Adrenal Fatigue

Myth or Reality? 

Have you experienced adrenal fatigue?

Learn how to over come


Adrenal fatigue is NOT a medical condition, and not recognized as a diagnosis. However, this term is used to describe chronic inflammation or cortisol resistance. The adrenal fatigue theory was started by hard working individuals who would use caffeinated drinks to mask their tiredness, and thus, a relationship between prolonged stress and caffeine began. Adrenal fatigue is a myth in medical practice primarily due to a lack of conclusive testing. Meaning the results of patients didn’t have any fluctuations in adrenal levels, so adrenal fatigue isn’t correctly defined.


The Stress Cycle and Cortisol resistance 

However, prolonged stress is a very real condition that can “catch up” to you. For example, an individual may work hard and long hours on a project with a deadline. Once the project is complete, the individual may come down with a cold or flu. This is known as a long-time exposure to stress.
Here’s where caffeine plays an important role in stress, lack of sleep, anxiety and more. As we continue to work long hours completing mental or physical tasks, we reach for another cup of coffee. We know coffee is a stimulant and contains a drug that stimulates the brain and nervous system resulting in an increase of adrenaline and cortisol. However, caffeine doesn’t give you energy by naturally making you more awake and alert. Caffeine works as an adenosine antagonist, meaning, caffeine bonds to the same receptors as adenosine blocking their ability. Adenosine tells the brain when we’re tired, so by blocking adenosine, we’re tricking our brains into feeling alert and focused. Although, caffeine may only block adenosine for a short period of time, which will cause an uptake of adenosine resulting in a crash or tired state. Shortly after, we may go for another cup to finish our day. Since we’re blocking adenosine from performing its function, we may feel lingering effects at night, which we may find it difficult to fall or stay asleep, and we may experience wild and uncontrollable thoughts while laying in bed.

Coffee and caffeine aren’t the problem, but it’s a large part of the issue because of the way we cycle through stress. Coffee contains over 1,000 chemicals, and the relationship between caffeine and its other contents are still being studied or rather unknown. However, caffeinated drinks aren’t a better choice since extracts are more easily metabolized, which results in greater stimulation.

The cycle of stress and caffeine causes our bodies to constantly toggle between fatigue, energy, and stress, or also known as fight or flight response. As we continue the cycle of feeling tired and fatigue, and then consuming caffeine to buffer the feeling of being tired, then we’re caught in a stress- stimulate relationship that may increase our risk of nearly all cause mortality as it may compromise our immune system. 


How do we restore our body?

Might be time to detox from coffee

It’s important to perform a detox from caffeine. You may try to reduce it, but any amount of coffee will still stimulate the fight or flight response, so it’s best to stop caffeine. Green tea might be a good alternative since it contains L-theanine, which helps slow the metabolization of caffeine, reducing its effects. However, many people love the taste of coffee, so switching to decaf would be your best option.

Adrenal fatigue isn’t a medical condition, and it’s used to describe an inflammatory condition of chronic stress being masked by caffeine, which only intensifies the symptoms over time. Caffeine is does-dependent, meaning, it’s required each day, or you may experience withdrawals. As soon as caffeine is consumed, you may notice a lift in mood, less pain in legs or arms, and more energy. However, you may also experience anxiety, restlessness, anger and aggression, moody fluctuations, sinus-like pressure and headaches, emotional imbalances, cold hands and feet, muscle pains and knots, dizziness when standing, food cravings for salt and sugar, and overeating.

Reducing or stopping caffeine is a great practice to restore our bodies natural immunity to stress and focus on rest, recovery, and sleep. However, adaptogens have been making large contributions in science and their relationship to stress management. Adaptogens help reduce stress and inflammation, and stay tuned for our next article about adaptogens. 

Look for our next article about Adaptogens
Adaptogens were initially defined as substances that enhance the “state of non-specific resistance” in stress, a physiological condition that is linked with various disorders of the neuroendocrine-immune system.

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