Your body on coffee: Dopamine, stress, and diuretics
The world loves coffee. There’s something about it that keeps us coming back for more. Coffee’s an addictive stimulant that puts the pep in your step, dilates the pupils, and revs up your engine for the day. It improves focus and boosts energy. Here’s what happens to your body and brain when you drink a cup of joe.
Stress Hormones Go To Town
Coffee engages the fight-or-flight system, otherwise known as the stress response. When you drink coffee, the adrenaline gland produces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Stress hormones are beneficial for short periods, but if they linger for too long, they can cause health problems.
When you produce stress hormones, you produce less testosterone and estrogen. Excessive coffee consumption can reduce sex drive and lead to chronic fatigue.
Coffee Boosts Dopamine
Coffee increases dopamine activity in the brain. Dopamine is a primary neurotransmitter that’s critical for mental health. Dopamine deficiency is common in people with depression. It’s a feel-good neurotransmitter that increases motivation and improves focus.
The dopamine hit that you get when you drink coffee is partly why it can be so addictive. Any substance that dramatically increases dopamine is going to make you want to come back for more.
You Pee Like A Racehorse
Caffeine is a diuretic— it makes you take more frequent trips to the bathroom. I’m talking about number one and number two. People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are more likely to get diarrhea. IBS causes the gut lining to weaken. A permeable gut lining allows more toxins and diuretic compounds to sneak in.
Coffee contains compounds called mycotoxins. Mycotoxin levels in coffee beans vary depending on processing and storage practices. Your body isn’t too keen on having mycotoxins floating around. Forcing you to pee is the only way to flush them out.
Roughly 80% of Americans drink coffee. Coffee increases energy, improves focus, and boosts dopamine levels. It also makes you gush stress hormones and urine. Use it, don’t abuse it.