weeks and I have now been completely coffee & caffeine free for 1 week! I am feeling pretty good but one thing I’ve noticed this past week is how insanely thirsty I am! I’ve read this is a common symptom to experience after quitting coffee but I couldn’t find an answer WHY; simply out of curiosity as your book is teaching me to be more aware of my body’s responses. 🙂
Is it some sort of detox effect my body is putting itself through ?
Thank you Alissa!
Caffeine is dehydration and stresses the adrenals which effects electrlyte levels. Add an electrolyte drink like Coconut water (or make your own: 6oz water, 2oz citrus juice & 1/4 teaspn salt) daily until you feel more balanced.
This is a great article. I have experienced severe side effects (GI, endocrine, chest pains, you name it) from just one cup of coffee a day (granted, for 20 some years). I went full vegan a couple months ago and then I could not handle any caffeine. The withdrawal has been pretty hard, although the vegan diet (as plant pure as I can, no alcohol and virtually no processed food) and exercise helps a lot. Do you have any idea how long the female hormones take to “reset” so to speak? I heard as much as two months, with variability for individuals.
Well I had ovarian cysts about a year ago that ruptured. They wanted to do surgery but I refused. The bleeding stopped on it’s own as I begin to eat healthier. Fast forward to today, I’ve been really going crazy on unhealthy food for a few months now. I also started drinking coffee for about a month now and my cysts came back with a vengeance. So I am so happy I found this article. I knew coffee was bad but I didn’t know it messes with my hormones! Hopefully I can start eating healthy again and stop the coffee. I had a cup today but I plan to stop soon. I don’t know why myself and many others know things are terrible for our health but continue to partake in the damaging behavior. Any psychologist in here ? Lol
I feel that this is a sosmewhat dumb question and perhaps someone has mentioned this in the comments..but can I have decaf coffee? I would suspect it would not mess with cortisol levels and so insulin either.But perhaps acidity remains a problem?
There is still caffeine in decaf which can absolutely mess with hormone balance. If you are dealing with a hormone imbalance you want to remove all stimulants.
I have always suspect Ed that I had fibroids because I have always had heavy periods. A few months ago I started drinking bullet proof coffee for ketosis and extra energy. I felt great for a while. Then work became very stressful! !! I developed extra bleeding and pain. An ultrasound proved I was right in my assumption. I have quit the coffee but not the oil. Still working on managing stress better. The human body is amazing to learn about.
Is matcha tea once a week ok or should I cut that out too?
It really depends! You want to know where you stand with your hormones and symptoms. If you are actively trying to heal your hormones, I recommend going off of stimulants for at least 3 months! If you reintroduce caffeine after that period, notice how it feels.
What are your thoughts on water processed decaf coffee?
Hi Becky, please see my response to Rachel on this!
Cynthia Stamboulian says
I quit cold turkey after watching your video, ‘How to get your period back naturally.’ I would only drink 1 cup in the morning to help me ‘wake up” and the clear brain fog. I had a terrible migraine for 3 days but some advil helped. My addiction pops up when I see people with cups of coffee, I fiend it since I love the taste; with cream and sugar of course. My issue is, I’m trying to find a substitute; cacoa with almond milk is no help whatsover. I have green tea with stevia at work to keep me from passing out at my desk. BUT I saw another email by a naturopath that said green tea and stevia cause infertility. So now Im totally confused, I want to stick with it and I’m doing a great job, but dont want to fall off the wagon.
Mandeep Arora says
That’s a great piece of information. I too would try to de addict my self of coffee and put down my observations here.
Have you tried Teeccino? I buy the Dark Roast Gluten Free version. It still tastes great with a splash of almond creamer.
First off, I love your book!
Secondly, I was diagnosed with PCOS 4 years ago. I am on birth control to prevent pregnancy at this time and this masks my only symptom of prolonged periods. I could talk forever but my question is as follows.
I’m a med student starting my rotations next month. I’ve never drank coffee before this year. I never liked it and chose energy drinks before. Now I have learned to drink it although it gives me acid reflux. I choose not to drink it much but with rotations starting I don’t know what alternative I have! I lean towards the milky sugary prepackaged coffee mixes that don’t give me reflux. I know diet and exercise help but in a situation like this where I won’t have the option to just sleep necessarily, do you have a suggestion? I know how to fall asleep anywhere and just don’t want that issue in the hospital or driving!
Caffeine and sugar are very stressful for your system and will eventual make you more tired. You are in a time where you need to support yourself as much as possible! Eating whole foods, lots of veggies with unprocessed carbs and proteins for meals, and green drinks (green smoothies or green juices) are great for energy. Try some adrenal support supplements and obviously, get as much sleep as you can.
Good luck! You are embarking on an exciting career!!
I was a big coffee drinker for years. I gave it up and switched to tea to lower my cholesterol and triglycerides. I quit cold turkey. It was bad doing it that way. I went through bad withdrawal. I have been off coffee for 2 years now. But, my son tempted me to have a cup the other night. Well all of sudden I am getting cysts. I decided to google coffee and cysts. I came across your article. Now it makes me curious if coffee was to blame for the cysts on my ovaries years ago. Both ovaries were removed due to the numerous cysts. My Ibs seems to be better now that I am off the coffee. I just have to be careful not to eat eggs or cheese. I think my next step is to get off of the tea, as I noticed green tea is making my urine smell. I drink all natural juice and water in between and at night.
Does anyone know if maya nut coffee alternative is ok? It says it does not contain any caffeine
Hi! I have fibrocystic breasts. Actually I have fibroadenomas for over 10 years now. I have some of them removed (4 surgeries) but the issue doesn’t stop. I have tried many different things. For a year now I have reduced coffee so as to see if there are any differences. Do you believe that coffee affects the estrogen levels? I also started to take iodine to see if it helps…
Thank you in advance,
Henrietta Skeeter says
I have lived on this earth, so far, for 64 years and have not aged because I always take care of myself. I was diagnosed with endometriosis years ago, had a tubal ligation because of heavy periods since I began menstruating – terrible experience, and stopped shortly after the tubal ligation during my thirties, what a relief. All of a sudden I began feeling breast pain and swelling like I was pregnant. I knew something was wrong. So I thought about what I have been eating and drinking, nothing out of the ordinary I could think of but strong cups of green tea and black pekoe tea. I brew loose tea. Love it, but I couldn’t believe that the tea was causing the problem until I checked out your site.
I had a feeling the teas were the culprit.
You are spot on. I will make the hot lemon water which I know will help because I used it before with honey.
Thank you for your studies and research in these areas. I will definitely get the supplements. I stopped taking them years ago because I felt fine but this takes the cake.
Have you tried the African Rooibos tea? No cafffeine, tannins and apparently doesn’t stain teeth.
Hi Robin, yes, I managed to stop coffee while drinking Rooibos Rocks Rooibos tea. Full bodied and delicious and really helped take away coffee cravings. No caffeine, no sugar, full of antioxidants and just generally a very healthy tea. I got it off Amazon.
Hey! Great article! I stumbled upon it while trying to figure out why I ovulated on day 8 this cycle. Quick question: does adderall and vyvance have the same effect on our adrenal glands as caffeine? I really depend on it in luteal phase. Thanks!
Hi! I am curious about your recommendation of Kukicha. Everything I have read says it contains caffeine. Can you explain? Thank you.
I love your site, but I wish you would use a darker font for the comments. This font is so incredibly light, I can barely see it even when I magnify to 200%. Just a suggestion. Thanks.
Thank you for your article about coffee. I have been drinking lattes on empty stomach and so many cups a day purely for energy. Coffee taste without sugar and milk not delicious for me. So drinking so many cups a day for 4 yrs lead to have problems with hormons, cysts in breasts, mood swings and even depression. Its like cycle from which you cant get out. When i start to fall asleep after coffee i knew that i got to stop but never come across your article. From tomorrow no more coffee, its makes me awake and aggressive as i am always hungry for food. I will take your advice and will eat breakfast. I have also been giving up coffee and could feel terrible headache and cravings for sugar. What a terrible addiction for women who cant control coffee intake.
Thank you 🙂
Kathy Zimmer says
Thank you for this informative article. I definitely learned a lot.
Dear Alisa, please let me know how you feel about replacing coffee with barely or malt coffee, would that be okay?
If you are good with gluten than these substitutes can work. If you need GF then try roasted dandelion root!
I have coffee sensitivity and i am overweight as well. I’ve been waking up early morning and having a small cup of coffee to get energy boost required for my exercise. Although, i drink 3 lts. of water everyday to flush out caffeine. It has still caused me hormonal imbalance. Is there any alternative to get energy boost in the morning?
Hi Tan, First, you have to heal the cortisol imbalance. Low cortisol in the AM makes it hard to get moving. Take the time needed to heal this: Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night, eat well, make sure your Vit D, iron and other vitamins/minerals are where they should be in your body. You will feel better soon!
I didn`t know that it was so bad! I have PCOS and I`m a regular and hard coffee drinker. And have the most painful periods ever. I am going to try to stop, starting now!
Hi! I startestared getting migraines if I skipped a day of coffee, so I decided to power through and give it up. After a week I made a cup, drank 1/2 and just didn’t want the rest. It’s now been almost 2 weeks since then. I have been looking into alternatives and found something called Mud Water. Includes a bunch of anti inflammatory things, mushrooms and masala chai. Would love your input!!
Good job! If it contains chai then it probably has black tea – check for this. This is also caffeinated.
Hi Krystal l guess I’m somewhat addicted but trying to initially cut down then stop all together. Coffee is such a daily social norm here need to avoid getting caught up in ‘a tomar un cafe’s culture. I’m not sure if I’m wining the battle but knowledge is power. Thanks for sharing very informative (although somewhat scary) reading.
Keep up the good work X
I am trying to cut out coffee and caffeine. I have finally established after trial and error that my skin problems…acne and cysts are due to coffee. I’m 57 and still get acne and cystic lumps on my skin. As soon as I give up the coffee, they go away. I don’t understand the causation and the whys, but I am sick of the sores all over my body and am giving it up for good. There is a 100% link between the two. Doctors laugh at me when I mention it, but if they go away when I stop drinking coffee, then there is a link. Bye bye coffee…for good.
Curtis Cross says
Hey, i read your blog and got some important information about hormonal imbalance. But, I would like to share my experience too as i am a PCOS patient so my periods were too imbalanced and was bit tensed about that. So, I search some clinic for my treatment and get to know about steady care medical. I took the appointment of a gynecologist. She helped me out by giving me the meal schedule which i have to follow. She also ask me to do either walk or exercise to keep my hormones balanced.
Hi! In your article, you say that only 10% of the population make a lot of the enzyme CYP1A2. But the article you cite actually says that 46% of the population have the “fast metabolizer” variation of the gene (A/A). So it’s actually more like half of the population. 10% are the slow metabolizers (C/C). AT least that’s what I got when I looked at the article you cited. Is this incorrect?
Teri Moore says
Caffeine has made my heart race, ever since I was a teenager, but I love everything about coffee, from the taste to the warmth to the ritual morning cup, so I kept drinking it anyway. Eventually, fed up with palpitations, I decided to try every coffee alternative out there. None of them were even close to the taste of coffee except teeccino (sp?), which I’ve been drinking ever since that day. Nobody needs to ditch the taste of coffee. This is brewed just like regular coffee (or by steeping a teabag, which I keep in a ziploc in my purse for restaurants). I’ve served it to friends who never knew they weren’t drinking coffee. What do you think? Might be worth a try for those who, like me, just have to have their morning cup of joe?
I’ve read online that chicory shouldn’t be consumed by pregnant women, so is it safe to drink when trying to conceive?
Jennifer Brannon says
Any recommendations for cycle syncing when you’re in perimenopause and your cycle has no apparent rhyme or reason? Some months it’s normal, other’s it’s a 45 day cycle, and this last time my periods were only two weeks apart! I don’t know what phase I’m in anymore on any given day! Help.
Coffee is a want for me not a need so after reading this. I will be giving it up with no problem. I cut back on my coffee intake quite a while ago because it messes with my anxiety and acid reflex and I only have it every once in a while now.
I recently started drinking black tea regularly and it has done some wonderful things for me. So what about the caffeine in tea?
Sadly, caffeine is caffeine. I would try eliminating all caffeine for a week, and then reintroduce it and notice how it feels. This is a great way to see how it may be propping up your energy when you may be actually tired, or how it affects your sleep, digestions, etc…
I used to drink coffee daily but have quit. I now prefer the effects from cacao – plus it’s a heart opener <3
thanks for sharing this article i have the same issue with caffeine and it has a bad effects on my breast, i used to take 3-4 cups of coffee per day and when i tested my breast i felt a part of my breast is so firm i was scared but when i went to the doctor the test was clean and she asked me if i take a lot of caffeine i said yes, now i am caffeine free.
sina kaden says
Hello, I have a question. What about chicory coffee? Is that a good alternative?
I also enjoy warm apple juice with cinnamon. It tastes like warm apple cake.
Alisa Vitti says
Chicory coffee is great!
Leslie Gallagher says
On pg 160 of Womancode on Foods for your cycle, coffee is listed under other for the ovulatory phase. Is it acceptable to drink coffee during this phase and decaf during the menstrual phase?
I consumed excessive nescafe(coffee)when I was pregnant and resulted to ovarian, please I need help.
Have noticed that when I drink caffeinated coffee, my fibrocystic breast issue gets much, much worse, especially around ovulation. Seriously, coffee is causing me breast pain. It’s very hard for me to give up. I have switched to green matcha tea (still caffeine but way less) and decaf organic Swiss water process coffee. This appears to be sufficient to fix the fibrocystic breast symptoms. I agree with the person who said that it might be the oils in coffee along with the caffeine, or perhaps the way that caffeine increases cortisol and blocks progesterone, increasing estrogen.
Women have long noted that ceasing coffee ameliorates FBD (fibrocystic breast disease) issues and the medical studies are finally beginning to catch up, with there being some small scale studies providing some confirmation. Furthermore, you will often read the false reassurance that FBD, which is so common, is not a risk factor for breast cancer. In fact, there are different types of cysts your breasts can form, with complex cysts and those with a certain chemical balance being the worst.Lots of cysts and repeated cyst removal is also problematic. Some studies claim that certain types of cystic breast tissue can raise the cancer risk by 4x.
Would caffeine in tea cause a complex ovarian cyst?
I don’t drink coffee too often (I was having it in Bulletproof form just recently), but what about matcha/yerba? I love the stuff!
Alisa Vitti says
Caffeine is the issue, so you do want to look at your intake.
Your article was excellent and very detailed. I recently in January switched to decaf coffee, would that still have hormonal imbalance effects? I definitely feel less anxiety after switching to decaf. I usually only have one cup of decaf coffee but somedays I can be stressed and I will have two. I wonder if my body still reacts to decaf the same way it did to regular coffee. I would love to your know your thoughts about this.
Alisa Vitti says
great questions! Please read responses to similar questions in the comments.
Thank you for writing this article! I switched to decaf coffee since January of this year and I was feeling good. I would like to know your thoughts wether decaf coffee can still have an effect with estrogen dominance?
Alisa Vitti says
Decaf still has caffeine. Also, make sure you are drinking organically decaffeinated coffee. If you have noticed a positive change from reducing your caffeine intake, you can try cutting down even more and substituting something like Chicory root or Roasted dandelion root tea every other day! Keep up the great work : )
Lizzy Yako says
I cannot thank you enough for posting this!
My mom and I both struggle with PCOS and endocrine issues. While we both love coffee we never thought that it had such a profound effect on our bodies!
Currently, we use chicory root which mimics the taste of coffee very well. Wish his coffee lover luck getting off coffee for good!
Actually the problem is low grade coffee and large amounts of consumed… in US coffee has always been the lowest grade, and people don’t know how to limit. As a coffee educator I be been studying it from many fields and points. Example Italy, people drink espresso all day, yes mostly men though. It’s an industrial country but has a balanced lifestyle with siesta. US in the other hand goes to places like for example Starbucks and most others alike, where coffee is in 20oz cups from burnt high volume roasting which is cancerous plus it’s a quadruple shot of espresso. In Italy cups are a maximum 10oz with a single shot of espresso, so the focus is on quality not quantity. My point being is these cases vary between two cultures, and this article has an incomplete study of actual living, as can be witnessed by actual living cultures, and the same goes for food and diet
Martie B says
Obviously more research is needed in this area. I was off of caffeine for 16 years with no issues of cysts after a lady Naturopath suggested there was a link. I had not heard that from any other source at that time. At the 16 year mark, I decided to do an experiment while on a cruise. I indulged in some fabulous, chocolate desserts. The next mammogram indicated problems. When the radiologist explored with an ultrasound, she discovered 3, benign, fluid-filled cysts which she aspirated. Lesson learned. When I subsequently shared this experience with my male GP at my next appointment, he brushed it aside as anecdotal, unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. As long as that mind set continues, we women are going to have to keep sharing our experience, strength and hope with each other. Perhaps when we speak loudly and long enough, research will follow – fingers crossed.
mariana newhard says
thank you for sharing.
Is matcha out of the question too then?
Alisa Vitti says
Any caffeine can cause issues. If you are actively trying to heal a condition, caffeine is not recommended.
Rachel Frampton says
I never knew that women with hormonal sensitivity are not advisable to consume caffeine because this may disrupt their system. It’s also shocking to learn that people who have a slow metabolism, are more likely to experience a heart attack, especially if they drink too much coffee. I’ve been experiencing sympetopms similar to a pserons who’s suffering from hormone imbalance, which is why I’m thinking of consulting with a specialist regarding this matter.
I never knew there was research to back this up. I stopped caffeine because of the symptoms I was getting. I have PCOS and endometriosis. Refined carbs, sugar and caffeine all give me the same symptoms and cysts. It took me about 2 years to fully get off coffee but I noticed I felt better and it turns out it wasn’t giving me energy. To those struggling to get off caffeine, I know it’s really hard but it can be done and you will feel better. It helps to slowly phase it out rather than going cold turkey. It’s worth it believe it or not. The reduction in pain itself was worth it.
Juli P. says
Is yerba mate also bad for you? I’ve encountered this in my research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5494243/
Thanks in advance for helping out! I’m trying to flush out estrogen and get rid of an ovarian cyst.
mariana newhard says
What are your thoughts on caffeine for women in perimenopause and menopause? And while we’re on the subject do you have programs for women in this stage of their reproductive and hormonal life?
Hi Mariana, I’ve been wondering the same myself and liked the interview series on this page for it: http://bit.ly/PerimenopauseAndMenopause. Maybe they could be helpful for you too?
Wish I had run into this blog earlier haha- had to figure things out the hard way.
Started the butter coffee fad when I returned to school to pursue nursing, and found it to be very effective
for my energy levels and concentration. 3 years later I’m losing hair, chipping teeth, recurring yeast/BV infections,
unexplained spotting between periods and horrible PMS. Eventually I developed PCOS and experienced pressure and pain in my lower abdomen. Quit coffee cold turkey when I found studies like you, suggesting negative effects of drinking it. Within 2 weeks of no caffeine and using chaste berry tea/maca root- the discomfort stopped. I tried drinking a cup of coffee here or there when I really need it and the symptoms returned.
Jessica Hale says
How long does it take for your body to recover/feel better after stopping caffeen? Will it reduce existing cysts or just prevent further development.
FLO Coach says
You should feel the effects right away – initially you may have withdrawal headaches, but those will go away after a day or two. Then you may feel a little more tired since you are not using caffeine as a pick-me-up, but the energy you do have should be more stable and last longer. As you heal the adrenals your energy and sleep will improve.
XO, Christina – FLO Coach
Silvia Nipčová says
Does drinking coffee in the morning raise insuline and blood sugar due to the sugar in the coffee or it is done by the coffee itself? I drink coffee withou sugar or any sweetener.
FLO Coach says
Hi Silvia, It’s the caffeine itself!
XO, Christina – FLO Coach
Great post on coffee! Thank you! I shared it with my boyfriend so he’s also aware of how different my body is from his. 🙂
Wanted to ask, as I switched to drink mate (tea from South America), is it the caffeine in ANY product that would affect our bodies, or just the coffee products?
What about matcha, mate, or other tea that offers our bodies stimulation?
FLO Coach says
Hi Urte, All caffeine has this effect on our bodies, not just caffeine from coffee.
XO, Christina – FLO Coach
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I am giving this no caffeine a try, I am a tea drinker, but as of late I drink a lot. I just finished the detox and am starting they cycle syncing diet as well. So thats a lot at once, but I seriously cannot stand myself right now lol. I seriously have the worst mood and am so tired. I have been trying B12, it seems to help some in the morning, but even if i take another dose in the afternoon I am exhausted. I want to take a nap and want to give in sooo bad. I haven’t yet, but if you have anything that will help me please send some advice. I need an attitude adjustment quick and usually caffeine is what gives me that.
FLO Coach says
Hi! Coming off of caffeine is HARD! I know! The exhaustion you are feeling is your actual state – this is part of the reason why it is so important to stay off the coffee ad heal your adrenals. Take a 30 minute max cat nap between noon and 3pm – this shouldn’t interfere with your nighttime sleep and will help you get through the day. Review the section on healing your adrenals, you will start to feel better soon!
XO, Christina – FLO Coach
I have always been a coffee drinker and I have perfectly regular periods, I am fertile (got pregnant easily both times) and have never had cysts or any lumps in my breasts. Also no problems with ovarian cysts. This article was pretty pointed in commanding women not to drink coffee. Despite my absolute lack of problems with coffee/caffeine, should I still stop drinking it?
FLO Coach says
Some women are able to handle caffeine better than others due to genetics. You can always check in with yourself by removing all caffeine for about 1 week and then reintroducing it – Did you have withdrawal headaches? How is sleep and energy with and without caffeine, how about anxiety, etc
XO, Christina – FLO Coach
Hello Alisa! Thanks for sharing all this wisdom. I am very appreciative of your work! I’m 49 (not really in menopause yet) but I had endometrial ablation surgery and don’t have my period anymore. I still got all the hormones. I wonder if your suggestions are still valid in my case. I have just one bag of 75 mg, caffeinated organic tea, 16oz cup a day. Is that still bad for women? I don’t eat dairy but I do add MCT oil and C8 brain octane oil to my tea plus the bulletproof prebiotic “innerfuel” while fasting… also I try doing weight lifting once a week (1 min per machine) while fasting (like Dave and Been Greenfield does)… is that bad for my health? (the weeks I don’t feel like doing it I skip – so not super paranoid about this workout – prefer yoga and dance. I think I eat pretty healthy (just fish and eggs for animal foods), gluten free and minimal sugar (besides natural sugars in organic fruits and veggies). Would love to hear your opinion for women my age regarding coffee, fasting (I’m aware to not do it every day) and cycle eating. Thank you very much!
FLO Coach says
Alisa wrote some great blog posts on the topic of fasting:
And here’s a link to a page with articles on caffeine:
XO, Christina – FLO Coach