Does Coffee Cause Adrenal Fatigue?

caffeine-adrenal-glandsFor many of you having a cup of coffee in the morning can give you a lift in energy. But for people with adrenal fatigue, drinking coffee regularly may aggravate state of illness since caffeine can over-stimulate the adrenal glands. In addition, it causes anxiety and stress too. In this case, foods and drinks high in caffeine, including energy drinks, sodas, coffees, and teas, are not good stimulants for a temporary pick-up if you are experiencing health problems resulting from too much circulating cortisol, ‘the stress hormone’. Otherwise, that only makes things worse since caffeine can set off a stress response. So, if possible please avoid coffee completely if you wish a speedy recovery from the illness.

In The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, the book published by Dr. James Wilson, the phrase Adrenal Fatigue was first introduced to name a collection of signs and symptoms due to low adrenal function. This is a condition often considered related to excessive stress. It occurs when the ability of the adrenal glands decreases to below the necessary level. As a result, they fail to carry out their normal functions. The main symptom of adrenal burnout is constant fatigue unrelieved by even plenty of rest and sleep. Other symptoms also include hormone imbalances, cravings for salty or sugary food, weight gain, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, and so on.

As a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, caffeine is naturally found in foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, hot chocolate, yerba mate, cola, and the like. One study found that a cup of regular coffee contained about 85 mg of caffeine while a cup of decaffeinated coffee contained about 10 mg of caffeine. Although it works by stimulating the brain, it also indirectly stimulates the adrenal glands. Of course, this is a complicated process.

So, the question is: what is the caffeine effect on adrenal fatigue? In fact, the consumption of coffee can activate your body’s fight-or-flight response. However, this is not what the adrenaline released is actually aiming for. That’s to say, the releasing adrenaline responses to your coffee consumption instead of the true factor that disturbs homeostasis and produces stress. If you drink coffee every day, over time your adrenal glands will end up with burn out due to overuse.

If you’re a serious coffee drinker who suffers from adrenal insufficiency, you are very likely to take more time to recover from it. This is because caffeine hinders this progress. So, it is highly recommended to avoid coffee, or at least keep the consumption to a minimum to speed up the recovery.

What should be pointed out, however, is that not all caffeine containing foods and drinks should be avoided. For example, green tea is good for patients with adrenal fatigue because it is naturally low in caffeine levels and rich in theanine. In other words, low caffeine tea barely stimulates adrenal glands. However, your best bet, of course, is caffeine-free foods and drinks in this case. If you love tea, you can reduce the regular tea consumption by replacing with herbal teas like chamomile, nettle, or peppermint.

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