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Ingredients as Poison: 10+ Damaging Side Effects of Coffee & Promising Medicinal Qualities*

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

Coffee consumption is linked to many negative side effects including but not limited to risk of bone loss, hearing loss, sleep cycle disturbances and even certain cancers. However damming, the science has also proven that coffee consumption can actually be beneficial for certain liver conditions.

Below you'll find the ultimate guide to the damaging side effects of coffee along with the scientific studies that prove that the food you consume can cause more harm than good. Below that, you'll also find that all food is medicine in one way or another. Keep reading to find the complete nutritional facts for coffee like you've never seen them before.


Nutritional content for coffee was sourced from USDA SR-21. Each "0" indicates incomplete or missing data.


Earth's Favorite Beverage

It's no secret that coffee is an internationally loved beverage and the biggest source of dietary caffeine for a large sector of the planet. It's easy to smell why as you pass by any decent coffee shop. Its a tantalizing aroma for sure. For many of us, coffee also has a nostalgic + generational connecting sensation that we turn to out of both habit + programing to give us the energy we need to get through the day.

We may have even heard conflicting stories that tout amazing health benefits, giant health risks or even prove things we know for certain to be true about coffee as false, like this study I found saying that coffee has no impact on your hydration levels. Anyone who has ever had a cup coffee knows a few things to be true - you have to poop within 30 minutes of your first cup, you pee out all of the water you didn't know you had and your breath will stink all day long.

Using food as medicine is not my only passion. I also obsess over finding what foods and ingredients could potentially cause me harm. Despite being called picky for most of my life, I actually have just been really aware of the foods that make me feel like total garbage.

This is one of the silver linings of struggling with disordered for so many years. Due to my lack of food consumption, I was able to develop a baseline knowledge about how I feel when I only drink water for several days compared with the days I would eat food. I noticed that certain foods made my stomach feel like it was housing a gremlin that sucked all of my energy + personality out; while, other foods would leave me feeling energized and ready to fully connect in meaningful ways with myself and others.

Read on to find the studies for 15 different scientifically proven damaging properties of coffee. I'll offer a brief bio & encourage you to click the links to read further. Below the PubMed articles you’ll find synapses of all of the vitamins, minerals and electrolytes present in coffee with up to 5% of your RDA along with how your body uses those vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. I'll also share the science proving that in certain instances, coffee consumption can actually be a beneficial medicine.

What I want for you is to feel like you have enough information to truly make an informed decision.


The Science Behind the Damaging Side Effects of Coffee

1 Coronary Heart Disease + Stroke: This study goes into depth showing how coffee drinkers face an increased risk of coronary heart disease + stroke. [1]

2 Cancer: Coffee consumption increases your risk for cancers. This study shows that liver + endometrial cancers have a dose-dependent relationship with coffee consumption. [2]

3 Pregancy Issues: Gestational coffee consumption has been linked to serious consequences such as still birth, miscarriage + cognitive disfunction. This meta study goes over more. [3]

4 Iron Inhibition: Coffee consumption interferes with iron absorption. Click here to learn more about just how much your iron uptake is decreased with your morning Joe. [4]

5 Decrease in Bone Tissue: Coffee consumption increases the rates of bone loss in women. For more information, read this study. [5]

6 Elevated Blood Pressure: Drinking coffee impacts your blood pressure; and, this study shows that the younger you are, the more impacted you will be by this. [6]

7 Mental Health Consequences: Coffee + caffeine intake has been shown to increase mental health distress, especially in middle school age children. This study goes into more detail about which faucets of mental health are most impacted by coffee consumption. [7]

8 Sleep Disturbances: Coffee + caffeine consumption block your adenosine receptors, according to this study. Adenosine is a hormone that promotes sleep. [8]

9 Hearing + Auditory Issues: Drinking coffee can increase your risk of Tinnitus and hearing loss. Click here to learn more. [9]

10 Dental Health Consequences: Drinking coffee negatively impacts your oral health + increases your risk for periodontitis. For more information on this, click here. [10]

11 Impacts on Oral Health: Plaque accumulation, carry development and restoration material property decline also show up as negative side effects of coffee drinking. This study touches on the details of this. [11]

12 Adrenal Overload: When we consume caffeine in any form, we overstimulate our adrenals. Our adrenals produce + release the hormones adrenaline, aldosterone, cortisol and noradrenaline. As you probably already know, adrenaline is responsible for throwing your body into the fight, flight, freeze or fawn response. Thanks to this connection, coffee consumption contributes to adrenal fatigue which is a large contributing factor to why so many of us start to feel so dead tired in our late 20s + early 30s. [12]

13 Hormonal Impact: Coffee intake also increase your cortisol production and regulation, another hormone produced as a response to stress meant to motivate you to move your physical body out of danger. This study goes into more details about this. [13]

14 Estrogen Dominance: Coffee consumption also induces estrogen dominance which furthers your adrenal fatigue response. Who know that coffee impacted your hormones so intensely? [14]

15 Tight Muscles + Poor Tone: This last study confirms something that I personally saw in my hundreds of regular massage therapy clients. That is, coffee consumption directly impacts your muscle tone + tension, slowly making you feel more and more restricted with in your body. [15]


*The Juxtaposition

Coffee consumption is not all bad though and can be used medicinally according to these studies.

Many studies have shown that coffee consumption can improve and reverse various liver conditions including fibrosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. [17, 18]

Coffee also provides a very small [5% or less RDA] amount of Thiamine [B1], Niacin [B3], Iron, Manganese and Zinc.

Coffee also provides trace amount [1% or less of RDA] of Calcium, Chloride, Sodium, Copper and Phosphorus.

As with all things, I just want you to have enough of the information to feel like you truly are making an informed consent. Before you decide if you want to use it medicinally, be sure to consult with a health care provider that you trust to help you achieve the results you want most. I'm just a resource, not your PCM.

Personally, I wanted write this post to remind me that not all things that smell amazing will be utilized by my body in a way that serves me and honors my Intrisinic Intelligence. Mission accomplished for me. What do these studies make you think?


Vitamin, Mineral + Electrolyte Content of Coffee


Thiamine [B1]: Your body needs thiamine to help generate energy from the other nutrients you consume. Your cells require thiamine for growth, development and function, electrolyte balance, immune system support, stress support, nervous system support and prevents complications in the brain, muscles, heart, intestines and stomach.

Low thiamine levels have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, heart failure, depression, irritability, poor memory, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, weight loss, fatigue and sleep disturbances.

Niacin [B3]: Your body needs Niacin for conversion of food into energy. Your body also utilizes Niacin for the health of your nervous, digestive and dermal systems. Niacin also helps metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates. One study found that niacin enhances demyelination of an aging nervous system and rejuvenates microglia + macrophage.

Low niacin levels have been linked to fatigue, pellagra, aggression, suicidal behaviors, canker sores, poor circulation, vomiting, depression, indigestion, apathy, fatigue, sun rashes, rough appearance to the skin, bright red tongue, headaches, constipation and diarrhea.


Calcium: Your body uses calcium for blood clotting, acid balance, muscle contraction, nerve impulse + function, intracellular contraction, regulation of heart rhythm, vasodilation, vascular contraction, building strong bones and maintaining a healthy fat to muscle mass ratio.

Low calcium levels have been linked to hypoparathyroidism, muscle aches, cramps or spasms, pain in extremities when moving, numbness and tingling in the extremities, convulsions, arrhythmia, confusion, memory loss, depression, hallucinations and weak or brittle nails.

Chloride: Your body uses chloride for proper fluid balance, absorption + transportation of nutrients, blood pressure regulation, nerve signal transmission and muscle contraction or relaxation. It also is an essential part of stomach acid. It's hard to find information on chloride levels in most foods; although, we do know that it is present in most plant foods in levels that mirror or almost mirror sodium levels.

Low chloride levels have been linked to fluid loss, food refusal, dehydration, fatigue, weakness, difficulty breathing, chronic heart failure, vomiting and diarrhea.

Sodium: Your body uses sodium to create nerve impulses, contract or relax muscles, and maintain a proper balance of minerals and fluids.

Low sodium levels have been linked to headaches, confusion, drowsiness, lethargy, restlessness, irritability, seizures, coma, disorientation and osmotic demyelination syndrome.


Copper: Your body uses copper in the production of red blood cells, formation of collagen. Copper is utilized in the health maintenance of nerve cells and your immune system.

Iron: Your body uses iron to create both hemoglobin and myoglobin.

Low copper levels have been linked to Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, anemia, low body temperature, bone fractures, osteoporosis, low white blood cell counts, thyroid problems, loss of skin pigment and irregular heartbeat.

Iron: Your body needs iron to make both hemoglobin and myoglobin. Both proteins perform the function of transporting oxygen from the lung to all tissues of the body and the muscles. DNA synthesis, electron transport and several hormones also require iron.

Low iron has been linked to headaches, dizziness, cold hands and feet, extreme fatigue, pale skin, weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath, brittle nails, inflamed or sore tongue, chills, weakness, restless legs, pica and bruising.

Manganese: Your body uses manganese along with certain enzymes to metabolize amino acids, cholesterol, and carbohydrates. Manganese is also essential for bone formation, reactive oxygen formation, reproduction, immune responses, sex hormone production, blot clotting, and hemostasis. Your body also requires manganese for calcium absorption, carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar regulation.

Low Manganese levels have been linked to skin rashes, hair depigmentation, decreased serum cholesterol, demineralization of the bones, poor fertility, short stature, low muscle tone, dystonia [tremors], deafness, intellectual disability, strabismus [inability to align the eyes] developmental delay, altered mood and increased premenstrual pain in women and increased alkaline phosphatase activity in men.

Phosphorus: Your body uses phosphorus for the production of both DNA + RNA as well as the growth, maintenance and repair of all body tissues and cells - especially bones + teeth. Phosphorus also helps with the balance of Vitamin D, Iodine, Magnesium and Zinc. Phosphorus helps maintain PH levels in your body + is required for proper muscle function.

Low phosphorus levels have been linked to anxiety, bone pain, frail bones, loss of appetite, fatigue, stiff joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, numbness, irregular breathing, stupor, coma and death.

Zinc: Your body utilizes zinc to support 100 enzymes and chemical reactions. Your body also uses zinc for the creation of DNA, healing damaged heart tissue, building proteins, growing new cells and supporting your immune system.

Low zinc levels have been linked to diarrhea, irritability, loss of appetite, hair loss, infections, eye problems, inflammation, gastrointestinal + cutaneous issues and pallor.


Medicinal Disclosure + Recommendations

None of my certifications give me the power to diagnose or treat specific diseases. I am equipped to provide you with the science & experience to help you make informed decisions about the foods you choose to consume based on how they impact your holistic health + wellbeing.

If you want help with a generalized meal plans that uses food as medicine with goals to increase overall health + energy levels, which you can find that here. If you want to treat specific ailments caused by soy consumption, I recommend that you find a local naturopath or holistic health care practitioner.

The biggest take away for me after writing this post is that regular, long term soy consumption can do more harm than good.

Can you imagine if the soy industry had to be honest on their labels like cigarettes and black box medications?

If you’re wondering how you’re going to get your energy fix now that the curtain has been pulled back on the propaganda machine, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. If you're wondering about how to keep your horrible breath, I'm sorry to report that when you use food as medicine, your breath + body odor actually decrease. If you're interested in those side effects, click here.

Join the email list to stay up to date on the posts & watch for both the series on micronutrition and the medicinal foods hidden in your grocery store to see which ones offer the highest amounts of protein, fiber and health boosting vitamins..

Girl, I got you.

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