Is too much coffee draining your energy?
Do you need four to six cups of coffee each day just to stay awake? Is America on a collision course with low energy levels just as it is with obesity?
The lack of energy can be traced to poor diet, stress, food allergies, liver problems, too much sugar, too much caffeine and adrenal exhaustion. The adrenal glands are the big energy regulators in the body. They are just like a bank. If you make a withdrawal, you need to recharge or make deposits before you go to the bank again. That is where coffee begins to become an energy depleter and not an energy builder. Caffeine forces your adrenals to secrete energy hormones even when your body does not have much to offer. Over the years it takes more and more coffee to get the same result. (Do you think Starbucks knows about this?) The adrenals are responsible for releasing more than 150 hormones into your body including adrenalin, testosterone and cortisol.
Doctors know that constant high levels of cortisol shrink the part of the brain that is responsible for memory. Cortisol also interferes with the immune system making you less able to fight off infections. If you are drinking three or more cups of coffee a day your adrenals are depleted. Your body is in a constant state of “fight or flight.” Coffee, the very substance you thought was giving you that little kick is actually, in the long run depleting your energy levels to almost zero. Over stimulating the adrenals leads to fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, depression and a weakened immune system. Caffeine has been shown to stay in people’s systems for as long as eight and up to thirty hours. Like other herbs and drugs it affects each person in a different manner.
Caffeine also forces the liver to release more glucose into the blood stream. This produces a blood sugar high that is often followed by a severe drop in blood sugar. (The need for a nap or another cup of coffee!) Extra coffee also puts added stress on your kidneys.
So what is wrong with your coffee habit if it lures you out of bed every morning? The reason you may be craving that coffee every morning is that you are addicted to its effects. Coffee or caffeine withdrawal headaches can be terrible. They often come with the overwhelming feeling of fatigue as your body tries to recuperate from its former caffeine driven pace. If you skip your morning coffee you get a terrible headache. Caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor in the brain. That means it actually constricts blood vessels in the brain and decreases circulation! When caffeine is not present the sudden increased circulation causes headaches.
What is the answer if you are someone like me who loves the aroma of dark coffee and just can’t say no?
The good news is that you can wean yourself down from the several cups a day and eventually off coffee completely if you do it slowly over a two to three week period. You can also rebuild your adrenal glands with herbs and help from organic whole foods. I like to recommend superfood blends that are very dense in nutrients and minerals. Your diet should be a building diet and avoid or cut back on stimulants, sugar, sodium and alcohol. Foods rich in Potassium should be added to the diet This will help the adrenals by correcting the potassium/sodium balance in the body. You can also help rebuild the adrenals by adding several herbs to your diet.
Some of the best adrenal builders are cayenne, licorice, ginseng, ginger and hawthorn. It is also a good idea to drink plenty of water and evaluate your sleep to make sure you are getting restful sleep and waking up energized. One final point on energy. One reason we as a society may feel we need more stimulants is because the main energy vitamin, B-12, is stored in theliver. As you know, the liver is bombarded with all types of toxins and pollutants on a daily basis and struggles to perform at a high level. Doing a regular cleansing routine will help keep theliver in good shape and hopefully help you store more B-12 for your energy needs.