Getting the Most out of Your Morning Coffee

Getting the Most out of Your Morning Coffee

Optimize Your Caffeine Intake for Better Health and Energy

Everyone enjoys their morning coffee. However, there are a few aggressively cynical studies that warn against having coffee in the first 90 minutes after waking claiming it can actually have detrimental effects on one’s health and energy levels throughout the day. But that’s the best time to have coffee! How else am I supposed to wake up?!

In this blog post, we explore these claims and why they are important but also will provide a solution to how you can optimize your caffeine intake without sacrificing your morning coffee routine.

How does Caffeine Work?

The effects of caffeine are twofold. Firstly, caffeine is a stimulant and acts on one’s adrenal system by increasing the production of cortisol, a hormone that maintains blood glucose levels and can lead to a feeling energized. Secondly, caffeine acts as an adenosine receptor inhibitor. Adenosine, sometimes referred to as the drowsiness chemical, is a neurotransmitter that builds up in the body throughout the day and helps to regulate sleep. By inhibiting the detection of adenosine, caffeine blocks this feeling of drowsiness for a period of time as it is processed through the system.

Why can’t I have it as soon as I wake up?

As soon as you wake up, your body begins naturally producing cortisol. In fact, the first 90 minutes of wakefulness is when your body is at its highest rate of cortisol production. Consuming caffeine at this point to artificially stimulate cortisol can actually reduce your body’s ability to produce cortisol naturally. This can lead to a significant reduction of cortisol levels once the caffeine wears off and is why many people experience the “coffee crash” around 2-3 in the afternoon.
On the other side, your adenosine system only becomes active an hour or two after waking up and continues to produce throughout the day. Therefore, the adenosine inhibitor property of caffeine has no effect in the first 90 minutes of your day. Thus, your morning coffee is less effective overall, and can actually lead to a hard crash later in the day.

But I can feel the effects of coffee, it seems like it works to me!

This is true! Coffee seems to take effect from just the first sip. However, caffeine takes approximately 20 minutes to begin to have any effect. So the immediate effects are primarily from the warm hot liquid and the taste and aroma of the coffee that is associated with wakefulness for many people.

I'm NOT going to give up my coffee! What should I do?

Given how your body processes caffeine early in the morning, you can receive nearly all of the perceived benefits of a regular cup of coffee with a cup of decaf coffee without inhibiting your body’s natural cortisol production. A simple solution is to make your first cup of coffee of the day with decaf. Then, after being awake for an hour or so, feel free to enjoy a regular cup of coffee as you normally would but with the added benefit of knowing that you have optimized your caffeine intake for better consistent energy levels throughout your entire day!

Want more healthy tips? Check out Is the Keto Diet right for you?

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