24 September 2021

Is coffee harmful to your thyroid gland?

Magdalena Irminska

Is coffee harmful to your thyroid gland? – How Caffeine Affects Hashimoto’s?

Introduction

Sometimes the medication you take is not effective because their action is hindered by something else. When it comes to thyroid medication, the factor that hinders their absorption may be caffeine contained in coffee, among other things. In this article, we answer various questions related to coffee and its effect on thyroid medication.

Absorption of thyroid hormones

The first rule that needs to be remembered is to take thyroid medication on an empty stomach. It is advisable to have breakfast about an hour after taking the medication. Not only coffee but even certain foods such as soya, walnuts and dietary fibre can have influence on the absorption of the medications. Caffeine contained in coffee may hinder the absorption of organic and inorganic compounds, that’s why many studies have shown that id does not allow you to reach the ideal TSH levels even after taking the medication. There is however a way to enjoy a cup of coffee and take thyroid medication effectively. It is enough to take 2-3 hours between the medication and drinking coffee or any other caffeinated beverage. 

 

Effects of coffee on thyroid function

 

It turns out that caffeine is one of the strongest factors in reducing the absorption of L-thyroxine (commonly known as thyroxine and sold under the drug names: Letrox or Euthyrox). What’s more, in the case of people with celiac disease, coffee may produce similar symptoms to the consumption of products containing gluten (this is called ‘cross-reactivity’). Such action is demonstrated with instant coffee, which as a result of processing coffee beans may be contaminated with gluten. It was not observed in the case of pure coffee brew. Scientific studies that assessed the effects of caffeine consumption on TSH (a hormone that affects thyroid function) concentrations, observed reduced TSH concentrations as a result of consuming an amount of caffeine equivalent to three cups of coffee.

 

Can coffee make you feel worse with Hashimoto’s disease? 

 

It is well known that coffee contains caffeine. This, in turn, plays the role of a stimulant, increasing our focus and concentration. Coffee has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, but it is recommended to drink it in moderation, up to 3-5 cups a day. Drinking a lot of coffee instead of recovery and an adequate amount of sleep will bring more side effects than benefits. Examples include over-stimulation, sleep problems or stomach pains. 

 

Can you drink coffee? 

 

In people with Hashimoto’s disease, the timing of drinking coffee is extremely important (avoid caffeinated beverages until about 2 hours after taking the medication, and certainly do not sip the medication with coffee!). If the  intervals are abided, moderate amounts of coffee are acceptable. The maximum is 5 cups a day. What’s important is to ensure adequate regeneration and amount of sleep instead of increasing the consumption of stimulating drinks.

 

Conclusion

 

The most basic thing you need to know is that even if you choose to have coffee, do not combine it with thyroid medication. You need to take your medication at least an hour before breakfast and two hours before any coffee – the longer the gap the better for you. Minimise drinking stimulating drinks as much as you can so that nothing can get in the way of the effect your medicine can have. What’s more, make sure you drink good quality coffee, as well as sleep and recovery, which may mean you will not need as much coffee as before. 

 

Do you want to learn more about diet in Hashimoto’s disease? We will soon be able to help you with our programme ‘Step by step to remission’. We will teach you everything about the thyroid gland in an interesting, unconventional and interactive way. What’s more we will guide you through the most important healthy lifestyle issues and habits that, when implemented together, will lead you to a significant improvement in your well-being, a reduction in inflammation and antibody titre characteristic of Hashimoto’s disease. We guarantee that this will have a beneficial effect on your quality of life and health. Don’t wait, just start changing your habits with us for the sake of your thyroid health! 🙂

Magdalena Irminska

Magdalena Irmińska is a clinical dietitian - she received her education at the Medical University of Warsaw. In addition to the diet therapy of hormonal disorders, she is passionate about pediatric dietetics and building good relationships with food in children. Moreover, she is a professionally active flautist. In Hashion, Magda creates content for the "Step by step to remission" program and searches scientific databases in search of news about Hashimoto's disease.