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We are a stimulant addicted planet. In fact, two of the top three beverages consumed worldwide contain stimulants (coffee and tea) but are they helpful or harmful? Truth is they are both!!
There are many studies supporting the health benefits of both tea and coffee. A number of these benefits come from the anti-oxidants found in both and not necessarily from the stimulants directly. So why do we continue to consume stimulants?
It all sounds pretty good so far. We get increased energy, elevated mood and a reduced appetite that when combined may help us lose body fat. The problem is the results may not be maintainable.
What is the underlying reason for this? Is there something in the stimulants that causes weight gain or do we simply become immune to their benefits?
Stimulants release adrenal hormones like nor-epinephrine and epinephrine but at the same time they release another adrenal hormone called cortisol. When we have excess cortisol, we tend to be more stressed, store more body fat and breakdown more muscle.
The big question is how do you know if you have too much cortisol or if your cortisol rhythm is performing correctly (high in the morning and lower at night). There are many telling symptoms…
Note: Not all these stress related symptoms are associated exclusively with stimulants but if we are not careful they may make the problems worse and not better.
How do we get the benefits of stimulants without the side effects or negatives? Is this possible?
Turns out there is hope!!
Here are the top 7 steps to minimising cortisol dysfunction and maintaining the fat burning, energy boosting and mood enhancing benefits of your stimulants.
Stimulants can be helpful. They can assist in weight loss, hunger control, energy metabolism and focus. However, chronic use without some sort of adrenal support can become a problem.
Instead of becoming dependant on stimulants before your workout, perhaps take a break and try Ketones which have been shown to increase focus, alertness and energy. You won’t get the same kick as caffeine or other stimulants but you may feel better long term as ketones may help lower inflammation and improve mitochondrial function. Ketones may also improve GABA signalling, which may lead to a better state of relaxation when you are ready to sleep.
Using adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Schisandra will help reduce the side effects of chronic stimulant use or abuse. It can help manage the symptoms of chronic cortisol production from physical, emotional or psychological stress. We all have stress and it is possibly the most toxic thing our body has to deal with so give it a little support.
At least try putting down the pre-workout, thermogenic, coffee or latte after midday. Caffeine has a 6 - 8 hour half life. This means 6 - 8 hours later 1/2 of the caffeine from your product is still in your system.
While you think you can't feel it and you may get to sleep fine. It will be disrupting the delta and gamma waves of sleep resulting in greater tiredness the next day and so the cycle repeats.
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified health care provider.
Switch Nutrition™ Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and opinion. It is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should only be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 when advised and monitored by your qualified health care provider.
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