Kaffeeunverträglichkeit: Symptome & Ursachen

Coffee intolerance: symptoms & causes

How much caffeine a day is healthy? Reading Coffee intolerance: symptoms & causes 4 minutes

For most people, enjoying a cup of fragrant coffee means true pleasure - after all, the aromatic pick-me-up is not just a drink, but real relaxation!

Regardless of whether it's straight after getting up, in the office or with a piece of cake in the afternoon - coffee represents a little break that you can (almost) always treat yourself to. Unfortunately, not everyone feels that way - because there are also people who can't tolerate many people's favorite drink.

What exactly is coffee intolerance – and what exactly is behind it? We’ll tell you in our article!

What is coffee intolerance?

It's best to start with the definition of the term: There are two different types of intolerance. On the one hand, there is the actual intolerance of the beans and their ingredients (e.g. tannins, acids and oils) - and on the other hand Caffeine intolerance , which affects caffeine in all its forms (including cola, dark chocolate or tea).

Caffeine is known to be toxic in high doses. However, it is unlikely that anyone will get sick due to the normal amount of caffeine in coffee. Most people who suffer from coffee intolerance suffer from hypersensitivity to certain substances in coffee.

Such hypersensitivity is not an allergy in the classic sense, and so-called coffee allergies or caffeine allergies are not typical, but are possible in rare cases. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor if you suspect you have such a condition - especially if you want to continue consuming coffee (or other products containing caffeine).

We explain in detail in the following sections whether continued coffee consumption is even possible in the event of an intolerance.

Causes of coffee intolerance

To get straight to the point: Coffee intolerance not only has many faces, but also various possible reasons. One of the most common causes is sensitization to histamine - an enzyme that is found in a variety of different foods, such as sausages and cheeses, but also in canned vegetables (such as beans), fermented products (such as sauerkraut) and certain fruits (such as strawberries). is.

Coffee can also play a role here, but please avoid jumping to conclusions - because before you demonize the bean drink as a histamine bomb, you should know that it is classified as relatively low in histamine.

Coffee and histamine – a difficult relationship

The real problem is that coffee increases the effects of so-called biogenic amines. These are broken down via the same metabolic pathway as histamine and cause a traffic jam there.

Finally, the DAO enzyme, which is responsible for breaking down histamine, is blocked by consuming coffee. Just as disadvantageous for coffee lovers with histamine intolerance is the fact that the pick-me-up is considered a histamine liberator and releases the body's own histamine in the cells, which also often leads to symptoms.

Incidentally, histamine symptoms triggered in this way can occur up to 72 hours after drinking coffee - which surprises many sufferers. Or would you have thought that the delicious latte macchiato would still cause a stomach ache three days later?

Other reasons for coffee intolerance

But histamine intolerance is not always the cause of the problem - sometimes it is seemingly harmless things that can cause trouble in the coffee paradise:

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Marcel Lorenz • August 22, 2023

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