Home » When Is Caffeine Good and Bad for Your Thyroid?

When Is Caffeine Good and Bad for Your Thyroid?

coffee cup and coffee beans on old wooden background

You always hear about how caffeine is bad for your body. Of course, it’s different for everyone, but it is a general rule that too much of anything is bad and that includes your beloved cup of coffee, especially when it comes to people suffering from thyroid disorders.

So, when is caffeine good and bad for your thyroid?

It may come as a surprise that coffee can actually be beneficial to people with certain health conditions. If you are suffering from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and love your daily caffeine, then you will be pleased to know that coffee can be good for you.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a condition where your immune system attacks a small gland in the neck area called the thyroid. On the other hand, you should be wary of the effects of coffee if your hypothyroidism was a result of other causes other than Hashimoto’s disease.

If coffee has such an effect on your thyroid, you may then wonder what the link is between hypothyroidism and caffeine and how they can be useful for each other.

How Can Caffeine Have A Positive Effect On Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland can be a result of the inflammation caused by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s dominant characteristic is an increase in Th1 cytokines.

When caffeine enters the system, it decreases Th1 and leads to a positive outcome when an underactive thyroid and coffee interact within your body.

Th1 cytokines ultimately eliminate intracellular parasites and maintain an autoimmune response, which is a good thing, but then again in excess can be harmful.

In this case, too much Th1 will cause damage to your tissues and cause other health conditions like hypothyroidism; so, coffee can help lessen the possibility of that happening.

Additionally, you should keep in mind that this only holds true for hypothyroidism. With hyperthyroidism, it is best that all stimulants shall be avoided including coffee.

When Is Coffee Harmful For Your Thyroid Health?

So, which is it? Is coffee bad for thyroid disorders or is it not? It depends really. Hashimoto’s disease is only one cause of hypothyroidism. When you have it, caffeine can help relieve your condition.

However, there are still other causes including iodine deficiency and endemic goiter, which usually require pharmaceutical drugs.

Depending on your physician’s discretion, hypothyroidism and its possible cause can be determined by undergoing several blood tests like Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH test and free thyroxine or T4 index.

When your tests result in the T4 index indicate that your thyroid gland is not producing enough T4 or thyroxine, resulting in hypothyroidism, your doctor will prescribe thyroid hormone replacement medication.

One of the medications prescribed is called levothyroxine. Research shows that drinking coffee while taking levothyroxine interferes with your intestinal absorption of the said medication.

Thus, coffee can be a problem for your thyroid if your physician requires you, based on your test results, to take medications.

Your Caffeine, Thyroid Medications, and Blood Tests

Generally, for the intestine to fully absorb your thyroid medications, you need to wait at least one hour before you drink your coffee. For some people, it can even take as long as five hours. Again, it depends on your health, medical history, genes, and other factors that affect your caffeine tolerance.

The same principle applies when you are about to undergo blood tests, but when does caffeine affect thyroid blood test? It affects your results if you take it during the fasting period.

Fasting is a standard procedure before any blood tests. It is recommended that you should not have any food intake and should only drink water during the fasting period otherwise your results are not accurate.

In seeking an alternative, you may speculate and ask: is decaf ok for thyroid medications? Both decaf and caffeinated coffee have the same components which are what affect the liver absorption of the medicine regardless of the caffeine content.

Is There a Concrete Link Between Caffeine and Hypothyroidism?

Numerous studies have already been conducted since the early 80s to establish a definite link between coffee and the thyroid.

Over the years, what is claimed to be certain is that you need to consume a minimum of 500 mg or five cups of coffee in one sitting to have a significant effect on your endocrine system.

Simply put, you can still have your daily dose of caffeine, but you should be mindful of when to take it and how much, especially if you are taking prescribed medications for your thyroid.

Thankfully, caffeine is not like dairy and gluten products that you should avoid like the plague when you are suffering from thyroid disease.

The best way to handle both your thyroid and coffee is to keep yourself informed. You can do your research or consult with your doctor on how to properly manage your caffeine intake without causing any more damage to your thyroid.

When regards to your health, it’s always smart to be cautious. You need to be sure when is caffeine good and bad for your thyroid.

Caffeine can be beneficial to your thyroid specifically if you need to decrease your Th1 cytokines. Don’t forget, though, that coffee still affects your metabolism, adrenal health, and heart rate which affects your overall health. It can still be harmful if you overdo it.

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