Craving coffee

The thyroid gland produces hormones that play key roles in several areas of health. These hormones help provide energy during the day to make us physically capable and mentally alert. They also provide power to the digestive system to encourage proper digestion and absorption. Thyroid hormones stimulate many cells in the body to become metabolically active and thus burn more energy. These hormones also play a crucial role in temperature regulation and physiological adaptation to the environment.

When the thyroid gland is not able to produce enough thyroid hormones deficiency symptoms will arise. These symptoms will often include mental fatigue, brain fog, poor sleep, unwanted weight gain, hair loss, and feeling cold all the time. There are several other possible symptoms but these are considered the most likely. In fact, hypothyroid symptoms are extremely common in my patient population. Most often, these people have had their thyroid tested and the results came back negative. Please refer to an article I wrote a few weeks ago entitled, “The Thyroid Test???” to learn about the weaknesses of the screen testing done for the thyroid gland.

A love of coffee is not always a sign of a problem. In my opinion, coffee smells great and tastes great. Many studies show that one cup of coffee in the morning may have several benefits for the cardiovascular system and other aspects of health. However, when people feel like they “NEED COFFEE” it raises alarm bells in my brain. Caffeine and some of the other nutrients in coffee stimulate the adrenal glands to produce stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. When these hormones are being produced in moderately high levels we tend to feel an overall rise. Part of this rise/good feeling comes from the physical, mental, and physiological stimulation from caffeine.

Caffeine does not do exactly what thyroid hormones do. It cannot completely replace the thyroid gland. However, caffeine can enhance many of the areas where thyroid hormones act. This is why I always thoroughly evaluate the thyroid gland in patients who “NEED COFFEE”. Perhaps, part of their love of coffee is coming from the fact that caffeine is making up for some of the deficiencies created by a thyroid problem.

If you “LOVE COFFEE” or “NEED COFFEE” don’t automatically assume you have a problem. However, I would recommend you have your thyroid gland thoroughly assessed to determine if there is an associated thyroid problem.


Anyone interested in more information or interested in scheduling a consultation with Dr. Barlow can contact him via email at [email protected] or call his office at 250-448-5610.

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About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call 250-448-5610.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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