More from food Matters on 9 symptoms you shouldn’t ignore
You’re drinking too much caffeine…
One likely signal: Fatigue
Background: “Caffeine goes to an already low energy bank account and tries to lend it a little extra energy for the short term,” says Haas. “But it’s getting that energy from your own stores, meaning you have less and less on reserve, leaving you less able to generate your own energy on an ongoing basis.”
Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system. Specifically, the chemical gooses the adrenal glands into releasing hormones — namely cortisol and adrenaline that tell the body to go faster. The short-term result can be increased focus and better hand-eye coordination. But overdo caffeine on a regular basis and, eventually, the central nervous system runs out of gas. “If you don’t restore yourself with sleep, nutrients and relaxation, you’ll quickly get into a cycle of whipping a weakened horse,” says Haas.
Other signals: Jitters, agitation, insomnia, heartbeat irregularities, frequent urination
Don’t forget that caffeine is also in energy drinks, tea and some pain-killers. I advise that clients come off all caffeine in order to minimise the load on the adrenal glands, encourage good blood sugar balance and to avoid the stimulant effect that can continue to play a role on gut ecology. For many people, the barrage of stimulants, a high sugar diet and the pressures of modern living will mean that not only is a diet change important, but it may be that the adrenal glands require more specific support. I can arrange for an Adrenal Stress Profile lab test to help understand how well the adrenal glands are actually functioning. Try replacing coffee with fresh brewed dandelion coffee or an instant grain beverage, such as Barley Cup. Herb teas are now readily available in coffee shops and supermarkets. Repalce tea with Redbush/Rooibos, which is now available as a green tea or with spices for a variation on Chai.