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Caffeine and Psoriasis

Caffeine and Psoriasis

How and why caffeine affects Psoriasis?

When you hear caffeine, coffee comes to mind; however, this post is not about coffee only, but drinks and foods that contain caffeine, including Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Soft Drinks, Energy Drinks, and even Some Drugs that contain caffeine and their possible negative effects on Psoriasis.

As we reviewed in the previous post, there is no doubt that Caffeinated soft drinks are a trigger for Psoriasis because of the high sugar content, carbon dioxide, artificial flavourings, colouring agents, acidulants, chemical preservatives, caffeine, and so much more harmful ingredients.

However, Coffee, on the other hand, seems to affect everyone differently. The majority claim their psoriasis do significantly better without coffee, while others claim they are ok with regular coffee consumption, and they don’t feel the difference with elimination.

This could be because of coffee quality, type and other factors such as underlying conditions and caffeine sensitivity. According to research by Marilyn C. Cornelis, PhD, et al., our genetic make-up might explain how you metabolize coffee as well.

Another important point is that high amounts of caffeine can lead to elevated cortisol levels, as in chronic stress. Some people experience anxiety, jitters (feelings of extreme nervousness) and rapid heart rate.

Since stress is a major trigger for psoriasis, it is possible that coffee and caffeine, in general, trigger Psoriasis flareups by elevating cortisol levels and mimicking symptoms of anxiety and stress.

What is Caffeine anyway?

Caffeine is a natural compound found in plants growing in the Tropic or Sub-Tropic regions. In Plants, caffeine acts as a natural pesticide because it is toxic to insects and pests.

Is Caffeine good or bad?

In general, Caffeine is Good in Small amounts and Bad in Large amounts. As they say, too much of anything is bad.

Researchers found that Caffeine has several positive effects on the body and negative effects, which vary by dose and by a person’s tolerance and sensitivity level.

Positive Effects of Caffeine

  • Makes you Alert and Awake [1]
  • Can Reduce Inflammation and act as a Pain Reliever [2]
  • Can Improve Exercise Performance [3]
  • Can Improve Mood by increasing dopamine levels [1]
  • May Aid the Liver by slowing the growth of the scar tissue involved in fibrosis. [4]
  • Believed to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s Disease [5]
  • May lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. [6]

ATTENTION: All of the above points are related to Caffeine in the Coffee and NOT the other Caffeinated Drinks.

The Negative Effects of Caffeine

  • Can cause Insomnia and Disrupt the Circadian Rhythm [7]
  • Can trigger Jitters (shaking of the hands) [8]
  • Can Increase Blood Pressure [9]
  • Can make Anxiety Worse and can even Trigger an Anxiety Attack [10]
  • Interferes with the intestinal absorption of thyroid medications [11]
  • Can cause Diarrhea [12]
  • Can decrease Bone Mineral Density and accelerate Bone Loss in menopausal women [13]
  • Caffeine negatively affects the brain due to Restricted Blood Flow to the brain. Less blood flow, less oxygen and nutrient transport. [14]
  • Reduces Calcium Absorption and increases the risk of Osteoporosis [15]
  • Can be Addictive [16]

Should you avoid caffeine if you have Psoriasis?

Caffeine is a trigger. Your doctor might already have told you to avoid all soft drinks and coffee and dark chocolate because of the caffeine content. Caffeine-containing products are indeed on the “psoriasis trigger’ list of many doctors and health advocates because of their ability to elevate cortisol.

Avoid caffeinated soft drinks as they are usually ultra-processed with high sugar content, carbon dioxide, artificial flavourings, colouring agents, acidulants, chemical preservatives, caffeine, and are health-damaging and provide no nutritional value.

As for Coffee, if you are a coffee drinker and just can’t give up, consider Organic, Black, Unsweetened Whole Bean Coffee, or, opt-out for Organic Swiss Water Decaf (swiss water decaf is chemical-free vs other most-common methods of decaffeination involve chemical solvents.)

Keep in mind the FDA approved daily dose for adults is no more than 400 mg (for healthy adults) and be aware of side effects, stop consumption and consult your doctor if you experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent Urination and Urgency

Disclaimer: Dear reader, any and all the content on OffPsoriasis.com Is created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.


[1] Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research; Marriott BM, editor. Food Components to Enhance Performance: An Evaluation of Potential Performance-Enhancing Food Components for Operational Rations. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1994. 20, Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209050/

[2] Baratloo, Alireza et al. “The Role of Caffeine in Pain Management: A Brief Literature Review.” Anesthesiology and pain medicine vol. 6,3 e33193. 26 Mar. 2016, doi:10.5812/aapm.33193

[3] Graham TE. Caffeine and exercise: metabolism, endurance and performance. Sports Med. 2001;31(11):785-807. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200131110-00002. PMID: 11583104.

[4] Heath, Ryan D et al. “Coffee: The magical bean for liver diseases.” World journal of hepatology vol. 9,15 (2017): 689-696. doi:10.4254/wjh.v9.i15.689

[5] Larsson, Susanna C, and Nicola Orsini. “Coffee Consumption and Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies.” Nutrients vol. 10,10 1501. 14 Oct. 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10101501

[6] Muley A, Muley P, Shah M. Coffee to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes?: a systematic review. Curr Diabetes Rev. 2012 May;8(3):162-8. doi: 10.2174/157339912800564016. PMID: 22497654.

[7] Chaudhary, Ninad S et al. “Caffeine consumption, insomnia, and sleep duration: Results from a nationally representative sample.” Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.) vol. 32,11-12 (2016): 1193-9. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2016.04.005

[8] Haskell-Ramsay, Crystal F et al. “The Acute Effects of Caffeinated Black Coffee on Cognition and Mood in Healthy Young and Older Adults.” Nutrients vol. 10,10 1386. 30 Sep. 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10101386

[9] Farag, Noha H et al. “Caffeine and blood pressure response: sex, age, and hormonal status.” Journal of women’s health (2002) vol. 19,6 (2010): 1171-6. doi:10.1089/jwh.2009.1664

[10] Santos, Veruska Andrea et al. “Panic Disorder and Chronic Caffeine Use: A Case-control Study.” Clinical practice and epidemiology in mental health : CP & EMH vol. 15 120-125. 30 Sep. 2019, doi:10.2174/1745017901915010120

[11] Benvenga S, Bartolone L, Pappalardo MA, Russo A, Lapa D, Giorgianni G, Saraceno G, Trimarchi F. Altered intestinal absorption of L-thyroxine caused by coffee. Thyroid. 2008 Mar;18(3):293-301. doi: 10.1089/thy.2007.0222. PMID: 18341376.

[12] Brown, S R et al. “Effect of coffee on distal colon function.” Gut vol. 31,4 (1990): 450-3. doi:10.1136/gut.31.4.450

[13] Rapuri PB, Gallagher JC, Kinyamu HK, Ryschon KL. Caffeine intake increases the rate of bone loss in elderly women and interacts with vitamin D receptor genotypes. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Nov;74(5):694-700. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/74.5.694. PMID: 11684540.

[14] Merideth A. Addicott, et. al. The effect of daily caffeine use on cerebral blood flow: How much caffeine can we tolerate? 2009 Feb 13. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20732 PMCID: PMC2748160NIHMSID: NIHMS95449PMID: 1921984

[15] Tsuang YH, Sun JS, Chen LT, Sun SC, Chen SC. Direct effects of caffeine on osteoblastic cells metabolism: the possible causal effect of caffeine on the formation of osteoporosis. J Orthop Surg Res. 2006;1:7. Published 2006 Oct 7. doi:10.1186/1749-799X-1-7

[16] Jain S, Srivastava AS, Verma RP, Maggu G. Caffeine addiction: Need for awareness and research and regulatory measures. Asian J Psychiatr. 2019 Mar;41:73-75. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2017.01.008. Epub 2017 Feb 4. PMID: 28174076.

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