Most of us live a stimulant-driven life with caffeine being the number one drug used to propel us past the point of fatigue so we can keep going without regard for our body’s need for a break. The effect of caffeine can be short-term and desirable like when caffeine stimulates alertness when we’re drowsy. However, in the long term, the negative effect of caffeine on our bodies can thwart our ability to maintain stable energy production and good health.
Caffeine is rampant in our food supply and its addition to foods and beverages is completely unregulated. If you want to know how much caffeine is being added to something you are about to consume, you have to hope the information you may find on some website is correct. The manufacturer has no obligation to tell you on the package of the product. If you read the fine print in the ingredient deck, you will find caffeine listed near the end, but there is no information or limits on how many milligrams are added.
Why is it best for your health to let your body generate its own energy supply from nutrients instead of stimulants? What happens if we rely on the effect of caffeine to artificially produce a sense of being energized?
The answer is rooted in the effect caffeine has on your endocrine, i.e. glandular, system that regulates your hormonal production. This complex system produces over 20 major hormones, which influence every cell, organ, and function in our bodies including the regulation of mood, growth, metabolism, sexual and reproductive functions. The effects of a habitual stimulant like caffeine on your glandular chemistry is manifold.
Caffeine Puts You In A State Of Stress
To start with, the first effect caffeine triggers is the “flight or fight” syndrome in the body, a primitive survival mechanism designed to help humans escape from imminent danger. The stress hormones, cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline flood your body triggering numerous reactions.
Your heart beats faster and blood pressure rises. Your liver releases glycogen so that elevated blood sugar can help you run from danger. The digestive system, kidneys and immune system are restricted as energy is funneled towards the systems necessary for immediate survival. Oxygen is decreased in your brain while thoughtful judgment is replaced with snap decisions controlled by a more primitive part of the brain. Your neck, back, arm and leg muscles tense. In short, you are ready to stand and fight or run for your life.
Most likely however, you are sitting still and not making use of all that extra energy. Thus your body remains in a state of stress. If you drink multiple cups of coffee throughout the day, caffeine continues to trigger the stress response, your energy cycles through highs and lows, and you wonder why you can’t stay energized and balanced.
The Long Term Effects of Caffeine And Prolonged Stress
If you ride the caffeine rollercoaster every day, day in and day out, your body will eventually suffer the negative effects of caffeine and the stress response it triggers. Here are some of the possible negative effects of a caffeine dependency:
- Production is reduced as cortisol, the stress hormone, is kept elevated by caffeine. DHEA is the rebuild & repair hormone that keeps your body in an anabolic, youthful & healthy state. As our bodies age, we produce less DHEA, so coffee drinking can increase our rate of aging by keeping us in a chornic state of stress.
- The immune system is suppressed as chronic stress and elevated stress hormones interferes with the optimal functioning of your immune system and causes a significant decrease in its ability to protect your health.
- Sleep is less restful as elevated stress hormones can cause insomnia or wake you up in the middle of the night. You may experience increased fatigue because you don’t reach the deep, stage 4 sleep where your body repairs and renews itself for the next day.
- Weight gain around the abdomen is promoted by the elevated stress hormone, cortisol. An increased appetite is stimulated by cortisol especially for fats and sweets, making it hard for you to stick to diet plans or optimal weight goals if you drink coffee daily.
- Blood pressure and heart rhythm irregularities like palpitations are increased by caffeine consumption. Increased stress on the heart can eventually lead to heart attacks and strokes. Since heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, you will want to avoid caffeine and coffee if you have elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other inflammatory markers like high C-reactive protein and homosysteine.
- Digestion is affected by caffeine and increased stress. Acid reflux is increased by caffeine which decreases the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter. Ulcers, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome are all sensitive to the effects of stress and chronic exposure to stress hormones. If you suffer from any digestive disorders, stress from caffeine combined with the acidity of coffee can aggravate your symptoms.
- Chronic stress can lead to loss of memory, depressed moods, and poor judgment. We all know that making decisions under stress is never a good idea, but you may not be aware of how the effects of caffeine can produce chronic stress that can lead to depression and interfere with both your short-term and long-term memory.
The Best Time to Indulge in Caffeine
It isn’t that we don’t think that caffeine can have a useful effect. It’s the best stimulant there is for times when fatigue needs to be staved off. If you had too little sleep or need to drive late at night, by all means, drink something caffeinated. It’s the perfect use of this drug.
If you think you can’t do without caffeine, drink it in the morning only. Cortisol production naturally rises in the early morning hours to help you wake up. A cup of coffee will increase that cortisol spike. But if you indulge in caffeine in the afternoon or evening, you’ll interfere with your body’s natural rhythm of reducing cortisol in favor of producing DHEA, the rebuild & repair hormone, and melatonin, the hormone that prepares you to relax and go to sleep. The result? Not enough sleep or deep, stage four sleep that allows your body to rebuild, repair, and regenerate. You wake up tired, reach for a cup of coffee and the cycle continues.
Discover How Caffeine Affects You
Your body is like a sophisticated laboratory that specializes in one thing: You. If you listen carefully, it will tell you exactly what it needs. But it is hard to hear its signals if it is stressed out by the effects of caffeine. You may be experiencing symptoms, pains and discomforts you would never imagine were caused by caffeine until they miraculously disappear after you wean yourself off of coffee, painlessly with Teeccino. Painful caffeine withdrawal symptoms can be avoided by following our Kick the Caffeine Habit program
Let your journey to optimal health be one of self-discovery. Experiment with how healthier lifestyle habits affect you personally. Give yourself a chance to discover what might change if you choose to be caffeine free!
“Imagine if in every heart and from every tongue, all anger, hate, envy and greed were eliminated and their places filled with sweet gentleness of true understanding, thoughtfulness and courtesy.”
Alice Foote MacDougall, 1928