Balancing Stress, Boosting Energy, and the Role of Caffeine

Balancing Stress, Boosting Energy, and the Role of Caffeine

Posted on December 01 2023, By: Perry Galanopoulos

Why Stress is Detrimental

Stress, a term with various interpretations, often signifies the activation of the sympathetic nervous and endocrine systems—a response known as "fight or flight." While this instinctive reaction historically provided bursts of energy for escaping or confronting wild animals, our bodies are not designed for sustained stress over extended periods. The consequences can be severe:

  • Decreased immune function, detoxification, and libido
  • Reduced cardiovascular health
  • Increased inflammation
  • Sleep disturbances or insomnia
  • Memory and cognition issues
  • Sluggish digestion and elimination


Caffeine's Impact...

As the most widely consumed drug globally, caffeine is often sought for energy, typically in the form of coffee or tea. However, caffeine triggers a stress response by influencing various stress and mood-related hormones and neurotransmitters, intensifying the effects of some, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Prolonged reliance on caffeine can deplete overall vitality, induce stress, and potentially lead to adrenal fatigue. While caffeine offers benefits and enhances energy, alternatives like green tea, cacao, or matcha are preferable. Renowned author Michael Pollan shared his experience, including some intriguing history, after quitting caffeine for three months on Joe Rogan's podcast.

The National Library of Medicine did a study confirming the detrimental effect of caffeine: Caffeine Stimulation of Cortisol Secretion Across the Waking Hours in Relation to Caffeine Intake Levels


Understanding Adaptogens

Adaptogens, botanicals, and fungi aid the body in adapting to physical and mental stress. Coined by Nikolai Lazarev in the 1940s during performance-enhancing stimulant research, adaptogens are characterized by:

  • Relative safety and low toxicity
  • Positive effects on various body systems
  • Modulating or trophorestorative effects, acting as a bodily systems "thermostat"
  • Influence on the stress response and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis of the nervous-endocrine systems

In essence, adaptogens can alleviate stress, boost energy, and offer a range of additional benefits. While the term "adaptogen" is relatively recent, these substances have been consumed for millennia. Two well-known adaptogens, Ashwagandha and Cordyceps, hold revered positions in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, respectively.

The Cleveland Clinic recently wrote a paper on What Are Adaptogens and Are They Healthy?


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