Caffeine & Adrenal Fatigue - Effects of Caffeine
on the Adrenal Glands
caffeine cause adrenal insufficiency? First of all, let's discuss
the benefits of coffee for the body. Coffee has been shown to decrease
the risk of Type II diabetes mellitus, Parkinson's disease, dementia,
certain cancers, heart rhythm problems and strokes. Coffee has many
beneficial antioxidant properties when consumed in moderation. Caffeine
has also shown to enhance physical performance as well as concentration.
Many claim that it decreases pain perception during exercise as
The Adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys and are an
integral part of the endocrine system. They are responsible for
producing major hormones such as Cortisol (released in response
to stress) and adrenaline (fight or flight response). When the adrenal
glands become impaired or weak, a person may exhibit signs of low
blood glucose, low blood pressure and exhaustion. The adrenals are
considered to be a bank for stored inherited energy to be used when
needed. Yet when excessive amounts are overdrawn, one ends up with
a negative energy balance, and exhaustion ensues.
people do not realize that their first cup of coffee in the morning
starts their rollercoaster of energy ups and downs throughout the
day. Once the first cup is consumed, minutes later the caffeine
initiates uncontrolled neuron firing in the brain. This overactive
neuron activity triggers the pituitary gland to produce a hormone
that travels to and communicates with the adrenal glands to release
adrenaline, the fight-or-flight response hormone. This is the "high"
that caffeine gives a person. But once this "high" wears
off, one starts to feel tired and sluggish so they pour themselves
another cup or coffee or grab a soda for some more caffeine to start
the process over. The more caffeine one consumes, the more the adrenals
pump out adrenaline and deplete their supply. So the person consumes
larger doses of caffeine to obtain their "high" thereby
depleting their adrenaline stores farther. Soon the adrenals are
completely depleted that the person no longer responds to caffeine.
This is the point where one will experience withdrawal symptoms
should they decide to abruptly stop their caffeine consumption.
Other negative effects of caffeine on the body include indigestion
due to the amount of acid in coffee and the stomach secreting more
acid where the body likes a more alkaline environment. Coffee can
inhibit the absorption of many nutrients and even cause excretion
of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and other trace elements
that are important for women which lead to the increased risk of
osteoporosis. Caffeine should be avoided in pregnancy because it
crosses the placenta and studies show higher incidence of infertility,
miscarriage and low-birth weight when caffeine is consumed during
pregnancy. Caffeine tends to aggravate PMS and fibrocystic breast
diseases along with hot flashes and hormonal fluctuations in menopausal
women. It is also a natural diuretic which is an irritant to the
bladder and to men with enlarged prostates.
So, do the benefits outweigh the risks of caffeine? Is a cup of
coffee a day actually good for us? Unfortunately, there is research
to support both sides. Regardless, caffeine is a drug, plain and
simple. It has some significant side effects and mild benefits.
One should decide what is more important to them, that needed "high"
right away or their health down the road. Hopefully, the information
provided will help you decide what is best for your health.
By Stephanie Harter