Caffeine – Sex Booster or Cause of Infertility?
Four out of five Americans and two out of five Australians start the day with a coffee.
It’s almost certainly not the same brew –“the best coffee in the world” – consumed by Jack Nicholson’s character in the 2007 movie The Bucket List.
That was a rare blend known as Kopi Luwak, civet coffee – where the beans have passed through the digestive tracts of civet cats, and are gathered when the seeds, still coated in some cherry mucilage, are eliminated in the cat’s “poop”. Great!
But whether you take your daily caffeine fix in Kopi Luwak or Starbucks, in cola, chocolate or black tea – there’s truckloads of conflicting evidence about whether caffeine is good for your health and love life, whether it boosts sexual desire or causes infertility.
Good and Bad News About Caffeine
Good: A new study shows caffeine gets females in the mood for sex. With a few provisos – if you’re a female rat who hasn’t previously experienced a caffeine “lift” – it had them coming back for more – sex that is not coffee.
Researcher Fay Guarraci, an assistant professor of psychology at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, is cautious about whether it would boost women’s sex lives in the same way.
“We gave only one dose of caffeine to animals who had never had caffeine before.
“Most of the time, women drink coffee on a daily basis or ingest caffeine in cola beverages,” she observes. “In humans, it might enhance the sexual experience only among people who are not habitual users.”
Bad: More than four cups of coffee a day increases infertility in women who are already subfertile, according to a new European study. For many women though, it probably won’t make any difference.
One study done in 2003 showed women who consumed less than 300 mg of caffeine a day (appx 2-3 cups of coffee) a day did not experience reduced fertility.
Yet another study of over 1000 women found the risk of not conceiving to go up with each additional cup of coffee, where even one cup reduced a woman’s ability to conceive.
The results are mixed for men as well. One study showed that sperm count, motility and abnormalities increased with the number of cups of coffee drank in a day – while another Brazilian study showed increased motility for mild to heavy coffee drinkers.
Good: Coffee drinkers had a significantly reduced risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and gallstones.
- A recent Harvard study of over 126,000 people conducted over 18 years found that compared to non-coffee drinkers, drinking 1-3 cups of coffee a day will reduce the risk of diabetes by single digits, but drinking 6 or more cups a day reduced that risk by 30% in women and 54% in men.
- At least six studies have shown coffee drinkers are significantly less likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease (at least three studies showed that the more coffee you drank, the lower your risk).
- Coffee drinking reduces the risk of cirrhosis of the liver by up to 80%, and cuts the risk of gall stones in half.
Bad: Random Coffee Fact: People who buy coffee primarily at drive through windows on their way to work will spend as much as 45 hours a year waiting in line.
Good: Caffeine aids weight loss
Caffeine speeds your body’s metabolism so you burn calories at a faster rate, and it breaks down fat. Fat conversion is up to 30% more efficient when you consume caffeine before you exercise. It also keeps blood sugar levels higher, reducing appetite.
“A Little Bad, A Lot of Good”
Concludes Dr. Tomas DePaulis at Vanderbilt University Institute for Coffee Studies: “Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more helpful than harmful.” Drinking coffee, he says, brings little bad, but a lot of good.