can decaf coffee cause anxiety

can decaf coffee cause anxiety

Does Decaf Coffee Cause Anxiety?

Decaf coffee is a popular alternative to regular coffee, both for people seeking to reduce their caffeine intake and for those seeking to enjoy the taste of coffee without the stimulating effects of caffeine. Many people ask if decaf coffee can still cause anxiety, as some anxiety is related to stimulant compounds in caffeine-containing beverages.

How Caffeine Causes Anxiety

Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it activates certain pathways in the brain and can result in increased alertness and energy. It is evident that high doses of caffeine can cause or worsen anxiety symptoms such as:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Accelerated breathing
  • Restlessness

This is why people with anxiety should limit their caffeine intake.

Does Decaf Coffee Cause Anxiety?

Decaffeination of coffee is the process through which caffeine is removed from coffee beans, so it is naturally believed that decaf coffee does not cause anxiety. For the most part, this assumption is true. Decaf coffee still contains trace amounts of caffeine, but in general it does not contain enough caffeine to affect most people.

However, because the amount of caffeine in decaf coffee can vary slightly from one brand to another, it is important to take the amount of caffeine into consideration when drinking decaf coffee. Generally, decaf coffee has less than 12 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup, while regular coffee contains approximately 95 mg per 8-ounce cup.

Is Decaf Coffee Free of Anxiety-Related Effects?

No, decaf coffee is not free of anxiety-related effects. In addition to caffeine, decaf coffee may also contain compounds such as L-theanine and theobromine that can affect anxiety levels. L-theanine is an amino acid present in some tea and coffee plants, and it has been linked to relaxation and reduced stress. Theobromine is an alkaloid derived from cocoa, which may also produce anti-anxiety effects.


Decaf coffee does not generally contain enough caffeine to cause anxiety, however it may contain other compounds that can have mild anxiety-related effects. Therefore, it is important to consider all potential effects before drinking decaf coffee. If you have anxiety, it is best to speak with a doctor before drinking decaf coffee or any other beverage.





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