Caffeine and adrenaline

coffee

Yum, coffee tastes good!

I am a regular coffee drinker. At work I usually have one cup in the morning. The days I work from home and weekends I usually have two cups.

A couple of weeks ago I was really tired at work and upped my coffee intake to two cups.

By Wednesday of that week I had a raging headache, which continued for the next three days.

That Saturday morning I skipped the indoor cycling class I planned on taking because a throbbing head while riding just doesn’t work for me.

Pretty much as soon as I had my first cup of coffee my headache was gone.

It was suggested to me recently that there is a  relationship between coffee (caffeine) and our adrenals. From what I understand about exhaustion and adrenal fatigue this makes sense to me. So I did some research.

According to Livestrong, caffeine may trigger the release of adrenaline (a hormone), giving you a quick burst of energy and physical strength followed by a crash marked by fatigue and irritability, in some cases.

Not all doctors agree on how caffeine affects the body’s release of adrenaline or whether it affects it at all.

We all know about adrenaline, right? Fight, flight or freeze? In the caveman days the release of the adrenaline hormone helped escape those raging tigers.

I have talked about adrenals and fatigue (and Restorative Yoga) and exhaustion in the past. But to get a refresher, adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. (The condition is) most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress, according to AdrenalFatigue.org.

According to Caffeine Awareness, there are times when certain things, such as caffeine, keep the cortisol (stress hormone) levels high preventing the body from resting when it should and preventing the adrenal glands from operating as they would. … When in the system, caffeine can over stimulate the central nervous system and the adrenal glands to the point that the body is flooded with excess adrenaline and affected by an unnecessarily fast heart rate and blood pressure.

According to The Guide to Adrenal Fatigue, (when drinking caffeine) your brain sends a message to the pituitary gland, which releases a hormone that tells your adrenals to produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. In other words, you are triggering exactly the same kind of stress response that your body uses when you are in imminent physical danger. … After long-term and repeated doses of caffeine, your adrenals are simply weakened and less able to respond adequately.

OK, so I am not gonna give up coffee. But watching how much I drink, especially when I feel exhausted would be a good idea. Yes, it can be a vicious cycle … exhausted … caffeine … crash … caffeine … exhausted … you get the idea.

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