Do you take thyroid medication? Coffee may be hijacking your absorption
If you are already on thyroid hormone, a new study from the journal Thyroid may affect your use of coffee in the morning. According to the recent article, in folks who consume coffee at the time of taking their thyroid medication, we see a 25-57% drop in T4, one of the thyroid hormones, compared to non-coffee drinkers. This adverse effect persists for up to one hour.
I tell my patients to take their thyroid hormone first thing in the morning with a small sip of filtered water, and nothing else to eat or drink for 20 to 60 minutes after. Most of my patients are able to do 20 minutes during the week, and 60 on the weekend. But many of them have a wicked caffeine habit, and that small sip just might be of coffee. Based on this study, I will ask my patients to wait an hour if they are having coffee. Time to go back to the filtered water, and to wait 60 minutes before you cup of Joe, or better yet, before your cup of hot water with 1/4 lemon and cayenne.
We’ve discussed before how cortisol affects your thyroid function, and I wonder if part of the problem is less gastrointestinal absorption with the decreased thyroid levels, and more an issue of high cortisol lowering T4. The study did not distinguish between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
In my mind, a larger question is: Why are you drinking coffee? Does tea (caffeinated or decaf) have a similar effect? Are you drinking coffee because you are exhausted, burned out or still have lingering fatigue from your thyroid condition? I’m a fan of finding true sources of increased energy, and I consider coffee and caffeine to be false sources. I’d rather a root cause analysis of your fatigue, and to adjust your thyroid hormones or your adrenal function or both so that you don’t need coffee as a crutch.
Note: I will be taking a mini-sabbatical from posting on Dear Thyroid while completing a book proposal. In the meantime, you’ll find me over at The Gottfried Center.
Written by Dr. Sara Gottfried
Tags: coffee's affect on T4, coffee's impact on thyroid medication, Do you take thyroid medication? coffee may be hijacking your absorption, how to take thyroid medication, rethinking our coffee drinking habits, why thyroid patients shouldn't drink coffee with thyroid meds, written by Dr. Sara Gottfried