Does coffee stunt your growth?

The caffeine in coffee may or may not have an effect on growth. So, does coffee stop your growth? Is it true that caffeine can stunt a child's growth?

Does coffee stunt your growth?
Can coffee really stunt your growth?

While there are many studies in the medical world on the effect of caffeine, most of them are on adults, who are much larger than children. 

Does coffee stunt your growth?

A study published in 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine followed a group of children and adolescents over three years and found no effect of caffeine on body mass index, a general way to measure weight-for-height. And another, more recent study, conducted by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., and published in 2015, found no significant relationship between caffeine intake and stunted growth in children and teenagers.

These studies were primarily based on spot urine tests that only measure caffeine levels a few hours after children start drinking coffee and don’t account for the caffeine content of other foods or the amount of water consumed.

Myth or fact: does coffee stunt your growth?

“Caffeine is a compound found in a wide variety of foods,” said Dr. Janice O’Donnell, an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo. “And if kids are drinking caffeinated drinks and eating foods like chocolate, energy drinks and foods like potato chips,” she continued, “it can be hard to tease out what part of the dose comes from the coffee and what comes from the other foods.”

Children’s bodies have different systems of elimination and absorption than adults. Because of this, caffeine passes through children’s bodies at a much faster rate than adults, said Dr. O’Donnell. If the coffee is the main source of caffeine, it could be having a negative effect without a measurable influence.

When we add to that the high caffeine levels found in energy drinks and other caffeinated sports and recreation drinks, it becomes even trickier to accurately trace the source of caffeine used by children.

However, Dr. O’Donnell, who has consulted for the F.D.A. and done research on caffeine’s health effects, is not convinced that caffeine from energy drinks or caffeinated drinks in general is dangerous.

“From what I see from the studies that are done, the evidence doesn’t show that caffeine has negative effects on children’s health,” Dr. O’Donnell said.

Caffeine has been a hotly debated topic. While some researchers say the World Health Organization’s recommendation that people should drink no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day may cause health problems, others say there’s still a need to keep it in moderation.

More than half of American adults say they drink coffee, according to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the results of the Food and Drug Administration’s review, which is in its early stages, could influence caffeine content guidelines in the near future.

Dr. Susan M. Heaney, the director of the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said that the review will examine scientific evidence, as well as public health and economic costs, which often include the effects of caffeine on driving. Dr. Heaney declined to speculate on potential rules that could be set.

In addition to the caffeine in energy drinks, there are a number of other ingredients in these drinks that may pose potential health risks, Dr. O’Donnell said.

“They could have ingredients that increase hyperactivity, like some of the synthetic or herbal medicines that are used,” he said. “Or, they could have ingredients that reduce activity, like antihistamines,” he said.

Because of caffeine’s addictive nature, the effects of one energy drink might influence the desire for another.

“Kids with access to caffeine in energy drinks and other caffeinated drinks will want to continue to increase their caffeine intake when they start to age,” Dr. O’Donnell said.

He cited a 2013 study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that found teenagers who drank caffeine-laden energy drinks on a daily basis were more than twice as likely to develop hyperactivity as those who did not. The study, published in Pediatrics, could not conclude definitively that caffeine was the cause, but suggested that energy drink consumption might act as a proxy for heavy caffeine consumption, something that could be harmful.

Coffee and growth hormone

Can coffee really stunt your growth? On the contrary, some people say that the caffeine can stimulate growth hormone (GH), which leads to rapid growth. But in reality is that caffeine itself is not a growth hormone. It is a compound to stimulate the hormones and is similar to adrenaline.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland. He found that caffeine does not have more rapid growth compared to a placebo. The team also studied those people who have more caffeine in his diet. They found that those who consumed more caffeine grew faster than those who consume a lower amount of caffeine. They found no significant difference between a high caffeine diet and a low caffeine diet on growth hormone.

How much coffee should you drink

The ideal consumption of coffee to promote growth should not exceed 250 mg of caffeine for a single person.

Coffee consumption according to the Mayo Clinic: It is recommended to drink no more than two cups of coffee per day. This includes 2oz (60ml) of brewed coffee. More than that is not appropriate because then begins to reduce appetite, causing you to lose weight.

Coffee and the hormones

A study was conducted in which researchers administered a dose of caffeine on rats, which has a very low effect on growth hormone compared to human beings. They found that there was an increase in the secretion of insulin. Insulin produces many health benefits and regulates metabolism. But according to the study, there was also an increased secretion of cortisol. This hormone is the stress hormone. Its main functions are:

  • When you feel emotional stress.
  • Keep the glucose in the cells.
  • Helps to maintain blood pressure
  • Keep blood sugar in stable.

It also decreases blood flow to the brain, helping the brain to be more resistant to injury and death.

Coffee and sex hormones

While your testosterone levels are not affected by the consumption of coffee, they can influence your menstrual cycle. The researchers have not been able to find an impact of coffee on the sex hormones in men. The coffee you drink affects the levels of testosterone in your body. The study also indicated that the consumption of one cup of coffee increases the testosterone levels in men. The consumption of more than two cups of coffee may also affect the levels of this hormone.

Coffee has an extraordinary amount of caffeine in it, but we should be careful to enjoy it at the correct dose. If you find yourself drinking more than what has been recommended, you have a potential problem. Studies suggest that the consumption of coffee increases the levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps us to feel at ease. 

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