Cafe, Café, Café Arabica, Café Robusta, Caffea, Coffea arabica, Coffea arnoldiana, Coffea bukobensis, Coffea canephora, Coffea Cruda, Coffea liberica, Coffea robusta, Espresso, Expresso, Java, Mocha.
Overview InformationCoffee is a drink made from coffee beans, which are the roasted fruit of the Coffea arabica bush.
People most commonly drink coffee to relieve mental and physical fatigue and to increase mental alertness. Coffee is also used to prevent Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, dementia, and cognitive decline. It is also used to prevent gallstones, gout, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Rectally, coffee is used as an enema to treat cancer. Coffee enemas are used as a part of the "Gerson Therapy." In the Gerson Therapy, cancer patients are treated with caffeinated coffee in the form of enemas every four hours on a daily basis. During the treatment people are given a diet of liver, vegetables, and a variety of other supplements. This type of therapy is considered an unacceptable medical practice in the U.S.
How does it work?Coffee contains caffeine. Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), heart, and muscles. Coffee also contains other chemicals that might have other benefits.
Uses & Effectiveness
Likely Effective for
- Mental alertness. Drinking coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine throughout the day seems to increase alertness and clear thinking. Caffeine can also improve alertness after sleep deprivation. Even one drink of coffee can reduce fatigue and increase alertness.
Possibly Effective for
- Impaired movement of food through the intestines after surgery. Drinking coffee might shorten the time until first bowel movement after having part of the colon removed or after having surgery for gynecological cancers.
- Diabetes. People who drink more coffee seems to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The greater the intake of coffee, the lower the risk.
- Gallbladder disease. People who drink beverages such as coffee that provide at least 400 mg of caffeine per day seem to have a lower risk of developing gallstones. The greater the intake of caffeine, the lower the risk.
- High cholesterol. Drinking caffeinated coffee seems to reduce levels of total cholesterol, LDL or "bad cholesterol," and blood fats called triglycerides by a small amount. Drinking at least 6-8 cups of caffeinated coffee per day might have the greatest benefit. Drinking decaffeinated coffee does not appear to have the same effect.
- Low blood pressure. Drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee seems to increase blood pressure in elderly people who experience dizziness after meals due to low blood pressure.
- Death from any cause. People who drink coffee every day seem to have a lower chance of dying from any cause or from heart disease compared to those who never drink coffee. It's unclear if drinking coffee is linked with a lower chance of death due to cancer.
- Parkinson disease. There is evidence that people who drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and cola have a decreased risk of Parkinson disease. Interestingly, coffee does not seem to help prevent Parkinson disease in people who smoke cigarettes.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Cancer of the esophagus. People who drink more coffee don't seem to have a lower chance of developing cancer of the esophagus.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). The buildup of calcium-containing plaque in the arteries is an early sign of possible atherosclerosis. Drinking coffee doesn't seem to be linked with a lower buildup of calcium-containing plaque in the arteries.
- Bladder cancer. Some evidence suggests that people who drink more coffee have a lower chance of developing bladder cancer. But other research suggest that people who drink more coffee might have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Breast cancer. People who drink more coffee don't seem to have a lower chance of developing breast cancer.
- Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). There is developing evidence that drinking more coffee over a lifetime might improve thinking skills among women older than 80 years of age.
- Colon cancer, rectal cancer. There is some evidence that Japanese people who drink more coffee have a lower chance of developing colon or rectal cancer. But other research conducted in North America and Europe has not found a link between drinking coffee and the risk of colon and rectal cancer.
- Endometrial cancer. The effect of coffee on the risk of endometrial cancer is unclear. Some research suggests that women who drink more coffee have a lower risk of developing endometrial cancer. But other research has not found a link between drinking coffee and the risk of endometrial cancer.
- Gout. There is some evidence that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee seem to help to prevent gout. But caffeinated coffee seems to work better.
- High blood pressure. People who drink coffee long-term seem to have a lower chance of developing high blood pressure. But smoking seems to diminish this benefit.
- Lung cancer. Some research suggests that drinking caffeinated coffee may help to prevent lung cancer, but other research disagrees. It's too early to draw firm conclusions. Meanwhile, some research suggests that drinking decaffeinated coffee may help to prevent lung cancer.
- The most serious type of skin cancer (melanoma). When factors such as age and sun exposure are taken into account, drinking coffee doesn't seem to be linked with a lower chance of developing skin cancer.
- Obesity. The effect of coffee on weight loss in people who are overweight or obese is unclear. Results from research are conflicting. Some research suggests that taking coffee chemicals, called mannooligosaccharides, for 12 weeks might help with weight loss in men, but not women. Drinking a dark roast coffee seems to help reduce food intake and help with weight loss, whereas a light roast coffee does not. Other research suggests that drinking coffee with or without caffeine does not help with weight loss.
- Prostate cancer. In general, people who drink coffee don't seem to have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. But drinking more coffee has been linked with a lower risk of localized prostate cancer. This is prostate cancer that has not spread outside the prostate.
- Skin cancer. Some research shows that drinking many cups of coffee per day might reduce the risk of a specific form of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma but not other forms of skin cancer. Drinking decaf or decaffeinated coffee does not have any effect on skin cancer risk. The effect on skin cancer might be with caffeine and not coffee.
- Alzheimer disease and other types of dementia.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyCoffee is LIKELY SAFE for most healthy adults when consumed in moderate amounts (about 4 cups per day).
Coffee containing caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, increased heart and breathing rate, and other side effects.
Drinking unfiltered coffee can increase total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and levels of another type of blood fat called triglycerides. This might increase the risk of developing heart disease. Using coffee filters helps to reduce these effects on cholesterol.
Caffeinated coffee is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth for a long time or in high doses (more than 4 cups per day). Drinking large amounts of caffeinated coffee might cause headache, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, and irregular heartbeats. Drinking more than 6 cups daily might cause "caffeinism" with symptoms such as anxiety or agitation. Also, people who drink a lot of caffeinated coffee every day may need to drink more coffee to get the same effects. They may also become "dependent" on coffee to the point that they develop withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop drinking it.
There is some concern that drinking more than 5 cups of coffee per day might not be safe for people with heart disease. But for people who don't have heart disease, drinking several cups daily does not seem to increase the chance of developing a heart problem. There is also concern that occasional coffee drinking might trigger a heart attack in some people. People who usually don't drink more than one cup of coffee daily and also have multiple risk factors for heart disease seem to have an increased risk for heart attack within an hour after drinking coffee. But people who regularly drink greater amounts do not seem to have this risk.
There is some concern that drinking coffee might increase the risk of some types of cancers. However, there is no good evidence that coffee increases the risk of any type of cancer. Scientists continue to look at this.
Coffee is also POSSIBLY UNSAFE when given rectally as an enema. Coffee enemas have been linked to cases of severe side effects, including death.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Caffeinated coffee is POSSIBLY SAFE for pregnant women in amounts of 3 cups per day or less. This amount of coffee provides about 300 mg of caffeine. Consuming larger amounts during pregnancy or when breast-feeding is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Drinking more than 3 cups per day during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight. These risks increase as the amount of coffee the mother drinks during pregnancy increases. Also, caffeine can pass into breast milk, so nursing mothers should closely monitor caffeine intake to make sure it is on the low side (1-2 cups per day). High intake of caffeine by nursing mothers can cause sleep problems, irritability, and increased bowel activity in breast-fed infants.
Children: Caffeinated coffee is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by children and adolescents in amounts commonly found in foods and beverages.
Anxiety disorders: The caffeine in coffee might make anxiety worse.
Bipolar disorder: The caffeine in coffee might make symptoms of mania worse.
Bleeding disorders: There is some concern that coffee might make bleeding disorders worse.
Heart disease: Drinking unfiltered (boiled) coffee increases the amount of cholesterol and other fats in the blood, and also raises the level of homocysteine, all of which are associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. Some research suggests an association between heart attacks and drinking coffee.
Diabetes: Some research suggests that caffeine contained in coffee might change the way people with diabetes process sugar. Caffeine has been reported to cause increases as well as decreases in blood sugar. Use caffeine with caution if you have diabetes and monitor your blood sugar carefully.
Diarrhea: Coffee contains caffeine. The caffeine in coffee, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea.
Glaucoma: Drinking caffeinated coffee increases pressure inside the eye. The increase starts within 30 minutes and lasts for at least 90 minutes.
High blood pressure: Drinking caffeinated coffee might increase blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, this effect might be less in people who drink coffee regularly.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Coffee contains caffeine. The caffeine in coffee, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS.
Thinning bones (osteoporosis): Drinking caffeinated coffee can increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out in the urine. This might weaken bones. If you have osteoporosis, limit caffeine consumption to less than 300 mg per day (less than 3 cups of caffeinated coffee). Taking calcium supplements may help to make up for calcium that is lost. If you are generally healthy and getting enough calcium from your food and supplements, taking up to 400 mg of caffeine daily (about 4 cups of coffee) doesn't seem to increase the risk of getting osteoporosis. Postmenopausal women who have an inherited condition that keeps them from processing vitamin D normally, should be especially cautious when using caffeine.
Do not take this combination
Ephedrine interacts with COFFEE
Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. The caffeine in coffee and ephedrine are both stimulant drugs. Drinking coffee and taking ephedrine might cause too much stimulation and sometimes serious side effects and heart problems. Do not take caffeine-containing products and ephedrine at the same time.
Be cautious with this combination
Adenosine (Adenocard) interacts with COFFEE
The caffeine in coffee might block the affects of adenosine (Adenocard). Adenosine (Adenocard) is often used by doctors to do a test on the heart. This test is called a cardiac stress test. Stop consuming coffee or other caffeine-containing products at least 24 hours before a cardiac stress test.
Alcohol interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down the caffeine in coffee to get rid of it. Alcohol can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking coffee along with alcohol might cause too much caffeine in the bloodstream and caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, and fast heartbeat.
Alendronate (Fosamax) interacts with COFFEE
Coffee can decrease how much alendronate (Fosamax) the body absorbs. Taking coffee and alendronate (Fosamax) at the same time can decrease the effectiveness of alendronate (Fosamax). Don't drink coffee within two hours of taking alendronate (Fosamax).
Antibiotics (Quinolone antibiotics) interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Some antibiotics might decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking these antibiotics along with coffee can increase the risk of side effects including jitteriness, headache, increased heart rate, and other side effects.
Some antibiotics that decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), enoxacin (Penetrex), norfloxacin (Chibroxin, Noroxin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), trovafloxacin (Trovan), and grepafloxacin (Raxar).
Clozapine (Clozaril) interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down clozapine (Clozaril) to get rid of it. The caffeine in coffee might decrease how fast the body breaks down clozapine (Clozaril). Taking coffee along with clozapine (Clozaril) can increase the effects and side effects of clozapine (Clozaril).
Dipyridamole (Persantine) interacts with COFFEE
The caffeine in coffee might block the affects of dipyridamole (Persantine). Dipyridamole (Persantine) is often used by doctors to do a test on the heart. This test is called a cardiac stress test. Stop drinking coffee or other caffeine-containing products at least 24 hours before a cardiac stress test.
Disulfiram (Antabuse) interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down the caffeine in coffee to get rid of it. Disulfiram (Antabuse) can decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking coffee along with disulfiram (Antabuse) might increase the effects and side effects of coffee including jitteriness, hyperactivity, irritability, and others.
Estrogens interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down the caffeine in coffee to get rid of it. Estrogens can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking estrogen pills and drinking coffee can cause jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and other side effects. If you take estrogen pills limit your caffeine intake.
Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.
Fluvoxamine (Luvox) interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down the caffeine in coffee to get rid of it. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking caffeine along with fluvoxamine (Luvox) might cause too much caffeine in the body, and increase the effects and side effects of caffeine.
Levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levothroid, Levoxyl, and others) interacts with COFFEE
Drinking some types of coffee might reduce the amount of levothyroxine that is absorbed when taken by mouth. This can decrease how well levothyroxine works. Avoid drinking coffee at the same time that you take levothyroxine and for an hour afterwards.
Lithium interacts with COFFEE
You body naturally gets rid of lithium. The caffeine in coffee can increase how quickly your body gets rid of lithium. If you take products that contain caffeine and you take lithium, stop taking caffeine products slowly. Stopping caffeine too quickly can increase the side effects of lithium.
Medications for depression (MAOIs) interacts with COFFEE
The caffeine in coffee can stimulate the body. Some medications used for depression can also stimulate the body. Drinking coffee and taking some medications for depression might cause too much stimulation and serious side effects including fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, nervousness, and others.
Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.
Medications for depression (Tricyclic Antidepressants) interacts with COFFEE
Coffee contains chemicals called tannins. Tannins can bind to many medications and decrease how much medicine the body absorbs. To avoid this interaction avoid coffee one hour before and two hours after taking medications for depression called tricyclic antidepressants.
Some medications for depression include amitriptyline (Elavil) or imipramine (Tofranil, Janimine).
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with COFFEE
Coffee might slow blood clotting. Taking coffee along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Pentobarbital (Nembutal) interacts with COFFEE
The stimulant effects of the caffeine in coffee can block the sleep-producing effects of pentobarbital.
Phenothiazines interacts with COFFEE
Coffee contains chemicals called tannins. Tannins can bind to many medications and decrease how much medicine the body absorbs. To avoid this interaction avoid coffee one hour before and two hours after taking phenothiazine medications.
Some phenothiazine medications include fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), haloperidol (Haldol), prochlorperazine (Compazine), thioridazine (Mellaril), and trifluoperazine (Stelazine).
Phenylpropanolamine interacts with COFFEE
The caffeine in coffee can stimulate the body. Phenylpropanolamine can also stimulate the body. Taking caffeine and phenylpropanolamine together might cause too much stimulation and increase heartbeat, blood pressure, and cause nervousness.
Riluzole (Rilutek) interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down riluzole (Rilutek) to get rid of it. Drinking coffee can decrease how fast the body breaks down riluzole (Rilutek) and increase the effects and side effects of riluzole.
Stimulant drugs interacts with COFFEE
Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. The caffeine in coffee can also speed up the nervous system. Drinking coffee along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with coffee.
Some stimulant drugs include diethylpropion (Tenuate), epinephrine, phentermine (Ionamin), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and many others.
Theophylline interacts with COFFEE
The caffeine in coffee works similarly to theophylline. Caffeine can also decrease how quickly the body gets rid of theophylline. Drinking coffee and taking theophylline might increase the effects and side effects of theophylline.
Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down the caffeine in coffee to get rid of it. Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) can decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. Drinking coffee and taking verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) can increase the risk of side effects for coffee including jitteriness, headache, and an increased heartbeat.
Be watchful with this combination
Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs) interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down the caffeine in coffee to get rid of it. Birth control pills can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking coffee along with birth control pills can cause jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and other side effects.
Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.
Cimetidine (Tagamet) interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down the caffeine in coffee to get rid of it. Cimetidine (Tagamet) can decrease how quickly your body breaks down caffeine. Taking cimetidine (Tagamet) along with coffee might increase the chance of caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and others.
Fluconazole (Diflucan) interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down the caffeine in coffee to get rid of it. Fluconazole (Diflucan) might decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking fluconazole (Diflucan) and drinking coffee might increase the effects and side effects of coffee including nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with COFFEE
Coffee might increase blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. By increasing blood sugar, coffee might decrease the effectiveness of diabetes medications. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Mexiletine (Mexitil) interacts with COFFEE
Coffee contains caffeine. The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Mexiletine (Mexitil) can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking Mexiletine (Mexitil) along with coffee might increase the caffeine effects and side effects of coffee.
Terbinafine (Lamisil) interacts with COFFEE
The body breaks down the caffeine in coffee to get rid of it. Terbinafine (Lamisil) can decrease how fast the body gets rid of caffeine and increase the risk of side effects including jitteriness, headache, increased heartbeat, and other effects.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For headache or improving mental alertness: The typical dose of caffeine is up to 250 mg per day, which is about 2 cups of coffee. Even a single cup of coffee with caffeine can be used.
- For Parkinson disease: Three to four cups of caffeinated coffee per day or 421 mg to 2716 mg total caffeine. However, a significantly lower risk of developing Parkinson disease has also been associated with as little as 124 mg to 208 mg of caffeine (approximately one to two cups of coffee). In women, more moderate caffeinated coffee intake, one to three cups per day, seems to be best.
- For death from any cause: At least one cup of ground, instant, or decaffeinated coffee per day has been used long-term.
- For gallbladder disease: 400 mg or more of caffeine per day, which is about two or more cups of coffee. However, drinking at least 800 mg caffeine per day (four or more cups of coffee) seems to work best.
- For high cholesterol: Six to eight cups of caffeinated coffee per day has been used.
- For diabetes: 900 mg caffeine per day (six or more cups of coffee per day) long-term.
- Impaired movement of food through the intestines after surgery: 100 mL of coffee three times a day starting after surgery and continuing until the first bowel movement has been used.
Brewed coffee contains around 100-150 mg caffeine per cup. Instant coffee contains 85-100 mg caffeine per cup. Decaffeinated coffee contains approximately 8 mg caffeine per cup. Darker roasts contain less caffeine due to the roasting process.
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