There are a few common reasons one may feel like they MUST have their coffee in the morning:

1) They are not morning people, but have to work in the morning

2) They have less than optimal functioning adrenal glands (there is one adrenal gland on top of each kidney)

3) Puts them in a better mood – caffeine contributes to this effect

#2 is what I’d like to discuss.

Adrenal glands play a huge role in your energy level, as well as hormones regulating salt, sugar, and sex/reproduction. When they are not functioning well, you can have a whole host of symptoms:

– fatigue

– significant dips in energy during the day

– low blood sugar

– digestive issues

– depression

– trouble sleeping

– not waking up refreshed

– less driven

– lower libido

– symptoms of low thyroid function – If anyone tells you that you have hypothyroid without ever mentioning low adrenal function or testing thyroid antibodies, you need to do further investigation

– low progesterone and the associated symptoms, such as depression

– higher testosterone (because lack of progesterone is no longer keeping it in balance) and its associated symptoms, such as increased acne

Coffee does in fact benefit the body for 1-2 cups per day, but if you are drinking MUCH more than that, you are pushing your body too hard, and if you need to drink a lot just to have enough energy to make it through the day without dips of fatigue, you may have severely taxed adrenals.

The good thing is that you can build your adrenals back up, support your levels of energy and mood, and bring your body back into balance from all the symptoms mentioned above. In addition to reducing stress, better quality sleep that slowly comes back overtime once a chronically stressful lifestyle has ceased, high quality diet, improving digestion, positive mindset, and adequate exercise, there is also a class of herbs called adaptogens.

Adaptogens help to support the adrenal glands and the body’s ability to deal with stress, thus protecting the body from damage. These herbs include: Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Eleutherococcus, Shisandra berry, the combination of Oat Straw + Horsetail, Ginseng (best to just use if you’re severely tanked), and Astragalus. You may find combinations of herbs work better than just one herb alone. Many health practitioners providing herbal remedies to their clients use combinations.

To give you an idea of how beneficial these herbs can be, I and almost every one of my classmates in medical school were on adrenal herbal formulas for most if not the whole time we were in school. It is not uncommon for the low adrenal function of medical school students to linger long after they have graduated, so it is a great idea to stay on adaptogens to help build the body back up.

Another supplement that is quite synergistic with adaptogens is a multivitamin/multimineral formula with a good amount of B vitamins, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C, as these support the adrenals and stress response too.

Many of my clients dealing with digestive issues also experience much fatigue, so I end up helping both issues at the same time, because they feed each other.