In August 2010, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post called Coffee Addiction: How to Naturally Kick the Habit.
Recently another Huff Post article came out with the opposite view, 7 Health Benefits Of Coffee. It’s a review of the “so-called” scientific research that says coffee can lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, diabetes, depression…and make you a millionaire…
OK, that last benefit is not true…but, let’s look at what the studies really say. One study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that drinking 8 cups of coffee a day can raise your HDL cholesterol allowing every coffee lover to feel vindicated. Even thought HDL was raised by a measly 7%. You can probably shift your HDL that much by holding your breath when having your blood taken. I’m kidding, but you get the point.
Some of these studies look at a few dozen people who are told to drink a certain amount of coffee and one or two types of blood tests are measured. In the above case they measure cholesterol and inflammatory markers.
But they are not looking at the underlying negative effects of too much coffee, such as magnesium deficiency caused by the diuretic effect of coffee. As your body loses magnesium, then your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar are going to rise. Any short term gains created by coffee are soon lost…but that’s after the study is closed and the erroneous findings are blasted through the media by the coffee industry.
When clients wrote and wanted to know how much coffee they could safely drink. Here’s what I told them.
It’s all about moderation. I’d say that 200 mg a day of caffeine is “safe.” Here is a website with a rough gauge of caffeine content.
And remember this—heavy daily caffeine use—more than 500 to 600 mg a day—may cause: Insomnia, Nervousness, Restlessness, Irritability, Stomach upset, Fast heartbeat and Muscle tremors.
Muscle tremors are a sure fire indication that magnesium is being depleted from the body…which then leads to many other magnesium deficiency side effects.
So, these short-term studies just measuring one or two outcomes miss the whole picture.
So, be sensible in your caffeine intake and don’t use it to boost your flagging energy. Engage in Lying Down Therapy instead!
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
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