UAE: How to avoid caffeine withdrawal before and during Ramadan

Abrupt cessation during fasting can lead to anxiety, headaches, reduced concentration, and sleepiness


Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File

Published: Sat 9 Mar 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 10 Mar 2024, 7:44 PM

Doctors advise residents, particularly coffee lovers, to gradually reduce their caffeine consumption to mitigate the potential adverse effects of caffeine withdrawal during fasting.

Dr. Syed Sakib Nazir, lead interventional cardiologist at Fakeeh University Hospital, Dubai Silicon Oasis, highlights the importance of pre-emptively addressing caffeine dependency.

He stresses that abrupt cessation of caffeine intake during fasting can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, headaches, reduced concentration, and sleepiness.

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"Mild dependency on caffeine can develop with regular consumption of 2-4 cups of brewed coffee, equivalent to approximately 350mg. However, significant dependency arises when consumption exceeds 700mg," explains Dr. Nazir.

Dr. Syed Sakib Nazir. Photo: Supplied
Dr. Syed Sakib Nazir. Photo: Supplied

To manage caffeine withdrawal symptoms during Ramadan, individuals are advised to gradually reduce their intake of caffeinated drinks and incorporate alternatives such as decaffeinated coffee and herbal tea.

Increasing water and non-caffeinated drink consumption, along with regular exercise with healthy food and adequate sleep, can aid in combating withdrawal effects.

Drinking coffee during Ramadan

But if you really want to take coffee during Ramadan then limit it to two cups and take it at least two hours after iftar and two hours before suhoor.

Lubna Al Sheryani, who consume tea daily, shows that everyone has different habits during Ramadan. She said: "I didn't reduce drinking tea because I can't, I have to drink it daily because of work. It gives me a headache in the first days of Ramadan, but then I feel my body gets used to it and I drink it after iftar."

Furthermore, Dr. Sarah Alam, specialist endocrinologist at Canadian Specialist Hospital Dubai, underscores the importance of limiting coffee, tea, and carbonated beverage consumption during Ramadan.

Dr. Sarah Alam. Photo: Supplied
Dr. Sarah Alam. Photo: Supplied

Staying hydrated

She warns against the diuretic effects of caffeine, which can exacerbate dehydration, and advises incorporating hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables into meals.

"Staying hydrated during fasting is crucial, and individuals should prioritise drinking water between iftar (breaking the fast) and suhoor (pre-dawn meal)" emphasises Dr. Alam.

Sharing her own experience, Khadija Abdullah added: "Last Ramadan, I suffered from insomnia and bad mood. It was difficult for me but I took the advice of a doctor who recommended drinking plenty of water during Ramadan and setting a specific time for coffee intake to avoid dehydration.”

For individuals with diabetes

Dr. Alam recommends scheduling a pre-Ramadan check-up with an endocrinologist to ensure proper management of medications during fasting.

By proactively managing caffeine intake and prioritizing hydration and balanced nutrition, individuals can navigate the challenges of Ramadan fasting while safeguarding their health and well-being.


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