Caffeine Effects on Fertility
Take a second to count the number of cups of coffee or black tea you drink a day. Now consider this: these caffeine-containing beverages have zero nutritional value. Caffeine is immensely addictive and found in chocolate, sodas and many over-the-counter medications.
Caffeine can elevate the mood, energize, delay fatigue, and stimulate the central nervous system. It can also cause hands to tremor and the heart to palpitate. So, why is caffeine our national drug of choice?
Caffeine feeds our cultural addiction to fast-paced lifestyles. There are numerous reports on this topic, all of which you are welcome to sift through on PubMed.
Caffeine consumption equivalent to more than two cups of coffee per day has been linked to tubal disease and endometriosis1. As little as 1-1.5 cups of coffee per day appears to delay conception in women trying to get pregnant2. Some studies find one cup of coffee per day cuts fertility in half3, although others report that it takes two4 or three5 cups to have detrimental effects.
Caffeine is found in regular coffee, black and green tea, some soft drinks, chocolate, cocoa, and many over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. While not every study finds that caffeine reduces female fertility6, most doctors of natural medicine recommend that women trying to get pregnant avoid caffeine.
Even decaffeinated coffee has been shown to be linked to spontaneous abortion7. It is thought that the tannic acid found in any kind of coffee and black tea may contribute to infertility8.
- Crosses the placenta and effects the fetus
- Enters breast milk
Other health complications:
- Results in nervousness, irritability, insomnia and dizziness
- Exacerbates anxiety and lead to panic attacks
- Raises blood pressure
- Causes or aggravates heart rhythm disturbances
- Aggravates ulcers and heartburn
- Stimulates acid secretion in the stomach
- Acts as a laxative and can create dependency
- Causes loss of key nutrients, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc
- Grodstein F, Goldman MB, Ryan L, Cramer DW. Relation of female infertility to consumption of caffeinated beverages. Am J Epidemiol 1993;137:1353-60.
- Hatch EE, Bracken MB. Association of delayed conception with caffeine consumption. Am J Epidemiol 1993;138:1082-92.
- Wilcox A, Weinberg C, Baird D. Caffeinated beverages and decreased fertility. Lancet 1988;ii:1453-6.
- Williams MA, Monson RR, Goldman MG, et al. Coffee and delayed conception. Lancet 1990;335:1603 [letter].
- Stanton CK, Gray RH. Effects of caffeine consumption on delayed conception. Am J Epidemiol 1995;142:1322-9.
- Joesoef MR, Beral V, Rolfs RT, et al. Are caffeinated beverages risk factors for delayed conception? Lancet 1990;335:136-7.
- Fenster L, Bubbard A, Windhan G, Hiatt R, et al. A prospective study of caffeine consumption and spontaneous abortion. Am J Epidemiol 1996;143 (11 suppl);525 [abstr #99].
- Cramer DW. Letter. Lancet 1990;335:792.