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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Coffee Not as Harmless as it Seems: Dr. Harlan Sparer reveals the potentially harmful effects from this popular drink

Dec 31, 2013 02:32PM ● By Harlan Sparer, DC

Coffee is the popular drug of choice for many, legal and available in specialty shops and restaurants everywhere. Excessive consumption supposedly doesn’t affect operating a vehicle or heavy machinery, so what harm could it cause? Aside from the fact that it has zero nutritional value, coffee has three harmful effects.

It has caffeine in it, which causes the production of ACTH in the pituitary gland in the brain, causing the adrenal glands to secrete hormones that cause “fight-or-flight” responses. Repeated overproduction of adrenalin increases blood pressure, stresses the heart, affects brain, digestive and hormone function and promotes diabetes.

It is highly acidic, and even more so in its decaffeinated form. This acidity is a lower pH than the stomach, causing the stomach to drain itself of hydrochloric acid and limit nutrient absorption. It also causes the body to drain the gall bladder and liver of bile salts in an unsuccessful attempt to alkalinize the coffee. The pancreas then futilely secretes digestive enzymes, which function in a limited capacity at the wrong pH. Coffee is bad for digestion, other than for a purgative (laxative) effect.

Coffee contains an oil that is essentially insoluble by the gut. It is difficult to excrete and ends up adhering to the walls of the colon, wreaking havoc if deposited in large enough quantities. It forms an oily barrier that prevents many important colon functions.

Mild, occasional recreational consumption of coffee is harmless. Regular, daily consumption of this addictive and somewhat toxic drink can cause many problems of a chronic and insidious nature.

Because the nervous system gets used to the amount of coffee consumed, side effects like headaches, exhaustion and sleepiness can occur. Gradual easing of this addiction is smoother for the body and especially the nervous system.

Dr. Harlan Sparer is a DNFT chiropractor practicing in Tempe. He can be reached at 480-245-7894 or [email protected]. For classes, recipes and videos, visit or

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