Thursday, June 4, 2015

How Coffee Causes Depression

For some proven tips on how to quit coffee, check out my other post HERE
Rather than giving us energy, coffee is actually "borrowing" energy from adrenal reserves that then need to be refilled. As One significant study says, "One of the major effects [of caffeine] is to stimulate the adrenal glands to secrete epinephrine and norephinephrine, resulting in an immediate boost of energy. However, in time, the adrenal glands become exhausted." And this adrenal exhaustion leads to significant fatigue. "It is our observation that most of the time fatigue is a result of diminished adrenal function or adrenal exhaustion."

On his website, New York physician Dr. Bass details how a morning caffeine boost comes at a cost.  "A cup of coffee relieves a headache only to fasten the headache upon the user; it relieves depression of spirits only to double the depression when it 'wears off'. (If the primary action is stimulation, the secondary effect is depression)." (Link)

  • "Caffeine doesn't add energy to your system, it just burns up your reserves at a faster pace. You get a short-term boost at the expense of long-term jitters and fatigue" (The Unofficial Guide to Beating Stress by Pat Goudey, page 136).
  • "In effect, drinking multiple cups of coffee is telling your body that it's under dire circumstances almost all the time" (Link).
  • One study published in 2007 found that 52 per cent of panic-disorder patients suffered a panic attack after drinking caffeinated coffee. Conversely, the panic-disorder patients drinking decaf did not suffer panic attacks (Link).
  • "Caffeine does not provide energy—only chemical stimulation. The perceived "energy" comes from the body's struggle to adapt to increased blood levels of stress hormones. In most cases, this induced emergency state leads to well-defined side effects collectively known as caffeinism. Ironically, caffeinism is characterized by fatigue" (Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 10).
Personally, I have also felt the negative effects of coffee. When I drink coffee in the morning, I feel invigorated, positive and energized. Yet, as the caffeine wears off, my evenings can include lethargic and sad or even depressing feelings. Conversely, when I'm off caffeine and eating a whole foods, plant based diet, I generally feel zero depression at night. I have even kept a journal about how a plant based, caffeine free diet has effected my mood. While on this plan, I have felt incredibly happy and positive many evenings for no specific reason. When I'm drinking coffee and tea during the day, however, I have felt sad at night for no specific reason.
  • "When caffeine is consumed, insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar, is increased. Insulin lowers blood sugar levels, which can cause depression a few hours after you consume caffeine" (Link).
Water, juice and smoothies are great alternatives to coffee. For those who can't seem to quit caffeine altogether, green tea may be a good alternative, even if it's temporary. Green tea has less caffeine than coffee and contains theanine, which helps promote sleep (Link). This study proves the incredible relaxing effects of theanine. To discover more amazing benefits of green tea, check out my other post HERE.


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