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The Not-So-Good Effects of Caffeine


October 3, 2013 | Published by


I’m shocked by the amount of practitioners making diet and lifestyle recommendations to their patients without discussing the effects of coffee and caffeine. For one, coffee tends to exacerbate high blood pressure symptoms. Over the years I’ve seen the coffee/high blood pressure link in many of my patients, particularly coffee drinkers on blood pressure medication(s). Are you on a Beta blocker or other heart medication, and drink coffee? I recommend mentioning it to your practitioner, because you are taking one drug to regulate blood pressure in addition to drinking another ‘drug’ which can also have an effect on heart rate. Coffee can heighten anxiety, worsen heart palpitations, and increase the likelihood of insomnia, to name a few. Moreover, those with adrenal fatigue and chronic high stress will experience harder crashes between cups, as the caffeine overtaxes the adrenal glands and leaves them deflated (and you feeling flat).

Physiological Effects of Caffeine on the Body

  •  Exhaustion – By increasing adrenaline levels, coffee can lead to complete exhaustion. This lead to compounded problems such as a weakened immune response, anxiety and panic attacks as you get more and more tired, relying more on caffeine to pull you out of the slump.
  • Heart health – Increased production of cortisol and adrenalin helps to constrict blood vessels, causing the heart has to pump harder and leading to high blood pressure.
  • Sleep disturbances – Coffee consumption can make you groggier in the morning, causing you to reach for the coffee again to get going. Do you feel like you need coffee first thing out of bed? Your adrenal glands might be in need of a tune-up (Dr. Wilson’s adrenal fatigue questionnaire is a good start)
  • Digestive issues – Caffeine irritates the stomach lining, causing excessive production of stomach acid, which can lead to a variety of digestive disorders. Moreover, research has shown a definite link between coffee drinking and ulcers and heartburn.
  • Hormonal disturbances – Higher incidence of PMS and menopausal symptoms including tension, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, depression and breast tenderness.
  • Neurological disturbances – Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of excess caffeine and also of fluctuating caffeine levels throughout the day.
  • Nutritional deficiencies – Frequent coffee intake can cause a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc. Remember how coffee irritates the lining of the stomach? This also reduces uptake of nutrients. If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, this can be especially bad.

An important note: this blog isn’t meant to scare you from drinking coffee in moderation, rather make you aware of the negative effects regular use of caffeine can have on your body.

dr eric bakkerAbout the Author: Eric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specializes in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos:  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:

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