One of the most common Hashimoto’s symptoms is fatigue. In the worst cases, it’s bone-crushing, life-destroying fatigue that makes it impossible to even get out of bed. In the beginning, often before a confirmed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis diagnosis, many of us turn to mass quantities of coffee or some other caffeinated beverage just to make it through the day.
Unfortunately, that jolt we use to jumpstart our day is doing more harm than good. All that coffee stimulates your adrenal glands to release “fight-or-flight” hormones. You get a boost of energy but it comes at a cost! Caffeine can intensify adrenal problems, which can worsen Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Ingesting caffeine while dealing with adrenal fatigue is actually compounding existing fatigue, not easing it in the long term! And coffee in particular is bad for those of us with autoimmunity because consuming can also result in acid reflux and damage the gut lining further. Coffee also impacts the absorption of levothyroxine (the synthetic thyroid hormone).
But, you’re thinking, I’m tired! There must be a coffee substitute that won’t aggravate Hashimoto’s! Some people turn toward matcha – finely ground shade-grown green tea that comes as a fine, bright green powder that can be made into a simple tea or added to smoothies.
Now, you’ve probably heard that green tea has many health benefits without too much caffeine and that’s true. For instance matcha contains EGCg (100 times more than regular green tea) which is a powerful catechin with many health benefits. And not only is matcha rich in theanine, but it also contains vitamin A, vitamin B-complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, antioxidants, fiber, and protein. That said, if you’re at all caffeine sensitive you should know that matcha does contain 25 mg of caffeine (about 1/3 the caffeine of a regular sized cup of brewed coffee).
How much caffeine is too much caffeine when it comes to healing Hashimoto’s disease?
First, before we even talk about caffeine, you should know that there is some evidence which shows that the catechins present in green tea might have antithyroid activity when consumed in high doses – but you’d need to drink A LOT of matcha to see those effects. If matcha is a treat you enjoy occasionally, you’re probably not going to notice any difference in how you feel provided you’re not adding dairy or soy or sugar (or artificial sweeteners) to your beverages.
Now back to caffeine. Honestly, so many of us with Hashimoto’s are caffeine sensitive thanks to adrenal fatigue and other issues that it wouldn’t hurt to try kicking the caffeine habit. You may actually find that you feel more awake in the mornings after you’ve spent some caffeine-free time detoxing your body! If you need something to sip in the mornings, there are delicious herbal options out there are can be a part of your healing regimen. And of course, there’s always bone broth!
BUT if you just can’t get through the morning without a little caffeine, matcha green tea is certainly a better choice than coffee. However, you should double check with your doctor or care provider if you’re taking thyroid medication – just in case.