Does Coffee Have Toxins?
Clean coffee has people buzzing.
Recently, experts and brands have taken to social media to discuss the prevalence of toxins in traditional coffee. Now, the TikTok hashtag #cleancoffee has 5.5 million views, as more consumers are paying attention and new brands are popping up that claim to be free of harmful ingredients.
“Toxins that may be present in coffee are mycotoxins and pesticide residues,” said registered dietician Erika Barrera. The former are toxins created by fungi or mold, she explained, while pesticides are used to help avoid diseases of the coffee plants and for pest control. “Pesticide residue may be found in ground or whole bean coffee,” she said.
High exposure to mycotoxins have been shown to lead to cancer and harm overall immune function, according to the World Health Organization.
Several studies show that low levels of mycotoxins are found in more than 50 percent of coffees on the market, though these aren’t proven to be harmful. According to Barrera, these toxins are only considered toxic when present in a certain amount, which brands must test for ahead of distribution per the FDA.
She also added: “Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from oxidative stress and other damage from these toxins.”
Still, many brands are garnering attention now for their clean mission, including Four Sigmatic and Bulletproof.
Bulletproof, the brainchild of the “father of biohacking” Dave Asprey, offers supplements, creamers, and of course, clean coffees, ranging from $15 to $90.
While coffee brands have to test for contamination to a certain level, Bulletproof takes it a step further by following the more rigorous European Union guidelines, testing for mycotoxins and heavy metals and third party testing for additional impurities.
Similarly, Four Sigmatic employs third-party testing for each ingredient and final products for molds, yeasts, mycotoxins, heavy metals, microbial quality, aflatoxins and pesticides.
In addition, Four Sigmatic adds functional mushrooms to its blends to provide added benefits like mental focus and energy or mood and immunity.
“Ingredients like lion’s mane, chaga, reishi, cordyceps and turkey tail are naturally anti-fungal, meaning they further help reduce the presence of molds or “bad fungi” in the body,” said registered herbalist and national educator at Four Sigmatic Danielle Ryan Broida.
When looking for a safe coffee brand, Barrera recommends finding single origin brands or ones that employ beans grown in altitudes above 4,000 feet, as those regions are less humid and less prone to fungi and mold growth.
“Since it can be difficult to determine whether a specific brand has mycotoxins or not, it’s more important to consume coffee at moderated amounts to avoid high exposure, to store your coffee properly in airtight containers and in a dark, cool place in your kitchen to avoid potential mold growth, and to inspect your coffee grounds and beans on a routine basis, especially if you do not use the grounds daily,” she added.
Does Coffee Have Toxins?