Howdy PHers. Let me give a little background on the question.
I recently gave up coffee (and all caffeine) for 3 weeks as a little extra part of my Whole30. Starting yesterday I added it back and MAN I have missed it!
I don't drink any other form of caffeine regularly except the occasional bit of tea.
Question is - Is there any benefit from giving up caffeine for good? If I do choose to drink coffee, how much is too much?
As a side - at some point in the near future my husband and I will start trying to conceive. Should coffee be given up completely or is a reduction to moderation sufficient? Should I start decreasing the amount prior to attempting to conceive or once conceived?
I look forward to your comments!
In long-term longitudinal studies of 25 year lengths, as reported in 2008, coffee (regardless of caffeine content) was associated with cardioprotective benefits from up to 5 cups per day, increasing up to the 4-5 cup per day range (trend-line p=0.008 for men, p<0.001 for women).
Interesting to note that any coffee consumption was cardioprotective for women, but coffee consumption of <1 cup per day was associated with increased mortality among men. 4-5 cups per day was associated (regardless of caffeine intake) with the lowest mortality in both sexes. While the trend-line was consistent up to the highest value measured (4-5 cups per day), it's probably the case that there are diminishing returns and increased mortality at some point.
It is also the case that studies from over a decade ago find a correlation with increased morbidity and mortality among coffee consumers post-cardiovascular incident.
While most docs will advise no coffee consumption during pregnancy as a safeguard, it's probably safe at the level of one cup per day, and has no known teratogenic (birth defect-causing) effects at normal doses in humans. That being said, it potentiates the actions of known teratogens like alcohol and tobacco, and its potentiation of vasoconstrictive drugs (beta blockers, migraine drugs) can be problematic for the fetus.
Hope this helps!
Something that has to be weighed against the cardioprotective benefits of coffee, IMO, is the possible impact it may have on your sleep.
I love coffee. I absolutely adore coffee. I drank lots of coffee for thirty years. However, I gave it up completely several months ago, along with all other sources of caffeine, because of the following.
I was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea a little less than a year and a half ago. I am treated with a "data-capable" CPAP machine, which basically means that, with the appropriate software, I can literally review, in the morning, every breath I have taken the night before . It actually is a little creepy. :-/ However, I probably have much more detailed, and more objective, records of my sleep than most people posting here. ;-)
Because I pull the data off my machine routinely, I noticed a change in my data one day a couple of months ago when I had a decaf latte because I started my day late. So I tried an experiment. I tapered off my caffeine consumption completely over about a week (taper to avoid triggering migraines). I was able to see a very clear relationship between the amount of caffeine I was consuming and my sleep patterns. Without coffee, my data shows, and the way I feel confirms, that I just sleep "better" in a number of objectively verifiable ways (fewer RERAs, fewer CSAs, lower AHI in general, longer sleep, better sleep architecture, etc.). So yes, I have had a real benefit from giving up caffeine.
I've read up somewhat on the subject of caffeine since my experiment and it appears that some people never get totally habituated to it above a certain dose (see my comment above about the thirty years). So I may simply be somewhat more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others--I notice changes when I reintroduce small amounts of caffeine. I was so sleep-deprived for so long that I am VERY protective of my sleep now, so caffeine had to go.
Sigh. No more chocolate .
I recently gave up coffee and caffeine for one month just to do it. I had been drinking three cups of coffee every morning, sometimes more. Missed it SO much (mostly the act of drinking coffee), so when the month was over I started back. But since then it is now 2 parts decaf to one part regular, so I am only getting one cup of caffeinated coffee per day instead of 3. I am also getting ready to try for a baby and don't plan on reducing coffee beyond where I am now. I do not believe one cup per day will have adverse effects and I love my coffee. Pregnancy is a time to do the best you can to grow a healthy person without driving yourself insane or ignoring your own needs as a person.
for optimal health? I think a diet without stimulants is better than one with them, so my answer would be none.
That being said, it can act as an ergogenic aid as well as increase mental energy, so if you can't live without it, probably limit yourself to a cup a day in the morning.
My daughter was in a NICU following birth last year. I remember parents saying that their infant had been prescribed caffeine. Anyone know why that might be? What health benefit would it provide? Is that limited to infants only?