It’s the common complaint you hear uttered by friends, family and co-workers throughout the day. “I just can’t get going without my cup of coffee!” What happened to the days of childhood when we used to bound out of bed with plenty of energy and we kept going at an energetic pace until night? Most people assume that age causes diminished energy supply, but the latest research is shedding new light on lifestyle practices that ultimately lead to fatigue.
Although we reach for the coffee or tea cup hoping to boost our energy, studies show that we are actually inducing a state of stress. Caffeine drives the adrenal glands to produce stress hormones that can remain in the blood stream up to 18 hours after consumption. These hormones produce the “fight or flight” response nature designed to help save our lives when every bit of energy was required to survive an impending disaster such as an attack by a foe. In today’s world, where we are more often sitting at a desk, driving in our car, or eating a meal, caffeine can put us into a chronic state of stress with no way for our body to burn off the extra fuel and hormones. Caffeine-induced stress can produce mood swings and insomnia, increase muscle tension, impair digestion and nutrition, restrict blood circulation to the brain, elevate blood pressure, create blood sugar swings, and accelerate heart rate. Yet the lines at the local coffee bar are still stretching out the door with people desperate for their next caffeine fix.
Caffeine addiction is rampant in our society. Caffeine is the only unregulated drug in our food supply. There are no requirements for the quantity of caffeine to be labeled on foods or soft drinks. Most people don't know that their coffee flavored ice cream or yogurt may be supplying a hefty dose of caffeine just when they want to relax at the end of a hectic day. Mothers don't suspect that the root beer and orange soda they are giving their children may also contain caffeine. Students studying late at night don't realize that caffeine restricts the oxygen flow to their brain up to 30% and impairs memory retention. Under the guise of alertness, caffeine has fooled them into thinking they will be better prepared for their exams in the morning.
While the adrenals are busy pumping out cortisol to send energy to the muscles and divert energy from the digestive and immune systems, there is a very important hormone they aren't making: DHEA. It turns out that the adrenals have to reduce their production of the most important anti-aging hormone your body requires for youth and longevity in order to produce the stress hormones that ultimately weaken your immune system and impair your health. DHEA is the mother hormone for all the sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone as well as it increases your brain's seratonin levels naturally. So if you've been feeling down in the dumps and your lover no longer interests you, check out how much caffeine you are consuming daily in that coffee mug of yours!
The caffeine industry created a nice deception to make you think you're not drinking that much caffeine. It turns out that a cup of coffee is not your normal 8 oz cup, but a mere 5 oz cup. So when you read that a couple of cups of coffee a day shouldn't be any problem to your health, think of one 10 oz mug because that is what they are actually talking about. When you add to that the statistics for caffeine content in a cup of coffee brewed at popular coffee bars, you'll find out that you can expect up to 300 mg in that 10 oz cup, not the 150 mg you might find in a cup of coffee from your own coffee maker.