Ah, coffee. Coffee might be one of the most beloved smells and tastes in the world. There are few simple pleasures in life as enjoyable as cup of coffee in the morning. The best part being that coffee is one of those satisfying delights that is actually good for you.
Coffee contains over 1000 bioactive components and is considered the best source of antioxidants in most people’s diets. Coffee is:
Increased coffee consumption has been shown to improve exercise performance, fight depression, and boost cognition. Coffee has also been associated with a decreased risk for Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, depression, cognitive disorders, heart disease, cancer, liver, and metabolic conditions. A review of over 201 meta-analyses found that between three to four cups a day are associated with the largest reduction in risk for disease.
Should You Ever Avoid Coffee?
There are a few times when coffee isn’t a good idea but that’s due to the caffeine not the coffee itself. That being said, you might want to switch to decaf if you:
- Have an anxiety or nervous disorder
- Have the CYP1A2 gene, which makes you metabolize coffee slow (you’ll usually know if a cup or two makes you feel very uncomfortable or jittery)
- Are pregnant
- Use it to fight a chronic lack of sleep
On top of the effects of caffeine in coffee, there is another factor that could be lurking in your cup o’ joe and that is mycotoxins.
Is There Mold in Your Coffee?
A concern I have for coffee is the presence of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are the toxic chemical that mold produces that commonly grow in crops that have long storage processes like grains, corn, and coffee beans. They are the cause of many health conditions and symptoms. Some of the biggest mycotoxin culprits include:
- T-2 toxin – Causes neuronal death.
- Macrocyclic trichothecenes – Causes neuronal death and olfactory inflammation.
- Fumonisin B1 (FB1) – Causes neuronal degeneration in the cerebral cortex and interrupts lipid synthesis in the brain.
- Aflatoxin B1 – A powerful carcinogen.
- Ochratochin A (OTA) – Causes dopamine depletion, which causes cell death in the brain.
To read more about specific mycotoxins and their effects in the body, you can check out my article Mycotoxins and Your Brain: How Invisible Fungus Can Cause Brain Fog and More.
Those last two mycotoxins – Aflatoxin B1 and Ochratoxin A – are the most common and of particular concern when it comes to coffee.
- A study found 26 percent of coffees had mycotoxins.
- Another study found 45 percent of coffees sampled contained mycotoxins.
- This study found 33 percent of coffees sampled had Ochratoxin A.
These are all studies that took random commercially available coffees and tested them for mycotoxins. The sample sizes ranged from 30 to 60 and are not standardized so it’s a bit difficult to compare these studies directly. One study found that the roasting process reduces the presence of mycotoxins by about 50 percent, which is great news!
There are some who claim that the mycotoxins in coffee are in such low quantities, there’s no need for concern. Additionally, that 100 percent of all human blood samples will test positive for Ochratoxin A and therefore, there’s no real reason for concern. Well, nearly everyone tested positive for Epstein-Barr virus, but that doesn’t mean it’s always benign. Everyone responds differently to pathogens and their biotoxins.
In my opinion, toxin burden is THE biggest cause of declining health and accelerated aging today, so you might want to care anyway. The thing about toxin burden is it’s all about how it adds up within your body. Sure, there might be just a little mold in your coffee but add that to the 84,000 chemicals you’re exposed to each day and you’ve got a big problem. It’s up to you to decide where and how you’ll reduce your chemical burden – but one thing is for sure, we all need to work to reduce the amount of chemicals we’re exposed to.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can do this, check out my free guide: Reduce Your Daily Toxin Exposure.
All in all, we could definitely use more studies on mycotoxins in coffee – we could always use more studies. I suspect as the medical community becomes more aware of environmentally acquired illness, we will see more studies and more coffee suppliers will begin testing for mycotoxins.
Dr. Jill’s Recommended Coffee Brands
If you’re not concerned about your mycotoxin exposure or struggling with chronic health issues, the jury is still out on whether or not you should use certified mycotoxin free coffee.
If you are interested in mycotoxin free coffee, my favorites are Bulletproof and Purity Coffee. These are both brands that take mycotoxin testing seriously. Bulletproof owner, Dave Asprey was plagued with mysterious symptoms for years before he figured out it was mold exposure. And Purity Coffee took it upon themselves to test 65 different types of coffee at an independent lab to see how theirs stacked up – they did well.
Coffee is great for you – it’s packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, improves focus, exercise performance, weight loss, memory recall, and more. You just want to be sure you’re drinking the right coffee for you.