Coffee, cappuccino, latte, tea, chocolate cake, brownie, coke – caffeine is present in many yummy foods! But we also know that too much of caffeine is not very good for health. How does it impact our health? More specifically, how does it impact one’s fertility? Does it have same or different effects in men and women? Should you avoid caffeine altogether, or is there a safe consumption limit? For answers, read on.
Caffeine’s Effect on Women’s Fertility
There are many ways caffeine effect a woman’s fertility and pregnancy:
- Caffeine is known to impact the muscular movements of the fallopian tube. The fertilization of egg happens in the fallopian tube and after fertilization, it is the fallopian tube that moves the egg to the uterus. So anything that affects these muscular movements can also affect the position of the egg, which might end up in a place that is not optimum for a viable pregnancy. (Source)
- For this reason, it is found that caffeine reduces the probability of a woman getting pregnant by 27 percent
- Studies have also shown some indication that caffeine impacts the maturation of the egg. A high quality and mature egg is necessary for conception
- Research also indicates that increased caffeine in the diet is linked to increased chances of miscarriages. Heavy caffeine users have twice the probability of miscarriages than the non-users
- If you are already pregnant, caffeine still possesses a threat to the pregnancy: it can cross the placenta and enter the baby’s system, hampering his growth and development; pregnant women also show heightened after effects of caffeine as their metabolism is slower so caffeine is broken down at a slower pace
Caffeine’s Effect On Men’s Fertility
There is conflicting research on caffeine’s effect on men’s fertility. For instance, one study found that caffeine does not affect semen quality or sperm count. Another study found that heavy caffeine users have low success chances during fertility treatments such as IVF. Another group of studies indicates a direct correlation between cola and sperm count, but strangely caffeine does not seem to be the villain here. So, while men do not have to be overtly anxious about their caffeine intake as women, they still need to keep a control over their consumption, especially if the couple has been trying for a child for some time or is undergoing a fertility treatment.
How Much Caffeine Is Safe?
Unfortunately, there is no guided safe range for consuming caffeine. Generally, it is agreed that:
- Women trying to conceive should limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day
- If you are on any kind of fertility treatment, it might be wise to reduce your intake even further – as much as 100 mg per day
- If you are already pregnant, it might be wise to avoid any caffeine rich food as the studies are not clear on its impact on the baby
To give you an idea of how much is “200 mg of caffeine”, see the following guide:
- A cup of filter coffee contains 140 mg of caffeine
- A cup of instant coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine
- A cup of normal tea contains 75 mg of caffeine
- A cup of green tea contains 50 mg of caffeine
- A small piece of brown chocolate contains 50 mg of caffeine
- A can of coke contains 40 mg of caffeine
So if you restrict yourself to one or at max two of the above items in a day, then you are alright.
There are few things you need to keep in mind while putting the above inferences and research in perspective. While studies have proved a relation between high caffeine content and fertility, there are no high-quality studies done on this topic that shows a direct link between caffeine and fertility. However, since there is a risk factor, however minimal, it is best to avoid consuming caffeine in high quantities while you are trying to conceive. Saying good bye to caffeine has multiple advantages because it does lead other proven health related problems such as insomnia, restlessness, high blood pressure, muscle tremors and an upset stomach. So overall, we are to gain if we reduce the caffeine content in our daily diet.