Many of us wake and go straight for one or more cups of coffee or caffeinated beverages. Caffeine kick starts the adrenals by stimulating the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands, this helps us shrug off sleepiness and wake up to face the day. Adrenals are tasked with multiple functions, including regulating the stress response. Healthy adrenals are essential to a positive energy balance, fostering drive and sustained energy. Supporting our adrenals is essential in this day and age of high-stress home and work environments. So many of us are over-taxed and trying to “keep our head above water” when it comes to balancing home, work and play. Unfortunately, our relationship with caffeine compromises our adrenal health and often leaves us more tired and less ready to tackle our responsibilities.
To understand the dance between caffeine and your adrenal glands we must begin with adrenal function. Imagine your adrenal glands as a glass or container. Over the course of the night, with deep, restorative sleep, our adrenal glands “charge UP” – they “fill” with energy. With healthy adrenal function we awake each morning refreshed with a “full” adrenal battery pack available to dispense energy and drive as we need it throughout the day. Adrenal function starts off high in the morning, releasing the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), and norepinephrine. These hormones regulate the “fight or flight” response. They stimulate the brain and body to respond quickly to high-stress situations; which, in our modern lifestyle, is nearly everything. Healthy adrenal glands dispense these stress hormones consistently throughout the day, with peaks and valleys related to meals (light snacking between meals can increase the “smoothness” of stress hormone release by the adrenals – further stabilizing energy levels throughout the day).(1) Balanced adrenals slowly “squeeze out” resulting in energized days and restful, sleep-filled nights; supporting elevated mood and lower levels of body fat.
Unfortunately, when caffeine and our modern pace of living are added to the picture adrenal health begins to take a dive. Our bodies are not designed to run at full-tilt 24-7, coping with the crisis-of-the-week at work, stretching to spend quality time with our families, seeking to carve out that “me” time to exercise, play, or just get back to zero. The stress of living in a world where we are constantly available on our cell phones and by email makes drawing the line between the different realms of our life guilt-ridden and close to impossible. We have learned to be “on” all the time. This requires energy, constant, unrelenting energy that we demand from our adrenals. The easiest way to get that energy is to hit ourselves with a second dose of caffeine after that first cup of joe wears off in the morning. Perhaps a third cup of coffee follows at the 2PM mark, where digesting lunch knocks us into a mid-afternoon torpor and we find ourselves struggling to keep the eyes above half-mast. Caffeine to the rescue! But is it really our savior?
Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands in an unsustainable way. In the morning the first cup of joe “squeezes” the adrenals giving us an exhilarating burst of energy and brain activity but depletes the adrenal glands significantly in one shot rather than sustainably and gradually. You’ve poured out let’s say 1/3 of your adrenal glass for the day with that shot of caffeine. The same happens with the second cup at 10AM when you’re starting to drag and things are heating up at the office. Drink a caffeinated beverage and you’re off to outer space, past “half-empty” on your adrenal glass. The 2PM bonk rolls through and the afternoon caffeine fix perks you up, sort of. Fatigued adrenals manifest in feelings of deep tiredness covered by over-wiredness. Your adrenals are having difficulty producing enough cortisol to stimulate the same “fight or flight” response you experienced in the morning, causing them to turn instead to creating higher levels of adrenaline – leaving you shaky and even irritable. (1) By the time it comes to go to bed the high stress response experienced throughout the day and the caffeine driving it often cause insomnia, further depleting the adrenals as they are not able to recharge with a full, restful night’s sleep.
So what is there to do? How can you support your adrenal health and have all the energy you need to live in this lightning-paced world? The key is, as in all things, moderation. One cup of coffee in the morning has been scientifically proven to aid in alertness, brain function, and mood improvement. (2) But that is where our romance with caffeine should end. Replacing the mid-day and afternoon caffeine “boosts” with beverages rich in B vitamins feeds both your adrenals and your stamina. B vitamins play a key role in hormone production (called the adrenal cascade) in the adrenal glands. B vitamins act as coenzymes, grouping with other enzymes to form catalysts, which are the molecular epicenters of change inside your body. Catalysts speed chemical processes (like energy production) in the body, without them chemical reactions would take place too slowly to sustain life. (3)
Acli-Mate natural sport drinks contain a doctor-formulated blend of B vitamins to support adrenal health throughout the day, delivering stamina and staying power instead of shaky bursts of adrenaline. By replacing afternoon shots of caffeine with Acli-Mate, you feed your adrenal glands rather than “squeezing” them out. Providing nutrients to your adrenals with Acli-Mate supports their delivery of steady energy throughout the day. Because Acli-Mate is caffeine-free it does not interfere with your body’s ability to taper off its adrenal response at bedtime. This allows you to enjoy a full night of restful sleep recharging your adrenal glands for the next day. Acli-Mate Mountain also contains Rhodiola Rosea, an adaptogenic herb designed to help your body adapt to stressful conditions. Rhodiola supports your immune system, stable blood sugar levels, and increased mental clarity. It also has been used for centuries in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia to treat depression, relieve stress, and improve attitude. Acli-Mate natural sports drinks are doctor formulated to naturally support your body’s stress response by delivering energy that works with your body rather than against it.
(1) Pick, Marcelle OB/GYN NP. Eating to Support Your Adrenal Glands. Women to Women: 7/17/1012. http://www.womentowomen.com/adrenalhealth/adrenalglandfunction-nutrition.aspx
(2) Pick, Marcelle OB/GYN NP. Caffeine Pros & Cons: Effects of Caffeine on Your Body. Women to Women: 4/20/2011. http://www.womentowomen.com/fatigueandstress/effectsofcaffeine.aspx.
(3) Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team. Dietary Supplements: B Vitamins and the Adrenal Glands. Adrenal Fatigue.org: 2/27/2010. http://blog.adrenalfatigue.org/adrenal-fatigue/dietary-supplements-b-vitamins-and-the-adrenal-glands/.
(4) Cohen, Suzy RPh. Beat Depression Naturally – Rhodiola to the Rescue. Dear Pharmacist Inc: 2013. http://www.dearpharmacist.com/2011/06/20/beat-depression-naturally-rhodiola-to-the-rescue/.