Think i'm allergic to caffeine?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 18, 2013 at 6:10 PM

whenever i drink coffee, i get a headache about a half hour after, i also get a really hot red face. i drink about 3 cups of coffee a day (terrible considering how it makes me feel) and tea tends to do the same, just not to the same degree. i definitely have other bad habits that need to be worked on, (i love bread, dairy and milk chocolate..) but i find that this seems to be the most urgent, simply because of the immediate effect it seems to have on me. i find it really hard to give up tea and coffee because i find them comforting and herbal tea doesn't cut it (i need that strong taste). just wondering if anyone can give me advice on how to wean myself off, if they've had a similar experience themselves etc..

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2 Answers



on August 18, 2013
at 08:54 PM

Maybe its the quality of the coffee you're drinking? Try a better brand and see if it has the same effects, but since you say tea has the same effect, perhaps you truly have issues with caffeine.

There were reports of cross reactivity with coffee for people who are gluten intolerant. I'm celiac, but can drink coffee without issue. If that's the case, after a few months of healing your gut, you may be able to handle coffee, or not.

There is a similar issue your description reminds me of, certain folks can't handle alcohol and turn red due to a genetic inability to metabolize alcohol properly. This is because their liver doesn't easily metabolize it. Perhaps you have a similar issue there, or perhaps your liver needs to heal for a bit before it can do the job. The wikipedia page on caffeine mentions this as a symptom of toxicity for very high doses.

There is a known issue with things like grapefruits preventing caffeine metabolism, so obviously stay away from grapefruits.

Things like milk thistle/silimarin extracts are known to help support liver function, as are B vitamins, choline, and sulfur containing veggies (onions, garlic, scallions, etc.) Perhaps they can help your liver, though they might not necessarily help fix a genetic inability to process caffeine.

The liver metabolizes caffeine in several stages, the end stage being uric acid, which can cause headaches in some people.

If chocolate doesn't give you the same reaction, though, it does have some caffeine, perhaps make a hot chocolate instead, but please do so from actual cocoa powder and maybe coconut milk rather than pre-packaged mixes which have all sorts of nasty stuff. A good 90% cocoa chocolate bar shouldn't be considered a bad habit.


on August 19, 2013
at 12:36 AM

Try adding in a Yerba Mate or Matcha Green Tea and see how you feel after those beverages.

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