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Health Update

Wednesday, May 17. 2017

Courtesy of Russell R Van Hemert DC

The Problem With Coffee and Thyroid Medication

Like many people around the world, you may start your day with a cup of coffee, a cappuccino, or an espresso. At the same time, you may also be one of the millions of people with a thyroid condition who relies on synthetic thyroid hormone replacement medication like levothyroxine (i.e., Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Unithroid) to treat your hypothyroidism. And following your doctor's instructions, most of you take your thyroid pills in the morning.

There is a problem, however, if you take your prescription thyroid medication along with your morning coffee or espresso. Several studies have found that having coffee or espresso at the same time—or shortly after—taking your levothyroxine tablets can significantly lower your absorption of the thyroid medication.

In one study published in the journal Thyroid, researchers found the drinking coffee or espresso with or after taking your levothyroxine drug reduced the rise of T4—a reflection of absorption of your medication—by 25 percent. Some patients studied had drops of as much as 57 percent. Overall, the Thyroid journal study showed that the reduction typically ranged from 23 percent to as much as 55 percent.

By Mary Shomon - Reviewed by a board-certified physician.        

Updated April 23, 2017

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