Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Adrenaline and Caffeine

Fight or flight

That is the most apt description of a situation when the adrenaline hormone is released by the adrenal glands. Other situations which can trigger the adrenal glands to release adrenaline are:

  • threatened by something or being in danger
  • excitement
  • loud noises
  • too much illumination
  • anger
  • low blood glucose level

As you can see, stressful situations can trigger the release of adrenaline.

Some effects of adrenaline in our body

  • blood sugar levels rise
  • heart rate increases
  • blood flow to muscles and brain increase
  • blood flow to the skin is reduced, so that blood flow will be concentrated to the more important organs
  • blood clotting time is reduced
  • pupils of the eye dilate
  • air passages dilate
  • other 'non-emergency' bodily functions are suppressed like the digestive system.
  • suppresses the immune system

These effects are needed by the body to cope up with stressful events. Let's say you were out in the woods camping and you encounter a wild animal, a tiger for example. You see the fearsome eyes, the sharp teeth and hear the loud growl. You freeze for a moment. Adrenaline rush to your blood to prepare you for the encounter. Fight or flight? Tarzan may opt to fight but a regular guy surely would opt for the opposite. Either way, the release of adrenaline to your blood can help you cope with the situation.

Adrenaline is expended from your blood after you cope with the situation. Either from fighting or fleeing which involves physical activity.

Caffeine can trigger the release of adrenaline

Caffeine can fool your body that you are in a stressful or in an emergency situation. If you ingest caffeine while working at your desktop, which does not involve physical exertion, then the adrenaline will remain in your blood for a longer period of time and may cause jitters or insomnia. You can expend the adrenaline by doing some physical exercise.

Coffee lovers who may drink several cups of coffee in a day and does not have physical activities or exertions will surely have a continuous supply of adrenaline in their blood which could cause adrenal fatigue. It's certainly not healthy because adrenaline was meant to be used for dealing with 'fight or flight' situations - short periods of time.

Pregnant women should be better off without caffeine as it can be transmitted to the fetus.

Limit your coffee as much as possible for good health. The antioxidant benefit can be over shadowed by the stressful events that caffeine brings. If you cannot help it, go for the decaffeinated variety. Tea does not have as much caffeine as coffee but it's better to go for the decaffeinated variety or you may decaffeinate it yourself.

Related Posts

Adrenal Fatigue Caused by Caffeine

Caffeine Intake and Pregnancy

How Much Caffeine Do You Take?

Caffeine Can Elevate Your Stress Hormones

Can Caffeine Make Your Heart Stop?

How Long Does Caffeine Stay in Your Body?

Decaffeinated Tea

Caffeine and Tea

Herbal Green Tea

Caffeine Free Tea:

Herbal Green Tea Extract

Technorati tag: