Attention, Coffee Drinkers! Did you know that caffeine disrupts your hormones for a full 24 hours?
That’s not all. Caffeine stays in women’s bodies longer than men’s and it robs them of essential hormone-balancing nutrients and minerals. Studies link coffee consumption with infertility and poor gut health, which interferes with your body’s ability to detox excess (toxic) hormones.
Then there’s the link between caffeine consumption and cysts in your breasts and ovaries.
In other words, coffee is dangerous stuff if you suffer from hormone imbalances… and it can be dangerous stuff in general. That’s because many people can’t tolerate caffeine and don’t know it.
So that brings up two key questions: how can you tell if you have a hormone imbalance? And how can you tell if you have a caffeine intolerance?
Let’s start with signs of a hormone imbalance...
How to Tell if You Have a Hormone Imbalance
How do you know if your hormones could use a little TLC...and that caffeine might be something you should eliminate from your daily routine?
Here are some signs and symptoms of a hormone imbalance:
Severe period cramps
You have been steadily gaining weight for a few months or years
You can’t seem to lose weight even with a healthy diet and increased exercise
Breast or ovarian cysts
Low sex drive
I encourage any woman who is experiencing one or more of these symptoms to ditch caffeine for good, especially if you don’t tolerate caffeine well…and research shows that only 10 percent of the population produces enough of the specific enzyme that helps breakdown and eliminate caffeine. That means 9 out of 10 of you reading this right now are caffeine intolerant, whether you suffer from hormone imbalances of not!
How to Tell If You Have a Caffeine Intolerance
As I just mentioned, caffeine intolerance is surprisingly common, but most of us think of ourselves as immune. Three cups of coffee each morning might affect my coworkers or my sister, but not me! I explain the genetics of caffeine intolerance—and why hormone imbalances and caffeine intolerance often go hand in hand—below, but first let’s take a look at the signs and symptoms of caffeine intolerance.
Almost everyone who drinks coffee or other caffeinated beverages will recognize that familiar pick-me-up feeling that caffeine brings. But if you experience any of the symptoms on the following list—symptoms that are often attributed to other conditions or physiological responses—you might be caffeine intolerant. Symptoms like:
Fatigue (yes, fatigue!)
High blood pressure
Poorly balanced blood sugar
Feeling wired but tired
In many cases, these symptoms are chalked up to other diagnoses, like adrenal fatigue or anxiety disorders, but the real culprit might be coffee OR the causes of your symptoms are multifactorial and coffee consumption is one of the factors.
Why Caffeine is SO BAD for Hormones
Here’s why caffeine is so problematic for women with hormone imbalances:
Caffeine Problem #1: Caffeine may increase the risk of benign breast disease (BBD), and specifically a form of BBD called atypical hyperplasia, which is a marker of increased breast cancer risk. This is scary stuff! One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, so it is wise to take every step you can to protect yourself. Giving up caffeine is easy (and free!), and comes with a host of other benefits, like reducing anxiety and supporting better blood sugar balance.
Caffeine Problem #2: Caffeine consumption is linked to infertility. A woman is more likely to miscarry if she and/or her partner drink more than two caffeinated beverages per day in the weeks leading up to conception, according to research from the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University. Women who consumed two caffeinated beverages every day during the first seven weeks of pregnancy were also more likely experience pregnancy loss.
Studies suggest that caffeine consumption may delay pregnancy among fertile women.
Male partners, beware! Some research suggests that caffeine consumption among wannabe dads may reduce the chances of conception. Men who drank two or more cups of coffee per day had only a one in five chance of conception through IVF.
Caffeine increases cortisol levels, and high cortisol sends signals to the body that it is not an ideal time for conception.
Finally, caffeine depletes the body of vital nutrients needed for ovulation and healthy fertility (including B vitamins and folate). If you hope to become a mom someday, you need optimal levels of five key micronutrients, which you will want to take in supplement form…and you won’t want to deplete them at the same time by drinking coffee! Don’t do the good work of getting your essential micronutrients and then shoot yourself in the foot by drinking caffeine.
Caffeine Problem #3: If you struggle with hormone imbalances (and if you’re reading this right now, you or someone you love probably does), it can be sign that your body has a hard time metabolizing caffeine. Hormone imbalances might be a sign that you don’t process caffeine efficiently. That’s because the same process in the liver that helps metabolize caffeine is also involved in the metabolism of estrogen.
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 affect how your liver breaks down and eliminates excess caffeine. You will also have a harder time processing and eliminating excess estrogen.
Based on your gene variation, you’ll either make a lot of this enzyme (and be a successful caffeine swiller) or a little (and have a tough time with caffeine). Turns out only 10% of the population make a lot of this enzyme. That’s just one in 10 of us! So if you fall into the majority — if you’re one of the 9 out of 10 women who don’t process caffeine efficiently — you also, very likely, have a buildup of estrogen in your body. And estrogen dominance is what gives rise to a lot of the unpleasant period problems you experience.
This is why getting off caffeine is such an important part of the FLO Protocol. Estrogen dominance gives rise to so many of the symptoms of hormone imbalance and you don’t want anything blocking your ability to detox estrogen.
Ready to Ditch Caffeine? Here’s How
Ready to say no to the hormone-damaging effects of caffeine, but afraid of withdrawal? Never fear! You can quit caffeine without symptoms—and without losing energy. If you follow these steps, you will feel great as you wean off caffeine and you’ll be much less likely to relapse.
- Start to wean off caffeine during the ovulation phase of your 28-day menstrual cycle, when you naturally have the most energy.
- Nourish your adrenals with adaptogens that help combat stress, like rhodiola, ashwagandha, and maca root powder.
- Use magnesium to replenish your mineral reserves, balance your mood, and combat headaches.
- Supplement with B vitamins. Make sure you’re getting B5 and B12 as part of your B complex.
- Rehydrate with coconut water that is rich in electrolytes.
- Do gentle exercise, like walks and yoga, but avoid heavy cardio in the week or two after stopping coffee.
- Eat a big, healthy breakfast every morning, which will give you fuel for the whole day.
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!
BALANCE by FLO Living Hormone Supplement Kit
Because you've asked for hormone-friendly supplement recommendations, I created a solution that I am so thrilled to be able to offer to you on your hormonal balancing journey:
Balance by FLO Living Supplements are a complete package that work together to keep your hormone levels healthy. They include a 2 month(2 cycle) supply of the following formulations so you’re never caught short in any phase of your cycle.
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.