This article is for you if you struggle with chronic low energy and can’t seem to kick your coffee habit. We’re diving deep into the adrenal fatigue and coffee world. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the connection between adrenal fatigue and coffee and how quitting coffee can help heal adrenal fatigue at the root. Plus, answers to the most common questions we get, including: is decaf ok for adrenal fatigue? How about bulletproof coffee and adrenal fatigue? What’s the best adrenal fatigue coffee alternative? All of this and more are coming —let’s dive in.
What is adrenal fatigue?
First things first: what is adrenal fatigue?! Adrenal fatigue is a 21st-century syndrome that more and more people are falling prey to because of modern society, think: as excessive productivity, stressors from every angle, processed foods, and of course: reliance on caffeine to get through all of that.
Adrenal fatigue happens when a person is under chronic stress for too long, their circadian rhythm is out of whack, and their hormones and HPA axis are completely out of whack. If you have adrenal fatigue, you feel constantly sluggish, incapable, and unable to go on and be the energized, happy person you want to be.
- You’re still tired even after a full night’s sleep
- You crave salty foods
- You experience an afternoon slump daily
- No sex drive or low sex drive
- Inability to handle stress
- Slow healing time
- Mood struggle
- Increased PMS symptoms
- Dependence on stimulants
- Lack of mental clarity
Does this sound like you? You could be in adrenal fatigue stages 1-3 and heading to four (adrenal insufficiency)—read this to learn more.
If you depend on stimulants like coffee to get you through the day, I’m going to share why that would be one of your biggest issues when it comes to adrenal fatigue.
Coffee Causes Adrenal Fatigue
Ok, this statement isn’t wholly true, but it also isn’t entirely false. There are a lot of reasons why you could be struggling with adrenal fatigue. But if you are dependent on coffee to wake up in the morning and get you through the day, then odds are your coffee addiction plays a part in your adrenal fatigue. Here’s why:
Adrenal fatigue is a result of cortisol levels being too high for too long. In order to protect your body, your stress system (HPA axis) signals the adrenal glands to slow down cortisol levels.
High cortisol level symptoms include stress, anxiety, reaction rather than response, high blood sugar, and more. When you drink coffee, especially black and especially on an empty stomach, your adrenal glands pump out cortisol. This flood of cortisol creates stress and inflammation in the body as well as spikes blood sugar levels. Enter stress and eventually a drop in blood sugar and complete burnout.
If you drink coffee and it has this physiological effect on the body every single day, eventually, that adds up. Your adrenal glands are overworked and underappreciated. They need hydration and less stress, and coffee dehydrates and stresses them out.
So now you are completely burnt out and in need of more coffee! You depend on it because you are in adrenal fatigue and can’t get out of bed or think clearly without it. Chances are it boosts mood too, and with the low mood being a major symptom of adrenal fatigue—coffee seems to help. “Seems” is the keyword here.
Coffee Doesn’t Give You Energy
I’m sorry to break it to you, but coffee doesn’t give you energy. Caffeine just blocks the receptors that tell your brain you are tired. This only further pushes you into deeper stages of adrenal fatigue. You can read more about the coffee and energy myth here: New Study Finds Caffeine Doesn’t Make Up for Lost Sleep.
Bulletproof Coffee and Adrenal Fatigue
Now you may have heard that drinking black coffee on an empty stomach first thing in the morning is the worst thing you can do for your hormones, blood sugar, and adrenal fatigue. And that would be correct. So the next thing that most people think is that adding heavy cream, protein powder, and or a blend of bulletproof coffee ingredients would be an alternative. Now, while that is definitely less horrible than black coffee— it is still not ideal.
Bulletproof coffee is a combination of ghee or butter and black coffee. I never recommend this to my clients as a breakfast alternative because balanced, nutrient-dense breakfasts are always better.
This shot of coffee will still have a negative impact on the adrenals, so I encourage you to find other coffee alternatives we will talk about later.
Instead, opt for one of two things:
- Balanced breakfast complete with healthy protein, high-quality fat, fiber, and complex carbs. Check out these 10 adrenal fatigue breakfast recipes here for more information.
- Our Beauty Collagen Complex supplement mixed with decaf tea for a delicious latte alternative. It’s chock-full of adaptogens for hormone balance, stress-relief and natural energy— all things adrenal fatigue sufferers need to heal.
Decaf Coffee and Adrenal Fatigue
Another question I always get is “Can I have decaf coffee instead?!” For most people, the taste of coffee is enough for a little placebo effect. It’s the ritual that often upsets people when I suggest giving the coffee a break.
While I wish I could say decaf was a better alternative, for the most part, it is not. Most decaf coffees contain nasty chemicals that were used to strip the bean of its natural caffeine content. So while you’re not getting the cortisol spike, you are getting some other nasty stuff that can cause inflammation in the body.
How to: Quitting Coffee
- Take it slow: move from 3 cups to 2 cups, or if you only have one, move to half. Try this for one week and then slowly get lower and lower. Supplement with lots of water here to combat any withdrawal symptoms!
- Make a new morning ritual: light a candle, sip on decaffeinated tea, make lemon water. Make the ritual special and something that you can look forward to, just as you looked forward to your coffee. I personally adopted a Beauty Collagen Complex latte routine and its vanilla-honey flavor is something I look forward to every morning.
- Go to bed earlier: chances are, you will be sleeping a lot better after giving up coffee. To make sure you relieve any sluggishness that you may have after your first initial week of quitting coffee, go to bed earlier! This might mean winding down with bluelight glasses, reading a book, and opting out of a late-night Netflix binge.
- Try a coffee alternative.
Alternatives that taste similar to coffee
Alternatives with all the energy & a new taste
If you hate the taste of coffee but love the energy that it “gives you,” then you need to try our Hydration Superfood Supplement. It is a refreshing strawberry kiwi flavor packed with essential electrolytes and B vitamins for all-day energy and action. It’s just a bonus that it deeply hydrates on a cellular level and helps aid in healing adrenal fatigue and hormone balance.
And like I mentioned before, our Beauty Collagen Complex is a delicious vanilla-honey flavor that can be a perfect addition to any morning elixir.
I hope this article has helped you understand the connection between adrenal fatigue and coffee and how and why you should try an alternative. Shop our supplements here.