It appears that your browser does not support JavaScript

Can Coffee Help Asthma?

Can Coffee Help Asthma?


Coffee CAN help asthma by producing a small improvement in airway and lung function for a few hours .

More Info:

How Coffee Helps Asthma

Caffeine, such as that found in coffee can produce a small improvement in airway and lung function for up to four hours following consumption.  Caffeine is very similar to the drug theophylline, which is used in bronchodilators to relieve the symptoms of asthma by opening the airways and lungs.  [1]

Caffeine Effective for Preventing Exercise Induced Asthma

Caffeine may also be beneficial to athletes suffering from asthma.  Researchers from the University of Utah Exercise and Sports Science discovered that 6-9 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of caffeine consumed prior to exercise provides significant protection against exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). [2]

So how many cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages would an athlete need to consume to gain the benefit?  A person weighing 150lb/68kg would require 408-612mg of caffeine.  This means that an athlete would have to drink four to six 10oz cups of coffee just prior to exercising.  The same athlete would require 13-20 Coca colas to ingest that much caffeine. [3]

Though these numbers seem hard to attain, caffeine in doses as low as 3 milligrams provided improvement in (EIB) symptoms including wheezing and coughing.  The study suggests that the negative effects of daily use of short-acting beta (2) agonists could possibly be reduced by increasing caffeine consumption prior to exercise.  [4]

Bronchodilators Have Side Effect

Bronchodilators are either short acting, used for quick relief, or long-acting, used daily to manage asthma symptoms. Common side effects include nervousness, heart palpitations, upset stomach, difficulty sleeping, and muscle cramps. [5]

However, caffeine is not without its own side effects.

How Does Caffeine Affect the Body?

Caffeine affects the body by increasing alertness, reducing fatigue, and inducing better focus and concentration. Most people tolerate 2 to 4 cups daily without detrimental side effects, but heavier consumption can produce nervousness, irritability, rapid pulse, and insomnia. Certain individuals are especially sensitive to caffeine and may experience restlessness and sleep difficulties, even with small amounts. These effects will more likely arise in people who seldom consume caffeine. Men appear to be more sensitive to caffeine than women as well as those on medication and seniors. Type 2 diabetics may experience a slight increase in glucose readings.     [6]

What Are the Side Effects of Caffeine?

Side effects of caffeine include nausea, irritability, nervousness, dizziness, anxiety, insomnia and headaches. Allergic reactions to caffeine include rash, itching, hives, swelling in the mouth, lips or face, trouble sleeping and vomiting. Severe reactions to caffeine include diarrhea, tightness in the chest, irregular heartbeat, numbness in the hands or feet, hallucinations, weak pulse, changes in mood, elevation of blood pressure, dehydration, muscle pain, seizure, ringing in the ears, tremors, heartburn and tingling in the hands and/or feet. [7]

Caffeine Is not a Cure Yet

The use of caffeine as a treatment option for asthma requires further study. The findings thus far are important as they do indicate that caffeine consumption is likely to skew lung function test results and should therefore be prohibited prior to any testing.


Resources: 4/3/2013

[1] PubMed Health
The Effect of Caffeine in People with Asthma

[2][4] International Journal of Sports Medicine, VanHaitsma, TA
Comparative effects of caffeine and albuterol on the bronchoconstrictor response to exercise in asthmatic athletes.
2010, Volume: 31, No: 4, pages:231-236

[3] Mayo Clinic
Caffeine Content for Coffee, Tea, Soda, and More

[5] WebMD
Bronchodilators and Asthma

Start building your bibliography now!

Any citations you add to your bibliography will appear here! If you need, you can edit or delete any of your citations.

[6] Mayo Clinic
Caffeine — You may like caffeine’s effects, but how much is too much

Caffeine Side Effects

Glossary of Terms

Beta Antagonists: medications that mainly affect the muscles around the airways. They work by telling the muscles of the airways to relax, widening the airways.
American Thoracic Society

Bronchoconstriction: narrowing of air passages of the lungs from smooth muscle contraction, as in asthma.
Dorland’s Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers

Bronchodilator: an agent which causes dilatation of the bronchi.
Dorland’s Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers

Theophylline: used to prevent and treat wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness caused by asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung diseases. It relaxes and opens air passages in the lungs, making it easier to breathe.
Medline Plus

Expert Opinion

“It is not known if taking caffeine leads to improvements in symptoms. It may be that in order to improve the symptoms of asthma, caffeine is needed in such large amounts that the drug’s adverse effects would become a problem, so more research is needed.”

The Effect of Caffeine on People with Asthma  PubMed Health

Copyright 2009-2018

Sophisticated Media LLC

Terms of Service l Privacy Policy

Contact Us