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Is it true that CAFFEINE can inhibit fusion? (m)..

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 11/29/2015 - 8:08 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was just remembering this - does anyone have a NS that told them that? I drink 2 cups of coffee inthe AM and about 2-3 diet pepsi's a day? Thanks.


  • I had a headache and my doctor's office suggested drinking coffee to hopefully help with the headache. I can't imagine that my doctor's office would have suggested that if they thought it would inhibit fusion. Now I'm confused. My doc is an ortho though. Now I have to ask my doctor. Hmmm....
    Cindy I'll be following this thread to see what others have to say. That's a really good question. Oh but I no longer drink any soda of any kind. It's kind of weird but I've lost my taste for them since my surgery.
  • I got a whole book full of does and don't and I caffeine wasn't on the list...but there were stories in the papers not to long ago about caffeine and bone loss? I don't know. I hope not. I drink like a gallon of iced tea a day.
  • One of those grey areas....

    My fusion was very slow and I read about caffine somewhere on the web.

    Not easy to find a definitive list of whether you are allowed it or not to have it.

    Perhaps cut down a bit?

    Good luck .x
  • Caffeine doesn't necessarily impede bone healing directly, but it does affect your body's ability to heal by affecting uptake and excretion of nutrients. Caffeine affects sodium, chloride and potassium levels in your body. It significantly increases calcium loss in the urine (which leads to calcium bone loss). Other "bone robbers" include salt, sugar, alcohol and red meat. Cola drinks are really bad because they contain caffeine, sugar and phosphorous, all which decreases your body's calcium levels.

    So I guess I would avoid large quantities of caffeine, because it will decrease the amount of essential nutrients needed for proper bone healing. I still drink one cup of coffee in the am, and try to drink decaf when it's available.
  • But I also take a calcium supplement. I'll ask my neuro next week. I'm hoping it doesn't cause a problem. I could go with decaf since I drink coffee because I love the taste. It has to be a full flavored one. Don't like weak stuff.
  • Cindy, this has come up here before, so you might search old threads. I remember someone had posted a link about an article about caffeine and bone loss. The one I had been concerned about was the phosphoric acid in diet pepsi. I found a lot of info saying that it can deplete your calcium and since calcium is needed for bone fusion I gave up my beloved diet pepsi for 4 months. The phosphorous is in most dark colored sodas. It is not in citrus or orange though so I have drank those. Recently I have been cheating a little and allowing myself one diet pepsi a day =P~ . I also drink some tea as well. I think it goes back to the old saying everything in moderation. >:D< Cali-Sue
  • I am also a heavy coffee drinker and it didn't affect my cervical fusion. For those worried about losing nutrients on a fusion, just put a daily vitamin with a orange and a banana in the coffee, LOL
  • Hi Cindy:

    Yes, this has been discussed before. I would think the best thing is to ask your doctor.

    I drink coffee and Diet Pepsi. I did before and after surgery. I also take a calcium supplement. I fused in 6 weeks.

    Every case is different, that is why your doctor is the best source for information.

  • Just because someone has a successful fusion while drinking coffee does not mean it serves as proof caffeine is harmless. Lol.

    First of all, caffeine in GENERAL, spine patient or not, is not good for your bones. It CAN POSSIBLY inhibit fusion, but it's not a sure thing, such as anti-inflammatory drugs. Caffeine is medically associated with the loss of bone mass and density over time. So, that being said, some doctors believe it's best for their patients to avoid caffeine as well as the anti-inflammatory drugs. It is still being studied in fusion patients, and there has not been any conclusive evidence either way.

    What I've been told is it's best, to be on the safe side, to limit caffeine intake in any form... Coffee, chocolate, etc.. If you do not feel you can eliminate it from your life for a period of time, or should you choose not to.

    Personally, I limit it. I don't drink any coffee. I still have chocolate from time to time... Which, granted, has a LOT less caffeine than a cup of coffee... A fraction, really. Anyhow, that's my personal choice on the matter. I believe that if it's a possibility, I'd rather not risk it. I'd rather not risk losing bone mass in general, actually. My coffee maker has been seriously neglected, but if I feel like I miss it too much (I haven't, but in the event I do), I plan on buying some decaf. (Even though it isn't entirely caffeine free, it has about 5mg per serving, whereas regular coffee has anywhere from 80mg to 250mg per serving.)

    I think it's just a personal choice. Varies by doctor, by patient. This is just my choice based on the information I've received via doctor and research of the facts of caffeine's effects on the human body.

    So to answer your question in a basic way; it is possible, but not proven at this point.
  • Rivertime,Thanks for the great technical information. I'm assuming that what you have described is why an older woman might have osteoporosis. I don't thinking that you were suggesting that we all give up coffee IMMEDIATELY or we will not see any signs of fusion. But let me ask. What types of foods should I add to my diet for proper bone health? I'm just not a big milk drinker and know that I need to add more calcium but what else might I add? Could I just write down all of the supplements you are currently taking. Does that seem to be sufficient?

    Lo, You said "Just because someone has a successful fusion while drinking coffee does not mean it serves as proof caffeine is harmless. I believe the reverse is also possible since in the medical community the jury is still out about what affect caffeine has on both health. Because if you read rivertime's information you will find there are many robbers of bone density including sodium so should I give up salt, red meat and sugar to? I really don't feel the need to run to my cabinet and throw out my coffee because coffee will cause me not to fuse. But if that's the right choice for you then great! Glad it works for you. I will stick with proper nutrition and add bone builders to my list and I think I could still then enjoy my coffee as well.
  • Tonya,

    I was actually taking most of those supplements before my surgery. I only added in the Citrical with Bone Density Builder post-op. The MSM and omega-3 are both good for connective tissues, and the other supplements provide a good amount of calcium, Vitamin D and other bone and tissue building nutrients. Like I said, I still have an occasional cup of coffee and I definitely haven't cut out all salt, sugar, alcohol and red meat! I think the key is moderation.

    I wouldn't be able to tell you what the perfect diet or supplements are for bone fusion. Our bodies are so complex and there's so much interaction between chemicals undergoing metabolism, that it's hard to predict the outcome of supplementation in any individual. For example, you can't absorb calcium without Vitamin D, and too much magnesium will interfere with calcium absorption (or too much calcium will result in a magnesium deficit). So we could potentially throw off our "balance of nutrients" if we over supplement the wrong things. Now we add in the affects of sugar, caffeine, salt, red meat etc. and it gets really crazy. Even the scientific community can't agree.

    I was on the Nutrisystem diet before surgery and decided to stay on it post op (once I could eat solid food again). It includes a well balanced diet of nutrisystem meals, fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy so I feel really good that I'm getting proper nutrition. Also, the nutrisystem meals are high in soy-based protein, so it helps me avoid that red meat thing. BTW, I lost 11 pounds before surgery and 3 pounds since!

    I just think eating a good, balanced diet is most important. Trying to sift through all the info available on-line can drive you nuts. There's 1,000's of opinions and studies out there about what helps and what doesn't. I'm just trying to keep it simple and use common sense. The "simple" part seemed to work when I broke my wrist several years ago. I just ate a normal balanced diet and drank "bone healing" teas with calcium, vitamin D, etc. I had my cast off and was rowing rafts with a light wrist brace in 7 weeks. Maybe I just heal fast.

    I have my 1st post-op check and rads on December 11, so I guess I'll find out then if my current regimen has helped bone growth and healing.

    BTW, as for what foods that are high in the nutrients that may help with bone healing, I just did a web search for "bone healing" and got a couple sites that had good lists of foods to eat and foods to avoid (according to the authors opinion, that is).

    Happy fusion!
  • I guess I just need to sit down with pen and paper and decide the nutrients that I receive with my regular diet and then maybe figure out what's lacking. I know it is crazy out there and everyone seems to have an opinion of what I should and should not take. Everyone but me it seems have come up with their regime but I really need to. Just so you know prior to surgery I weighed 96 lbs.(Don't be concerned I've never been more than 100 lbs unless I was pregnant and am of small stature. I also also have a very high metabolism rate evidently.) since sugery I barely weigh 90 so right now I'm focused on getting my appetite back to eating properly because we DO know that is important to our overall health. I've actually thought about the Nutri System diet because it offers a balanced diet daily and I could at least get started again on proper nutrition. I won't however attend any weight watchers meetings because I think I might get some really funny looks. :)
  • My apologies. I know we kind of got off topic. Your question sounded simple enough to answer though. But you've generated some very enlighteninng conversations.
  • Maybe you didn't notice the part where I said there is no definitive evidence on either side of the fence. Multiple times.

    Not sure how much clearer I could have made myself.

    Thanks for the attitude, though. It's been a whole 24 hours since someone has given me one.
  • I too am a "lightweight" and think my some dietary issues aren't helping my less than optimum fusion - in my case when I finish work I am in so much pain I just want to get home & lie flat & don't really care to stop to get food, or once I am home and lie down I don't feel like walking to the kitchen. I have had some weight gain from Lyrica in the past and even more know from amitryptiline, and they are both non-narcotic options for helping nerve pain you might want to consider if weight gain is a goal. I also keep strawberry Boost around, peanut butter crackers, and my new favorite is Kellogg's "protein water" in Mixed Berry - 5 gr of protein and yum!
  • previously when this came up and his answer to ME was to ignore the rumours, drink my coffee and enjoy it.
    He said he looks after the cycling team who do the 'Tour De France' and they live on coffee. If it was robbing them of necessary nutrients they wouldn't go near it.

    So I have been making my coffee and drinking it too. :))(

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • First Cali-Sue, You might be glad to know that a cup of tea is good for bone health.
    Sarah, I'm not sure they mean a gallon of tea is good for you but I'll have to check that out. Maybe you're getting more benefit than all of us! :)
    Optimist: I'm glad you like your Kellogg's Protein water. I got to be a part of the consumer panel who helped to develop that line of products. I get paid for it and have fun doing it. I LOVE their new cereal bars and my kids and I have finally found that we've found a box of bars we can all share.
    Angelback Thanks for reassuring us coffee drinkers that they are all going to be ok and can still enjoy our morning java.
    Rivertime is right. Our bodies are complex. Everything in moderation and taking care of our overall health should supercede whether or not a cup of coffee is going to keep us from fusing. Angelback thanks for that comment I was afraid some new person reading this might think coffee was completely bad for them if they read just one post so I'm glad you came along and cleared it up and Rivertime explained to us all how common sense should work. Sometimes common sense can just go right out the window when we are focused on something as serious as fusion.
    Thanks again to you guys!
  • I think the everything in moderation rule coming out here!

    If you are eating a good, wholesome and balanced diet then no need to go mad in any particular area, surely.

    We each know where our diets are naughty and where common sense prevails.

    Back to the caffine - I was told
    "Your doctors will tell you very clearly what you are NOT allowed to do" but since you raised the question ask them, settled your mind.

    Another idea came out here and that was something to do with fizzy drinks. I can't remember exacttly what it was but that was another query arealike the coffee. I never found a definitive answer so applied common sense!
  • Hi again Tonya:

    I was also going to say "everything in moderation". Some caffeine is probably OK, a lot is probably not, in my opinion.

    Another point I was going to make is that older women should be getting bone density testing done every 2 years. I just had one and it came back normal.

    I mentioned earlier that I take Caltrate calcium supplements. I also am on the small side, 110 pounds. I do consume some caffeine AND I fused in 6 weeks. You can take what you will from these facts. FYI, I am 58 years old.

  • I don't think a gallon a day is good for me either. Now that cold weather is here..I'll switch over to hot tea and that at least comes decaffeinated. I did buy a good calcium supplement while I was out today. I take a one a day vitamin but checked the percentages today and seen that it was only 20% of the RDA. This post made me more aware of the need for calcium..not just as I fuse but for overall bone health. Thanks CindyLou >:D<
  • You know we women are all going to experience some bone loss with age. My mother has been diagnosed with osteoporosis at the age of 60. It probably started happening much sooner than that. When did you have your first bone density test? At what age? So today I just decided was the first day of the rest of my bone life and I stood in front of all of the calcium supplements and looked and read and then looked and read some more. I finally decided on Viactiv V. It has add Vitamins D and K. But THIS was the deciding factor for me. One it's not a pill and I really didn't want to swallow yet one more pill every day. It's chewable and best of all it tastes like chocolate! Now how could a woman refuse that?! It suggests chewing up to 3 per day with meals so I'm assuming that our bodies require 1500 MG of calcium per day. But I also bought Ensure for those times at work when I would love to sit down to a meal and just haven't been able to find the time to get to lunch or if I missed breakfast I can drink it on my way to the office. I'm also hoping that it brings back my appetite. Now I just have to go read how much calcium is in Ensure. So I'm overloading on calcium or vitamins D or K. But I'm keeping my coffee and taking my calcium. And as I sit here and chew I can attest that they are pretty tasty too.
  • Getting calcium from a natural source.
    Blackstrap molasses
    Brewer’s yeast
    Dairy foods
    Dandelion greens
    Green leafy vegetables
    Milk (cow & goat)
    Mustard greens
    Salmon (with bones)
    Sesame seeds
    Turnip greens
  • Now I have to go write all of this down and add items to my grocery list. :) My goodness now I have even more homework!
  • Let me know a good recipe for dandelion greens. I've heard of people adding them to like salads.
  • I've seen them use dandelions for wine as well, but not quite sure how that equates when it comes to calcium. =))
  • So if I just drop it in the glass of wine will that work? :)
  • I already put asparagus in my bloody marys. I guess I'll be totally set if I add broccoli and dandelions, too I LOVE all the great advice on this board! :D
  • =))
    I know we sometimes get way off topic but we have to just laugh or we'd all be in tears. :)))
    So can we now conclude this topic with these things in mind?
    1.) Coffee in moderation won't keep us from fusing but smoking definitely could.
    2.) A gallon of tea a day may not be good for us either but obviously won't kill us because Sarah still posts here daily.
    3.) We all need to eat a balanced diet
    4.) C's grocery list may be a little hard for me to find at Food Lion.
    5.) We could probably just mix our veggies in with alcohol and become much happier people even if we don't get all of our recommended daily allowance of nutrients from asparagus added to a bloody marys.
    6.) The best way to consume dandelions is dropped into a glass of wine?
    Please correct me if I missed anything.
    Cindy thank you for starting this there's been some great information exchanged and I think we've all smiled at least for a moment today.
  • I think they only invented dandelion wine because the thought of so many weeds in the backyard is overwhelming! But if you can make wine with them it's a good thing to have all those weeds. =)) <:P
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • So you're telling me there is an actual dandelion wine? Oh. I thought I had to put them in my wine. Thanks for straightening me out. :D
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