Could Your Cup Of Coffee Be Wrecking Your Adrenals?
By Bekka Wiedenmeyer
Are you rolling out of bed at 8 a.m., straight to a cup of coffee to wake you up?
While we all live different lives, a common denominator among many people is that early morning cup of coffee. How else are we supposed to function on full-throttle, running errands, prepping for the “9 to 5 grind” and getting the kids ready?
In a previous post, we talked about adrenal glands and how easy it is to become fatigued. Though many of us may be feeling just fine, there’s quite a handful of people that are reaching for that third and fourth cup of coffee just because they cannot function without it.
Coffee’s biggest pull is that caffeine helps you stay awake and alert. However, every time you consume coffee, your adrenal glands produce cortisol, the main stress hormone. With consistent caffeine intake, you could be forcing your adrenal glands to overproduce the hormone, causing adrenal fatigue. Telltale signs of adrenal exhaustion are sleep trouble, brain fog, irritability, focusing or memory issues and extreme cravings for sugar or carbohydrates.
Overproducing cortisol throws off its cycle of production and the natural cortisol concentrations in the body throughout the day. These elevated levels of cortisol can even lead to weight gain, anxiety, depression, sleep issues and problems with digestion.
Most of us will reach for our first cup of coffee immediately after waking up. However, your body just so happens to produce the most cortisol in the morning, typically 20 to 30 minutes after waking up.
Give your body a breather and your cortisol levels a chance to decrease by enjoying a mid-morning cup of coffee instead.
Additionally, remember that caffeine is a stimulant and can stay in your body for hours. If you are looking to improve your sleeping patterns, consider ceasing your caffeine consumption past 2 p.m. It will give your body time to adjust to the artificial energy levels and help you sleep easier at night.
Taking breaks from caffeine or limiting your intake on a daily basis will help you see how it can impact your overall well-being, sleep and mental clarity. Instead of reaching for the coffee, go for hot water with lemon, a natural energy-booster that won’t spike your cortisol levels or try replacing coffee with more natural alternatives, such as herbal tea.
Bekka Wiedenmeyer is a freelance journalist with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Based in New York City, she is excited to share her passion for health and lifestyle with readers through MAED as she works toward her ultimate goal of discovering NYC’s most perfect latte.