Caffeine and fertility

Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant which heightens alertness among other things and provides the morning pick-up that many people enjoy. However, heavy daily use (>300 mg) can result in anxiety, insomnia, trembling, heart palpitations, increased urination, or diarrhea.  Many studies have been done examining the link between caffeine and infertility and a negative link between the two has been found.

In women, caffeine has been associated with a longer time to achieve pregnancy and miscarriage during pregnancy. It has been thought that the higher the caffeine consumption (>200-300 mg/day), the higher the risk for miscarriage.   The presence of too much caffeine also substantially reduces the body’s ability to absorb iron which is an essential nutrient for pregnancy in preventing anemia, fatigue, low birth weight, and pre-term delivery. Caffeine also decreases the absorption of other essential nutrients such as Vitamin D, Calcium, B Vitamins, and other minerals and nutrients.  Caffeine also has a diuretic effect which can contribute to dehydration and associated issues.

While caffeine use itself does not negatively affect semen quality (recent studies have shown), the detriments of too much caffeine intake are harmful to overall health.

For overall health and wellness in both male and female partners, < 300 mg/day of caffeine is recommended and < 150 mg is even better.  During pregnancy or leading up to pregnancy women should consider lowering their caffeine intake to <150 mg or eliminating it altogether.   Those who consume large amounts of caffeinated beverages should taper gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, irritability, restlessness, and nausea.

Caffeine Content Found In:
Coffee Tea
Starbucks grande (16 oz) coffee 330 mg Black tea, brewed for 3 mins. (8 oz) 30-80 mg
Dunkin Donuts Medium (14 oz) coffee 178 mg Starbucks Tazo Awake- brewed tea or tea latte 135 mg
Starbucks- caffe latte, cappuccino, or carmel macchioto (grande, 16 oz) 150 mg Lipton Pure Leaf Iced Tea- (18.5 oz) 60 mg
McDonalds large coffee (16 oz) 133 mg Snapple Lemon Tea (16 oz) 62 mg
Panera Coffee (regular, 16.8 oz) 189 mg Green Tea, brewed for 3 minutes (8oz) 35-60 mg
Keurig Coffee K-cup, all varieties 75-150 mg Ice Cream (4 oz unless noted)
Folger’s Classic Roast Instant Coffee (2tsp makes 12 oz) 148 mg Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream 45 mg
Soft Drinks (12 oz) Haagn-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream 29 mg
Pepsi,  Diet Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Coke Zero 35-38 mg Breyers Coffee Icea Cream 11  mg
Pepsi Max 69 mg Chocolate Candy/Chocolate Drinks
Mountain Dew- diet or regular 54 mg Starbucks Grande Hot Chocolate 25 mg
7-UP, Ginger Ale, Sprite, Root beer 0 mg Hershey’s special dark (1 bar) 20 mg
Energy Drinks (16 oz unless noted) Heyshey’s Cocoa (1 tbsp) 8 mg
5-hour energy (1.9 oz) 208 mg Over-the-counter pills
Full throttle 200mg Exedrin Migraine (2 caps) 130 mg
Red Bull (8.4 oz) 80 mg Midol Complete (2 caps) 120 mg
Monster Energy 160 mg Bayer Back & Body (2 caps) 65 mg
Nutrition Action Health Letter Dec 2012
Another great reference about caffeine intake and overall affects on your body can be found here.