Effects of Caffeine

Short-Term Gain vs Long-Term Loss

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 immediate effect of caffeine is short-term and can be desirable, such as a stimulation of alertness when we’re drowsy. However, the long term, negative side effects of caffeine on our bodies can thwart our ability to maintain stable energy production and good health.

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 habitually rely on caffeine to artificially produce a sense of feeling energized?

Enjoy a healthy breakfast that contains:

  • Antioxidant-rich seeds & fruits
  • 6g fiber
  • 28g whole grains
  • 6-7g protein
  • 1200mg ALA omega-3 fatty acids
  • Gluten free ingredients
  • No added sugar
  • Natural sweetness from fruit

The answers are rooted in caffeine’s impact 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, and sexual and reproductive functions. The effects of a habitual stimulant like caffeine on your glandular chemistry are manifold.

Caffeine Puts You In a State of Stress

Caffeine triggers the “fight or flight” 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 coursing through your system.

When you drink cup after cup of coffee in an attempt to increase your energy, your body remains in a constant state of stress. Your energy cycles through highs and lows and you wonder why you can’t stay energized and balanced. Instead, you experience energy crashes.

Ready to kick the caffeine habit?

  • Symptoms caused by too much caffeine include:

    • The “jitters”
    • Feelings of anxiety, nervousness and irritability
    • Heartburn or acid reflux
    • Insomnia, even when caffeine was consumed many hours before bed
    • Incessant thinking and restlessness that interferes with relaxing
    • Sweaty palms
    • Rapid speech

  • Some people may experience more severe reactions from too much caffeine such as:

    • Muscular pain and tension, including neck and back pain
    • Skin rashes and other allergic symptoms
    • Obsessive-compulsive behavior
    • Paranoia
    • Phobias

The Long-Term Effects of Caffeine

If you ride the caffeine roller coaster day in and day out, your body will eventually suffer the negative long-term side effects of the stress response triggered by caffeine.

Here are some of the possible negative side effects of a caffeine dependency:

  • A suppressed immune system and chronic stress as elevated stress hormones interfere with the optimal functioning of your immune system, decreasing its ability to protect your health. Chronic stress can lead to both short-term and long-term memory loss, decreased mood, and poor judgment.
  • Less restful sleep and fatigue as elevated stress hormones cause insomnia or wake you up in the middle of the night, preventing you from reaching stage 4 sleep where your body repairs and renews itself for the next day.
  • A decrease in DHEA production due to elevated cortisol, the stress hormone. DHEA is the rebuild & repair hormone that keeps your body in an anabolic, youthful & healthy state. As our bodies age, we produce less DHEA. When our adrenal glands are producing cortisol, DHEA production goes down. Coffee drinking can increase our rate of aging by keeping us in a chronic state of stress accompanied by low DHEA levels.
  • Digestion-related issues such as acid reflux. Caffeine 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.

Health Conditions Aggravated by Caffeine

Many people decide to become caffeine-free after visiting a health care professional who advises them to quit caffeine to improve their health. Often times, an uncomfortable or painful symptom provides the motivation to make a change to a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes however, dangerous conditions like high blood pressure, bone loss, and glaucoma go undetected because they don’t produce any noticeable symptoms.

    • Anxiety
    • Heart disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high inflammatory indicators like homocysteine
    • Sudden heart attack in healthy adults
    • Acid reflux and GERD
    • Women’s health problems such as PMS, menopausal symptoms, infertility, and fibrocystic breasts
    • Diabetes and Insulin Resistance Syndrome
    • Osteoporosis
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease and Colitis
    • Interstitial Cystitis
    • Insomnia
    • Fatigue including adrenal fatigue
    • Mood disorders and depression
    • Migraine headaches
    • Glaucoma
    • Prostate Inflammation
    • Tourette Syndrome
    • Tinnitus
    • Gout flare-ups
    • Pregnancy
    • Midlife and senior years
    • High stress periods

The Best Time to Indulge in Caffeine

It isn’t that we don’t think that caffeine can be useful - 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.

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.

However, 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.

It is hard to hear your body’s 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.

If you suspect that you are caffeine sensitive, the best test is to completely eliminate caffeine from your diet. If the symptoms that are bothering you disappear, you’re among the 20% of caffeine sensitive individuals who need to avoid caffeinated beverages and coffee-flavored foods.

Painful caffeine withdrawal symptoms can be avoided by following a weaning schedule which you’ll find in the Kick the Caffeine Habit Program.

On the other hand, if you simply drink too many cups of coffee a day, the best way to cut down on caffeine is to either blend Teeccino with your coffee to reduce caffeine and acidity, or alternate your cups of coffee with a cup of Teeccino. If you stop drinking coffee at mid-day, you can enjoy Teeccino throughout the rest of the day without any concern about caffeine interfering with sleep at night.

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.

Interested in hearing how Michael Pollan, best-selling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, fared when he kicked the caffeine habit by giving up coffee for 3 months? Listen to his audio book, Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World.