Since I had to stop my estrogen supplementation because my Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone level is low, I was afraid that my problem of dry eyes and dry throat would return.
So I was trying to think of how I could prevent this internal dryness and my research led me to medical and news articles about how caffeine interferes with hormone production in the body and how it may cause internal dryness.
Since a while ago I again got into the habit of drinking coffee, I had to quit it yet again when I started getting a dry throat problem after no longer using estrogen. When I discontinued coffee (it’s been two weeks now), the throat feels much better, and the eyes are still moist.
I will stay off hormone supplementation not only so that to see if my Thyroid-Stimulating-Hormone level rises, but to also do a test to check my estrogen and progesterone levels. And I will also stay away from caffeine as now I know how much it disrupts the way that our bodies work.
After two weeks of not drinking it, I don’t feel any need to go back to it, yet after around a week of not drinking it I experienced an energy low one day, but I don’t know if I can attribute it to no longer having caffeine in my diet. But I was never really obsessed about coffee, having a daily one or two lattes, usually weak ones.
In this article I’m sharing with you my research about what caffeine does to the body, especially how it interacts with hormones.
Caffeine reduces salivary glands’ secretions
The intake of caffeine can reduce the amount of lubrication the body produces (source), leading to dry eyes, throat and skin.
Caffeine negatively affects bones
Caffeine increases the risk of osteoporosis (source). It decreases bone mineral density, negatively influences calcium absorption and increases the risk of bone fracture especially in women who have low levels of estrogen.
Estrogen not only takes care of bones but skin humidity as well. So I think it’s natural to assume that if estrogen levels are low, caffeine can dry out the skin internally and externally too.
There was a dubious study done about the possibility of caffeine reducing estrogen levels, with mixed results. That was because they didn’t use pure caffeine powder but coffee and other caffeinated beverages to test their theories, therefore the results proved to be unreliable in my opinion.
Caffeine disturbs insulin
WebMD has an article about how caffeine disturbs blood sugar hormone. Insulin is the hormone that regulates our blood sugar. It’s been discovered that caffeine affects how it works.
Caffeine increases blood pressure and stimulates the release of stress hormones. These hormones affect insulin and blood sugar.
In a study where healthy participants were given pure caffeine on a daily basis it was discovered that caffeine makes our bodies less able to take blood sugar into our cells to be used for energy. This ability was reduced by 15% after caffeine intake.
Caffeine decreases happiness long-term
Caffeine instantly improves the mood by stimulating dopamine, yet in the long term you will end up worse off as it keeps depleting serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that brings about our satisfaction, happiness and optimism (source).
Serotinin is very important for the body as it regulates many bodily functions (sleep cycles, pain control, carbohydrate cravings, digestion)(source).
Caffeine prevents the production of some neurotransmitters
The moment that we take that first sip of coffee, caffeine quickly moves through the bloodstream and triggers a release of catecholamines, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. At the same time, caffeine in coffee suppresses the appetite, which inhibits the body’s ability to produce more neurotransmitters.Ineedcoffee.com
Why we feel alert after taking coffee
The way that caffeine makes us alert is again very interesting. It binds itself to the proteins responsible for the feeling of drowsiness, so we no longer feel drowsy. So it’s not that it eliminates drowsiness, we just no longer feel it!
So the body can be very tired yet not aware of it. It’s I guess similar to how paracetamol works. It blocks chemical messengers in the brain which tells us that we are in pain.
Interestingly, those inhibited-by-caffeine proteins responsible for the feeling of drowsiness are ineffective, so the brain creates more of them; which means that people will need to take more caffeine in order not to feel drowsy as the time goes by.
Caffeine may be interfering with thyroid function
Caffeine can cause thyroid problems as it can exhaust adrenal glands leading to a more sluggish thyroid function (source).
Caffeine increases sugar cravings and causes gut damage
Coffee can create sugar cravings because caffeine binds to the receptors in our brain for adenosine, which is responsible for a fuller tasting of sweetness (source). I guess the body naturally wants to balance this sweetness deficiency by tempting us to eat sugary treats.
If we drink coffee after eating, caffeine will keep blood sugar levels higher than normal which may cause problems for people with diabetes (source).
Caffeine damages gut lining because of its acidity (source).
Caffeine can cause pregnancy loss
Drinking three cups of coffee a day for any partner (man or woman) can lead to pregnancy loss. Apparently the risk of pregnancy loss is increased by 75%. You can read full study findings here.
Caffeine affects hormones
Caffeine has an effect on different kinds of hormones, including sex hormones. It increases the level of a protein called sex-hormone binding globulin (source) which binds hormones such as testosterone and one form of estrogen in blood.
High levels of SHBG in blood can cause problems such as hyperthyroidism, hypogonadism, androgen insensitivity (which makes men start looking like females), hepatic cirrhosis (liver damage) in men and excessive facial growth in women (source).
Excessive facial growth is associated with low estrogen levels but I have not yet found any good study about the effect of caffeine on estrogen. If you know of any, please do tell me.
Caffeine increases cortisol production which is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. This constant imbalance can cause adrenal fatigue, and the increase in cortisol levels can lead to the degeneration of skin and the graying of hair (stressed people age more).
Women, it is told, metabolize caffeine slower than men, which is also the case with alcohol. When the liver struggles to break down caffeine, the person may feel shaky. It can make you unable to get a good night’s sleep which is important for normal hormone production.
Caffeine reaches the brain to block some of its functions
In this source it is told that caffeine can deplete the body of important minerals and nutrients, like the vitamin B. This source claims that caffeine is easily absorbed into the bloodstream through your throat as soon as you drink it. It gets fully absorbed by your body in around 45 minutes.
Caffeine that cannot be broken down by the liver remains in the bloodstream. Some of the caffeine, therefore, makes its way to the brain.
Since the caffeine molecule is similar to that of a neurotransmitter, it can bind to adenosine receptors (source) blocking them from functioning in an effective way.
This protein plays a role mainly in the sleep-wake cycle, though, as I’ve written, it’s also responsible for our enhansed perception of sweetness. When it binds to enough receptors, it signals the body that it should sleep. However, since adenosine is prevented from doing its job, this masks the body’s need for sleep.
Furthermore, caffeine stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete hormones which cause the adrenal glands to produce more adrenaline. This gives the body a burst of energy and increases stress (source). Eventually adrenals, often stimulated in this way, get exhausted.
Caffeine is a drug and ideally should be used this way only
Caffeine messes up the hormone balance and prevents the body from functioning the way that it should. It’s a powerful medicine but it should ideally not be used on a daily basis but only if necessary.
For example, it can be used to induce bowel movements or to reduce water retention. It’s a drug and should be treated like one.
Cannabis too may help to treat some problems such as epilepsy (source), but if used on a daily basis it causes people to have short-attention spans and a terrible short-term memory, not to mention the sad reality of total addiction to this herb. The same goes for any drug that’s abused.
Sugar is also a powerful drug. But some drugs are freely available, whilst for the possession of some addictive substances you can even get a death sentence in some countries.
I guess the governments want to monopolize the distribution of expensive drugs such as cocaine as a result of their greed. I hope people realize by now that governments aren’t limiting such drugs for the health of people. Otherwise they would never allow sugar, cigarettes, alcohol or caffeine to be sold.
Since my research about my health condition is becoming more and more comprehensive, I’m coming to the conclusion that the reason I had the internal dryness problem was because as a result of my vegetarian diet my estrogen levels decreased, leading to a greater sensitivity to the caffeine intake, which contributed to the internal body dryness.
I’m concluding this way since after I stopped using estrogen I very quickly got a dry throat problem, yet when I discontinued the intake of caffeine whilst still being off estrogen, this problem almost disappeared by now, and the eyes still retain their humidity.
I will try to stay away from caffeine from now on, therefore, and hopefully will remove sugar completely from my diet (it’s very hard in India), though that will take some time. Sugar causes aging, and I don’t want that.
I hope that this article has informed you about the dangers of caffeine and maybe will inspire you to reduce or stop your own caffeine intake too. And if you were able to stop this addiction, please let me know in the comments how this affected your body and mind.