Can’t get started in the morning without that cup of coffee? Do you need more around 2 to 4 pm? Do you crave caffeine?
If so, there is a good chance the chronic use of caffeine is making your adrenal fatigue worse. Chances are, you’re using caffeine because your adrenals are already in “burnout” and looking for energy. However, caffeine only allows you to feel better temporarily while continuing to deplete your adrenals.
Caffeine causes cells in your brain and body to fire faster, increasing activity of your stress response system (known as “fight or flight”). Caffeine simulates your adrenal glands to increase the release of cortisol (we’ve talked about this hormone in previous posts).
Once your adrenals are provoked to release cortisol by over-consuming caffeine, a decreased resistence to stress will occur. These high levels of cortisol in your body will break down healthy bond and muscle, slow down cellular healing, and interferes with digestion, can slow metabolism (aka makes you retain body fat) and decreases mental function.
Abusing caffeine puts your nervous and hormonal systems into a constant state of “fight or flight” stress response, depleting energy reserves. So, you’re dead tired and all you want is a boost of energy, however that cup of coffee you’re drinking is ultimately making you even more tired. Pushing your adrenal glands to these extremes will lead to fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain. All of which, stress you out even more!
Your liver will also release more glucose from increased caffeine use. This freed-up glucose will give you a quick sugar high, followed by a sugar crash. As a result, you’ll crave more caffeine or sugar in the form of simple carbohydrates (junk food), which further taxes the adrenals.
Personally, I went “cold turkey” with my coffee intake. It was absolutely horrible for about 3 or 4 days. My energy actually dropped further. However, after that minor detox, I definitely noticed better sleep and overall higher energy levels, especially mid day.
If you can’t go cold turkey, at least cut your consumption of caffeine in half starting right now!