Caffeine, Hot Flashes, and Fat Burning During Menopause

Episode #491 Fat burning during exercise sounds great right? Unless you’re burning in menopause hell to get it. This episode unpacks the science of pros and cons of caffeine before, during and after menopause and before your workout.

If it’s that time of year when temps are dropping, the mornings are cool and a fire sounds nice, for some of us it can also be tempting to indulge in hot drinks.

Doesn’t it sound cozy to spend an extra hour with one more mug in the morning, or meet a friend for coffee and a catch up? And isn’t it tempting to hop in that line at Starbucks while you’re waiting at the airport for the flight. (or is that just me?)

What We’ve Known:

It’s well-known that too much caffeine is not ideal for jitters or cortisol.

It’s also well-known that caffeine is an ergogenic aid. That is, it offers support for endurance in exercise and boosts fat burning during exercise.

Caffeine also has effects on focus. Just the right amount can be good.

Yet, caffeine has negative effects on women in menopause.

Especially if you suffer from hot flashes or night sweats, consider this.

Hot Flashes & Night Sweats

A 2014 study published in Menopause Journal (2015) looked at 1800 women. They found

caffeine is associated with hot flashes and night sweats post menopause. Caffeine was associated with more mental clarity or cognition pre-menopause.

As you might guess the participants weren’t asked to increase caffeine intake or take an inordinate amount of it.

One additional point of consideration, in this case they looked only at caffeine intake. Not at whether it was a hot liquid – as in a hot coffee or tea, or an iced latte or coffee. They also don’t include whether the coffees were doctored up with dairy or sugar products which could also affect your response to it.

While you’re conditioned by the time you reach menopause to turn to caffeine for support with brain fog, memory, or focus, it could also trigger hot flashes. The caffeine and hot liquids both tend to increase symptoms.

Stable Blood sugar levels tend to decrease occurrence of hot flashes. How do you stabilize your blood sugar? Reduce consumption of food and drinks that metabolize as sugar. Increase foods like avocado, and cinnamon – naturally known to support blood sugar stabilization. Last, increase your fiber intake. And of course, exercise. Strength training regularly supports blood sugar stabilization. If you’re pre-diabetic or diabetic, strength training and other forms of exercise should be a part of your health habits.

My Caffeine Fix

My go- to has become Matcha for a caffeine boost with less jitters, anxiety response. It tends to have the perfect blend of alert and calming effect due to something called L-theanine. Yet, it still has all the fat burning potential you want. 

I use Pique Tea matcha – link in bio because of it’s quadruple screening. There are tons of matcha brands on the market, not all created equal. It’s a product grown in the shade and not regulated so it’s up to you to choose. Those products that say organic are not necessarily so. If you do it every day, from the lotion you use the laundry you use for washing sheets you sleep on and clothes you wear all day, everything you do regularly matters more.

You are getting some caffeine. There’s not none. But there is less. So the boost of L-theanine for focus with a small amount of caffeine seems to be a good combination before a project, a writing session, or anything that requires full-on focus.

Another culprit of hot flashes, night sweats, and weight gain is sugar. Anything that metabolizes as sugar is not your friend. That is wine, or other alcohol, processed foods, in addition to the obvious desserts, and leftover holiday candy.  

Fat Burning Boost During Exercise?

As for fat burning effects of caffeine, a little bit in your system about 30 minutes before a workout can boost fat oxidation. That is, will spare the use of carbohydrates and increase the use of fat as fuel. Good news if you’re reducing your carbohydrate intake, mind you I didn’t say eliminate.

Though the study looked at men, and results showed it worked both in morning and afternoon workouts, it’s important as any-stage menopause female you realize the risk of late day high intensity exercise is poor sleep.

I shared the benefits of matcha before a workout 5 or 6 years ago. How’s boosting fat burning by up to 29% after interval training sound?

Bottom line:

If you’re suffering from hot flashes & night sweats, know that your caffeine consumption may be a part. You may be able to have some, just not as much.

If you are pre-menopause, struggling with focus or just have a speech to write and need to dial in, a little caffeine might help. Again though, overdoing it won’t give you more focus. You can find the balance between fat burning and hormone balance. 

Before a workout is a great time to schedule that caffeine. Both should happen in the morning anyway if you’re doing them, to keep the balance with interfering least with your sleep and boost your fat burning potential most.

Other episodes you might like:

Pregnenolone Steal

Boost Your Fat Burn By 29% 

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Matcha I love (and trust)

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25051286/

https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-020-00400-6

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2765999/

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