Coffee is used by many people as a boost in the morning. But every upper comes with its crash, and coffee is no different. In fact, the downsides of caffeine can affect not just your energy, but the functioning of important mechanisms in the body. That includes its influence on the adrenal gland and its release of adrenaline.
Caffeine is a stimulant. It activates the central nervous system and can make you feel alert and energetic. But it can also prompt heightened activity in other parts of the body. Depending on how much caffeine you consume in a day you might experience increased jitters or shaking. Your heartbeat may increase, and certain glands may increase their production.
Adrenaline is a hormone released by the adrenal gland. It is a stress-triggered hormone that is intended to heighten your physical strength for a short period of time. Release of the hormone is marked by an elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure and a boost to your energy, according to Dr. Christiane Northrup. Caffeine may trigger the release of that hormone, giving you a quick burst of energy and physical strength followed by a crash marked by fatigue and irritability, in some cases.
Doctors disagree on exactly how caffeine affects your body's release of adrenaline, or whether it affects the adrenal glands at all. Project Aware lists caffeine as a substance to avoid when you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, and the University of Maryland Medical Center says the same thing about chronic fatigue, which may relate to the adrenal glands. A report from Brown University Health Education states that caffeine stimulates the adrenal gland to produce more adrenaline, which can boost your blood pressure.
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about the effects of coffee on your adrenal glands. Your doctor may have suggestions about how to handle your caffeine consumption, including reducing or even stopping your caffeine use altogether. Be aware that other factors outside of caffeine use can influence your adrenal glands and the release of adrenaline. Decaffeinated coffee is an alternative to the caffeinated beverage that can be consumed without posing any stimulant-related risks to how your body releases adrenaline.