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Fibromyalgia and Caffeine:
Does your coffee have your back? 

Oh, I get it. One thing I LOVE is to socialize over a great cup of coffee!! The wonderful aroma, the warmth around my hands, that FIRST taste. Oh yes, I get it. However, because I also live with fibromyalgia and its primary co-conditions, I have to be careful. I need my coffee choices to HAVE my back, and LOVE me back. How about you?

If you have fibromyalgia, you know that any over stimulation can occur very easily within the fibro body. You may have learned how to navigate around many of these everyday things that can easily over stimulate our bodies and our senses. We don't always have control over many of those. 

But, what about caffeine? For many people, a morning ritual includes drinking coffee to get going. Many people depend on this. With fibromyalgia, this is the last thing we need, and in some cases, this can be down right dangerous for our bodies, our nerves, our endocrine system and our heart. 

But, wait, I promise I am not trying to take your beloved coffee away. I get it. I actually love the taste of a good organic decaf espresso on occasion. (I also use gano coffee)

I have never been dependent on morning caffeine to get me going, but if you are one of those who needs that morning cup of coffee, I would love to give you some things to consider:

  • 1. Caffeine is not a clean source of energy, think Adrenal Stress 
  • 2. When we wake up in the morning, our bodies are naturally in a more "acidic" state, so adding more acid FIRST thing in the morning, is not a great idea.  
  • 3. Non organic options leave you more susceptible to pesticide exposure. 
  • 4. Too much doctoring of our coffee can be hard on the liver and gallbladder. I refer mostly to dairy here. However, butter oils are good, and cinnamon or mocha is also a nice touch. 
  • 5. Caffeine can leave us open to dependency and rebound effects , not unlike sugar ingestion also does. 

Doctoring our coffee:
cream, sugars, MCT oils, butter oil, and more. 

Be careful of too much doctoring of your coffee. Some people have the notion that this will also cut down on the "acidity" of the coffee. However, this can actually create more work for the liver and gallbladder. Cream and coffee mixed together can be tough on the liver. This is something I often warn my clients about when working with them on liver health. Don't worry though, it's not all or nothing here. 
You know what I found? If I get a really good organic espresso, prepared the right way, I just don't need anything added to it. Sometimes it's about adjusting our taste buds, and that can take time. 

MCT oils from coconut oil are good, but remember that not everyone tolerates coconut products. They are sometimes over promoted as well with exaggerated health benefits. Yes, they are good, but there are SO many other variables. 
Butter oils are good as well. 

Be good to your heart 

If you find that caffeine doesn't sit well with you, please listen to your body. We have too much incidence of heart disease in our society today. A news program or article that tells you coffee is good for you one week and bad the next, is not relaying all the facts. They are being "selective" in their reporting AND in how they sensationalize headlines. 

A combination of stimulating factors could easily overload your body, maybe even sending you to the emergency room.
Consider this scenario:
You didn't sleep well for many nights in a row, you are experiencing pain, high cortisol,  and maybe even costochondritis around your upper rib cage. You ingest some caffeine. Your body has now taken its "last straw" (our straw theory) and you are shaking, your arms feel weak (from the excess cortisol) and you think you might be having a heart attack (Heart muscle in fibro
This is serious business. One or two straws might be ok, but now you have broken your camels back and your nervous system and your heart are having to work way too hard. 

I've ingested caffeine. How do I get it out
of my system?

Excellent question. If you have accidentally ingested caffeine, and your body is shaking and over stimulated, here are a few things you need to remember. 

  • 1. The fibro body may have a more challenging time working it through the system due to the potential for slower detox pathways, not in everyone, but yes that is possible. 
  • 2. Drink more water for the next 8-12 hours. 
  • 3. Take some electrolytes, especially more vitamin C. (I use Health Force all natural C powder), methylated B vitamins, and possibly 7-keto DHEA metabolite to help with the stress. 
  • 4. Incorporate some deep breathing, if possible, and get in some kind of movement. 
  • 5. A light sweat if it is warm out OR in a gentle infra-red sauna can be helpful, just until you start the sweating process, not too long please. 
  • 6. It can just take time. Focus on something else and remind yourself why you must be careful, and if ordering decaf in a coffee shop, always let them know it must be decaf. Yes, there can still be about 3% caffeine, but not near the amount in regular coffee. 

Decaf: chemical process versus water process

There are many different brands of coffee and decaf. However, with decaf, there is often a chemical process that is used to decaffeinate the coffee beans. I really like this brand called Jeremiahs, as it is not only organic, but also decaf by water process.  
( Jeremiahs organic decaf coffee is processed by water, not chemicals) 

Even in decaf coffee, we can get about 3% caffeine, but for many people that will not be an issue. If you are ultra sensitive, just avoid it or use very sparingly. 

Organic versus conventional coffee 

Most of the time when we get coffee out, it is not going to be organic. It is also usually in a drip version versus press coffee we might make at home, unless you get espresso. Rarely will you be offered an "organic version" at any of these popular coffee places. 

Pesticides are an issue in many foods and drinks these days. If you handle caffeine, but something else just doesn't sit right with you after ingestion, it could be related to pesticide use in the crops of the air and soil. 

Green tea is not always a viable alternative
for every person

Green tea sounds like a great alternative to coffee, but let me give you some things to consider with green tea. 

  • 1. It still has caffeine, so be careful. 
  • 2. Green tea extracts have been implicated in liver disease in some people, therefore avoid green tea in supplemental form
  • 3. Green tea can cause gas or bloating in a more sensitive digestive system OR in those with fibromyalgia who also have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) 
  • 4. Choose a straight MATCHA when using green tea, this is the best choice. Matcha can also be used in blender drinks and recipes, although it is rather expensive. 

Related articles :
Adrenal Stress 
Fibromyalgia and the Heart 
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The nervous system in Fibromyalgia 

Matcha love to you,  <3 Lisa Ehler Curley  <3 

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