Can coffee make you sick?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “can coffee make you sick?”, and other queries related to this topic.

Can coffee make you sick? 

Yes, coffee can make you sick, especially in the morning and when ingesting a lot of caffeine. Generally, coffee is beneficial for health and has several positive impacts such as reducing your risk of having type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and many others. 

So, drinking a huge quantity of coffee might make you nauseous. However, ingesting three to four cups of coffee a day will not make you nauseous, but drinking more than four cups and up to ten cups will sure make you feel discomfort and other side effects.

Why do I feel sick after drinking coffee?

The main reason why you feel sick after drinking coffee is its acidity. Coffee is an acidic beverage. When ingested on an empty stomach, in the morning, coffee stimulates gastric movement, leading to a laxative effect. Also, it stimulates the secretion of hydrochloric acid.

Once secreted, this acid will increase the absorption of caffeine into the bloodstream, leading to nausea. Moreover, coffee relaxes the gastroesophageal sphincter. When this sphincter is relaxed and not working properly, acidity from the stomach will get up to your esophagus.

This sphincter relaxation will lead to nausea, and heartburn caused by the acid reflux. Additionally, several people skip their breakfast and substitute it with a cup of coffee. So, drinking coffee on an empty stomach is another reason why coffee makes you nauseous. 

The reason behind how food reduces your sickness feeling is that when eating before drinking coffee, food will reduce your body’s ability to absorb the caffeine rapidly. So, caffeine will not increase, as a result, in your bloodstream at the same rate as in the absence of food. 

Also, gastric acidity will not increase to the same level as when drinking on an empty stomach. However, in the absence of food, the caffeine will be absorbed quicker leading to many side effects and drawbacks.

Along with being a laxative, coffee and especially caffeine has diuretic effects, which lead to water loss from the body throughout the urine. So, excessive coffee intake will lead to dehydration. Thus, this dehydration will make you feel nauseous and sick.

Furthermore, drinking coffee early in the morning might not be very effective in waking you up. Because in the morning and in order to feel energetic and to wake up, cortisol levels will increase and reach a peak and maximum level which makes you awake.

Hence, drinking coffee directly after waking up will prevent cortisol from increasing in your body, thus cortisol levels will drop and you will feel more tired, sleepy, and lethargic. Additionally, some people might be already sensitive to caffeine and this is the reason behind their sickness.

Moreover, most people enjoy their coffee with creamers, milk, and sweeteners. So, regarding the creamer and its effects on health, in most cases creamers contain high fructose corn syrup which can lead to nausea for some people.

In addition, some people have lactose intolerance so adding dairy milk to their coffee might worsen their situation. Also, artificial sweeteners, generally, irritate your stomach because it affects your gut microbiota.

Finally, and far from coffee and its effect, being on certain medications such as antibacterial drugs, antidepressants, and asthma drugs can lead to nausea.

How to avoid feeling sick from coffee?

To avoid feeling sick from coffee, first, take your breakfast and do not drink coffee on an empty stomach. Additionally, do not drink your coffee directly after waking up. Give yourself several hours between waking up and drinking coffee. 

Moreover, since coffee is a diuretic make sure to stay hydrated and drink enough water throughout the day. Also, if you feel that dairy milk is making you sick and nauseous, switch to plant-based or lactose-free milk. Because most probably you might have lactose intolerance.

Furthermore, if you are a coffee drinker try to reduce your intake progressively during the day. In addition, if you are sensitive to caffeine try decaffeinated coffee or dark to medium roasted coffee. Since these types of coffee are less acidic compared to lighter roasts.

Additionally, it is recommended to take your coffee in the afternoon to boost your energy and avoid being tired and lethargic. Because cortisol levels will start to decrease during the day, you will not risk suppressing cortisol secretion if drinking in the early morning.

Besides, avoid adding artificial sweeteners to your coffee if you have noticed that these ingredients are the ones behind your nausea and sickness.


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “can coffee make you sick?”, and other queries related to this topic.