Does Coffee Affect Arthritis? The Real Answer
If you’re an arthritis sufferer, you probably have a long list of foods to avoid. And most likely, caffeine isn’t on that list.
But does coffee affect arthritis?
Does it have anything to do with your flare-ups? Can it worsen any existing pain?
Well, opinions are divided on this topic – because experts have different views.
However, I tried to analyze several points of view and reach a clear conclusion. Here’s what I got.
1. Can Coffee Cause Arthritis Alone?
A Finnish study from the 2000s terrified a whole world. The researchers claimed one thing:
- drinking coffee everyday is harmful
- it also increases the risk of getting RA
But was it all for real? Could our everyday coffee lead to such a serious diagnosis as arthritis?
Well, it turned out that things weren’t as bad as they seemed. The initial study also associated several risk factors:
- and obesity
So if you counted on coffee alone – it would be pretty impossible that it produced arthritis itself.
In fact, coffee can’t even produce you temporary joint pain – so you can forget about arthritis.
But if you need another reason to be sure, here it is.
Later on, scientists tried to find what substances from coffee increased the risk for arthritis:
- You would say it’s caffeine, right?
- Well, find out that you were wrong!
It turned out that caffeine didn’t have anything to do with arthritis. Scientists couldn’t even discover which was the exact responsible, but they believe it’s diterpenes.
Now guess what? You can find these substances in lots of natural foods, so it’s still pretty unlikely that they have anything to do with arthritis.
Conclusion: So overall, one thing is sure: Simply drinking coffee won’t cause you any type of arthritis.
At least as long as you don’t have any other risk factor involved.
2. Can Coffee Worsen An Existing Arthritis?
When it comes to this – things are a bit different than you might have thought.
Some rheumatologists advise their patients to stop any drinks that contain caffeine. But that doesn’t include only coffee:
- There’s also tea
- They also recommend avoiding soda
What’s the reason behind their recommendation? Well, they don’t have any real reason. At least not a medical one.
That’s because there are no studies to show that coffee can worsen any type of arthritis.
In fact, scientists tested that out but they couldn’t reach the conclusion they wanted:
- The patients from the trials had mixed results
- And those may have been a coincidence
So until no new study comes up, there’s only one conclusion. Unlike gluten, coffee won’t worsen your existing arthritis.
Obviously, exaggerating with any food is dangerous in a condition like arthritis.
But you can drink 3 cups of coffee daily without having any reason to worry:
- It won’t increase your flare-ups
- It won’t influence your pain
If that happens – you should know that it’s not because of the coffee you’re drinking.
Conclusion: Coffee doesn’t either increase your flare-ups or worsen your pain. At least no study managed to proved that until now.
3. What About Gout – Does Coffee Increase The Risk?
You might not believe it – but drinking coffee is one of the best ways to prevent gout.
- coffee is considered a risk factor for RA
- but it’s also a preventive factor for gouty arthritis
Does it make sense? Logically speaking, it surely doesn’t.
Well, according to a Canadian study – people who drank at least 4 cups of coffee per day had a much lower risk of developing gout.
If you want numbers – the risk decreased with 50%, which is a huge number in these cases.
That might be a very helpful tip if you have a history of gout in your family. In that case, you might be at risk for this condition:
- drinking at least 4 cups of coffee daily can lower that risk
However, 4 cups contain a pretty high dose of caffeine – which isn’t always recommended.
For example, if you have sleeping problems, drinking so much coffee won’t do you too much good. Neurological problems are also a risky condition.
Conclusion: So besides not increasing the risk for arthritis, coffee also prevents gout.
But if you want to use it for prevention, you need at least 4 cups per day – which may be dangerous sometimes.
The PROs Of Drinking Coffee In Arthritis
You may think that coffee doesn’t have any benefits – other than a nice taste.
Well, if you have a diagnosis of arthritis – there are a few extra benefits you can get from this drink.
Does it sound too good to be true? Well, this time it’s for real.
Helps Tolerating Methotrexate
That’s a very interesting fact that comes in the help of coffee.
A lot of patients with severe forms of arthritis are taking methotrexate – a drug meant to suppress the immunity.
In most cases, it’s the patients with auto-immune forms like rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
Despite its averse effects, methotrexate does help. But what can you do when those adverse effects are too hard to tolerate?
In this case, coffee is the answer.
According to a 2014 study:
- more than 50% of the patients taking methotrexate for arthritis felt better after taking caffeine
What do I mean by “felt better”? Well, according to the study:
- they had no other adverse effects when taking caffeine
- another 13% claimed they felt partially better after having coffee
As it’s a recent study, things are getting in favor of coffee now.
It seems that it’s not as bad for arthritis as people thought in the 2000s. And not only that, but it also has some relieving powers.
What’s the best remedy if you’re feeling tired in the morning? Coffee, obviously.
Well, it’s the same even if you have arthritis. In fact, there’s a different point of view:
- Fatigue and chronic weariness are very common in any form of arthritis
- That’s how this condition is
In this case, coffee can be a very good remedy – even for a while:
- It’s an energy booster
- So it can revive your nervous system in a few minutes
- Besides, it can also help you with your stiff joints
Every person with arthritis experiences morning stiffness daily – and unfortunately, you can’t do much about it.
It does go away on its own, but sometimes it can take up to an hour.
So how can coffee help in this case? As it’s an energy booster, it can decrease the time your hands need to get soft again.
Don’t expect coffee to make miracles, but it can decrease your stiffness with a few minutes – depending on what form of arthritis you have.
Therefore, if you’re regarding coffee as a pointless drink, you should definitely give it a second chance. It can really bring a boost of energy for your exhausted body.
The CONs Of Drinking Coffee In Arthritis
Obviously, not even coffee is perfect for arthritis.
In some situations, it can do more harm than good – especially if you’re not paying attention to your general health.
But if it sounds too hard to believe, here’s when coffee can be a bad choice for your arthritis.
It’s true that fatigue is a symptom of arthritis – but so is insomnia.
Can you be tired but still not be able to sleep? You definitely can, especially if you have an auto-immune form.
Everyone knows that coffee keeps you awake, so what happens when you have a chronic insomnia besides?
- You will probably not sleep for a few hours at least
Sometimes it can even be your pain that keeps you awake.
In that case, I definitely don’t recommend you to take any coffee because you are the only one who will suffer.
Besides, there are even some medicines that can lead to insomnia. Take prednisone for example, which is a very common drug in rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.
What happens if you associate it with coffee? Well, it won’t increase your pain or decrease your immunity, but it will surely keep you awake.
I usually recommend alternative treatments before prednisone or methotrexate. But it’s better to ask your doctor first, and that’s available for coffee as well. Ask his opinion about:
- the quantity you’re consuming daily
- what exactly he recommends you to do
If you really care about coffee, you don’t necessarily have to give it up.
Only make sure you’re having it in the morning or as early as possible, so that it doesn’t prevent you from sleeping at the right time.
My Final Verdict – Does Coffee Affect Arthritis?
Based on the research I have made, here is my conclusion.
Coffee doesn’t affect or worsen arthritis, and it also can’t produce arthritis itself.
Now – there’s a chance that it can increase the risk. But only if:
- you drink more than 4 cups per day
- you are overweight
- also have a family history of arthritis
But it surely won’t be because of drinking coffee alone.
So from this point of view, you don’t have to worry about it. Simply drinking coffee everyday doesn’t have anything to do with your arthritis.
As long as it doesn’t keep you awake at night, there shouldn’t be any problem. Caffeine doesn’t interact with medications, like alcohol does.
Besides, it also has a few benefits for people with arthritis. If you think it can also help you, why not give it a try? As it’s arthritis-free, I think it’s a safe choice.