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Caffeine | Women's Health

  • Caffeine may be contributing to numerous health problems, including loss of calcium and urinary incontinence, according to research.  Caffeine affects the urine production in kidneys and is also a bladder irritant.

    Since caffeine is a diuretic,
    it can increase calcium loss in the urine. For every 150 milligrams of caffeine (found in approximately one 8-ounce cup of coffee or two to three 12-ounce cans of caffeinated soda), approximately five milligrams of calcium is excreted out in the urine. This loss can add up and could be detrimental for your bones, particularly if your diet is already insufficient in calcium. If you must have your caffeine, bone up on calcium by adding at least two tablespoons of milk to each cup of coffee, in addition to getting your recommended daily intake of calcium. 

    Caffeine is also a stimulant,
    and has an effect on your central nervous system, your digestive tract, and your metabolism. In high doses, caffeine can cause rapid heartbeat, irritability, insomnia and anxiety in some people.

    Caffeinated Sodas
    are also high in phosphorus, which is another factor that could also increase your risk of developing osteoporosis in the future.   

    As a precaution, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been recommending since 1981 that women eliminate or cut down on caffeine if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.  (Urinary Incontinence, Diseases and Conditions; Pregnancy week by week, Healthy Lifestyle, Mayo Clinic, 2016)

What Women Can Do
  • Director of Women's Health at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, Dr Tracy Flanagan, had this recommendation for pregnant women who feel a need for a daily "energy jolt":
    • "Learn to perk up instead with natural energy boosts like a brisk walk, yoga stretches, snacking on dried fruits and nuts."
    • "If you definitely need caffeine to get you going, try keeping it to one cup or less a day. Avoiding it may be even better. Consider switching to decaffeinated coffee and other decaffeinated beverages during your pregnancy," she advised.