Manage Adrenal Fatigue with Tea and Epigenetics

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Carrie Lam, MD; Jeremy Lam, MD

girl staring out the window wondering about tea and epigeneticsFor years, many have known tea to be a beneficial drink that can improve one’s overall health. In fact, tea has been known to help calm the nerves during times of stress. Recently too, it has been proven that tea and epigenetics can play a key role when it comes to promoting good hormonal balance. This, in turn, can greatly help in preventing the onset of adrenal fatigue.

How Tea and Epigenetics Relate to Adrenal Fatigue

Epigenetics refers to the study of alterations in a person’s gene expression due to the way that genes are expressing themselves. And while the genes begin to act differently once they are influenced by the environment, the underlying genetic codes tend to remain the same.

Recently, it was found that tea and epigenetics can be the answer to preventing hormonal imbalance in the body and therefore, also preventing adrenal fatigue syndrome (AFS). In fact, a study conducted by Uppsala University found that tea consumption among women has led to certain epigenetic changes among genes that are known to interact with estrogen metabolism and cancer.

Moreover, a study that was conducted by the National Cancer Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and University of Southern California also found that consumption of green tea can readily influence the enzyme that metabolizes estrogen in the body. In fact, urinary estrone and estradiol levels were found to be significantly lower than those who are only drinking tea less than one time a week.

This finding is quite significant since estrogen balance in the body can readily affect the effectiveness of your stress response.

NEM Hormonal Circuit system

Typically, when the body experiences stress, it deals with it by way of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response System. This system is composed of six system circuits that readily respond to stress by triggering certain actions among organs and body systems.

One of the circuits involved in the NEM stress response is the hormonal circuit. This circuit is made up of the thyroid, adrenal glands, and the person’s gonads. Together, they regulate the body’s hormone response through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis.

The moment the body experiences stress, the body responds by secreting several hormones. This includes cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands.

Cortisol, however, has a precursor hormone, which is known as progesterone. Since progesterone is a type of hormone that can readily change its structure, it can immediately be converted into cortisol when the body encounters stress. Typically, this conversion stops soon as the stressful episode ends, and the body functions return to normal.

In the case of chronic stress, however, the progesterone continues to be utilized to the point that the body becomes depleted of the said hormone. Because of this, it also disrupts the progesterone-estrogen balance in the body.

pills and blackboard with the word estrogen on it correlating it to tea and epigeneticsSince progesterone is depleted, an environment of estrogen dominance is created. And when the estrogen levels become too high in the body, the thyroid glands become unable to work properly. This disruption can take place despite normal hormone levels of T3 and T4 in the thyroid glands.

And once the thyroid glands stop functioning properly, it also affects the adrenal glands’ ability to produce cortisol. Because of this, the body wouldn’t have enough cortisol to handle stress.

Meanwhile, elevated estrogen levels in the body can also trigger an abnormality in one’s levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. In fact, a study conducted by the California Animals Hospital has found that having an elevated estrogen level can contribute to cortisol abnormality in the body. On the other hand, a study conducted by the University of California and the University of Birmingham in the U.K. has found that administration of estrogen can lead to elevated levels of cortisol in the body.

If abnormal cortisol levels persist, the body can go into a state of significant hormonal imbalance. And if nothing is done to reverse the situation, this imbalance can eventually result in adrenal fatigue syndrome.

Helpful Tips in Improving Your Body’s Estrogen Metabolism

As you can see, there is a crucial link between tea and epigenetics when it comes to adrenal fatigue that you should take note of. Hence, making it a point to drink tea more regularly should help improve your body’s estrogen metabolism and help you avoid adrenal exhaustion.

If you are not used to drinking tea, however, keep in mind that it is best to consult with your physician before taking anything first. This is because you may have an allergic reaction to tea, which can cause symptoms such as body swelling, red eyes, runny nose, hives, and even headaches. Some teas can also be very stimulating as they contain different herbs or caffeine, so people with adrenal fatigue syndrome should be extra careful about the teas that they drink. Hence, it is best to take an allergy test before you start consuming tea.

That said, here are some helpful tips based on tea and epigenetics, along with other guidelines that can also help improve estrogen metabolism in your body:

Drink some green tea regularly

picture of a tea set with tea and epigeneticsGreen tea, in particular, has been found to be rich in anti-aromatase properties. Aromatase refers to an enzyme that would readily turn testosterone in the body and create more estrogen in the process.

At the same time, green tea is also rich in antioxidants. This can help protect your body’s cells from any damage due to an excess in estrogen. It must be noted, however, that green tea does contain some caffeine, which may be more than some can take, especially if in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue.

Explore the different varieties of green tea

When it comes to green tea, you would also be glad to know that there are several varieties which you can enjoy. And they all possess certain nutrients that are good for your overall health.

Here are some of the most common ones that you can try:

  • Sencha
  • Sencha green tea is one of the most common varieties available. Sencha leaves are typically grown in direct sunlight and get harvested during the first or second flush of the leaves. According to tea experts though, it is the first flush that makes for a better quality tea. Meanwhile, this particular variety of green tea is also known to have a high vitamin C content.

  • Matcha
  • Matcha leaves are typically air-dried before being ground into a fine tea powder. Because of this, it is quite easy to incorporate matcha into ice cream, baked goods, and even cakes. Matcha is known to possess rich amounts of nutrients, making it effective in flushing out toxins from the body and rejuvenating the skin.

  • Genmaicha
  • Genmaicha green tea is quite unique because it is green tea that has been brewed with roasted brown rice. Hence, you get a slightly toasted flavor with every sip. Moreover, genmaicha is said to be great at soothing the stomach especially after you have consumed fried foods.

  • Tencha
  • Tencha tea leaves typically don’t undergo the rolling process, unlike other types of green tea. Because of this, you get relatively larger leaves, which tend to have high levels of various minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. This is perhaps why this tea has been known to improve one’s metabolism.

  • Gyokuro
  • Gyokuro green tea is known for its sweet flavor. This tea is particularly rich in the amino acid theanine, which is known to help improve metabolism. At the same time, tencha tea is also known for promoting healthy tissue growth and glowing skin.

Avoid using boiling water on your tea

Whenever you prepare a cup of tea, avoid pouring boiling water directly onto the tea leaves or tea bags. Doing so has a tendency to burn the leaves, along with its nutrients and natural flavor. Instead, it is better to wait a few minutes after boiling the water before you pour it into your tea. This allows the temperature of the water to naturally drop to 140 to 185°F. This way, you will get to enjoy the tea’s flavor and beneficial properties better.

Know how to properly steep your tea

When you properly steep your tea, you allow flavor to develop well in your drink, making each sip more pleasurable. At the same time, taking the time to steep your tea properly also ensures that all the nutrients in the tea would flow from the leaves to the water.

Typically, the steep time would differ depending on the type of tea that you are brewing. For black tea and yellow tea, you normally need to steep for around three minutes. Meanwhile, for green tea, the ideal steep time is three to four minutes. For oolong tea, the steep time is slightly longer at three to six minutes. Meanwhile, white tea takes the longest time to steep and you will have to wait around seven to nine minutes to make the perfect cup.

Add some lemon to your tea

When you add lemon and other slices of citrus fruits to your tea, you get a lot more antioxidants in you drink. This will go a long way in protecting your body against any excess estrogen damage. At the same time, citrus fruits also contain the compound D-limonene, which helps your body metabolize estrogen better. In addition, citrus fruits are high in fiber and help promote better gut health.

Be careful about what you add to your tea

man putting sugar into his tea is not considering the effects of tea and epigeneticsOn its own, tea is known to possess significant phenolic or antioxidant activity. However, what you add to your cup may also destroy the antioxidants and reduce the tea’s nutritional value. In a study conducted by Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, it was found that adding sugar to tea can significantly compromise its antioxidant activity. On the other hand, it was found that adding milk to tea can enhance the tea’s antioxidant activity.

Avoid consuming too much sugar with your tea drinks

Consuming foods that are high in sugar has been found to readily turn off the genes responsible for regulating both estrogen and testosterone. Hence, it contributes to more imbalance problems in your body.

If you intend to drink tea as bubble tea, it would help to have it unsweetened. Also, be careful about what else you add to your tea. Typically, tapioca pearls and various jellies are made using a lot of sugar.

At the same time, iced tea mixes also typically contain a significant amount of sugar. Hence, it is much better to avoid consuming them. And in case you wanted to enjoy iced tea while dining out, it is best to ask for the syrup to be served on the side.

Follow these tips and your estrogen metabolism should improve soon enough. Take note of how your body can benefit from tea and epigenetics too, when it comes to preventing adrenal fatigue. Go ahead and make some positive changes in your life. After all, you deserve to be healthy and happy.

© Copyright 2019 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

A recent research regarding tea and epigenetics has found that tea can readily alter one’s genes and allows for better metabolism of the hormone estrogen. This helps prevent excess estrogen in the body, which can cause cortisol abnormality. Hence, the mechanism of epigenetics due to tea can prevent adrenal fatigue.

tea and epigenetics