logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Coffee Blocks Synthroid Absorption

To get maximum absorption of Synthroid, don't take it when you are drinking your morning coffee.
Synthroid 50 mcg

Q. Can I drink coffee after taking Synthroid?

A. Synthroid (levothyroxine) is absorbed best when it is taken on an empty stomach. Patients are often advised to take it first thing in the morning, but drinking coffee or eating breakfast even 15 minutes after taking the pill can greatly reduce the amount of thyroid hormone that gets into the bloodstream (European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 2014; vol. 18, pp. 451-456).

Absorption Problems

Synthroid and other levothyroxine tablets are not absorbed well by people taking the acid-suppressing drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, rabeprazole, etc.). It seems that gastric acid is necessary to help the pill dissolve in the stomach. A liquid formulation appears to have less disruption from these drugs (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, online Sept. 26, 2014).

Grapefruit, soybeans, papaya and dietary fiber can also reduce levothyroxine absorption. The usual advice is to wait at least an hour after taking Synthroid before having your coffee or a meal.

Take at Bedtime

Some people find that taking the medicine at bedtime, at least two hours after supper, solves the problem (Archives of Internal Medicine, Dec. 13, 2010).

Rate this article
star-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-empty
3.8- 56 ratings
About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing
10
comments (20 total)
Comments
Add your comment

If some thyroid medicine is affected by coffee and if it is because of the caffeine why not prohibit tea, soda, chocolate and so on? Also if you have to wait approximately 4 hrs. to consume vitamins and minerals especially Calcium and Iron what is the amount of Calcium and Iron you can’t consume? Just about everything contains Calcium and Iron i.e. bread, crackers, etc. even eggs. Are you suppose to fast for that period of time?

I, too take Armour Thyroid and wonder about it?

I’ve read that walnuts and alcohol can prevent proper absorption of Synthroid. Although my mother’s blood tests come back within a normal level, I wonder if her walnuts & a glass of wine with her dinner can still prevent some absorption of Synthroid.

Of course not everyone needs to get up at night to use the bathroom, but…… Just in case you do, I find that is the most convenient time to take my Synthroid. Stomach empty and likely to stay that way for several more hours.

I started taking Armour Thyroid (natural) a year or so ago, and I don’t think coffee affects the absorption. Annual blood tests show I am on the right dosage for positive results.

Is this also true for natural thyroid products like Armour?
I’m in the habit of taking my Armour thyroid with meals, and the doctor has set the dose to keep my blood levels where they need to be.

I started taking my thyroid medication just before bedtime about 3 months ago. It has made a difference for me. It is easier for me to wake up in the morning and I feel like I have more energy during the daytime.

I take mine around 4:00am, when I get up anyway to use the bathroom. I usually don’t get up until 8:00am or later. This works very well for me.

After reading a letter in your column recently about taking levothyroxine in the evening at bedtime being a solution to that morning sluggishness when taking before breakfast, I tried it and really love this. My doctor had always said to take it an hour before breakfast.

When I took the clipping from the newspaper of your column, he said try it but that he recommended at least 3-4 hours after dinner of no food or beverage other than water (a little lemon in water ok). He said it takes 3 hours to digest a starchy carbohydrate and 4 hours for meat, 1 hour for bananas and 30-45 min for berries. So, he said no snacks after dinner since anything (even berries) would be sitting on top of what I had for dinner. This proved a side benefit as it took away that snacking temptation after dinner so I could take my thyroil medicine! I actually have lost a few pounds by switching to evening! Now I don’t have to wait an hour for breakfast anymore! And it encourages me to eat dinner early (which experts agree is better for weight loss) so I can get to bed on time.

Since caffeine effects synthroid, does caffeine also effect armour thyroid?

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^