As well as having a big effect on how you feel each day, adrenal fatigue can change your nutritional requirements too. The inability to hold onto sodium stands out as a hallmark of the condition and means that, unlike the majority of the population, you would benefit from increasing your salt intake. Drinking salt water can help you do this, but it may not be necessary. Consult your doctor for information on your condition.
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A long period of sustained stress can, in some people, result in adrenal fatigue. Dr. Rodger Murphree, a physician who has written a number of books on hard-to-treat medical conditions, explains that tissues within the adrenal cortex may fail following excessive workload. This results in a reduced output of hormones from the gland, and can result in low energy levels, poor concentration, increased allergies, repeated infections, low blood pressure and dehydration.
One of the hormonal changes in adrenal fatigue involves a drop in aldosterone production. Manufactured in the adrenal glands, this mineralcorticoid tells the kidneys to reabsorb sodium that passes through them, increasing the amount held in the body. This actions helps control the amount of water held in the body, as sodium osmotically holds fluid in the space outside of cells. When aldosterone levels drop, so too does sodium retention in the body; this can result in dehydration, frequent urination, low blood pressure and dizziness upon standing. The other symptoms seen in adrenal fatigue occur as a result of lower levels of cortisol and DHEA, which are steroid hormones that the adrenal glands release in response to stress.
Because of the sodium losses that occur in adrenal fatigue, those suffering from the condition may need to significantly increase their intake of this mineral. Found in only trace amounts in normal foods, salt stands out as the primary source of sodium. Although the government recommends reduced salt intake, Dr. James Wilson believes that increasing intake would benefit people with adrenal fatigue. The physician, who wrote “Adrenal Fatigue: 21st Century Stress Syndrome,” points out that salt cravings remain common among his patients and recommends they respond to them.
Drinking Salt Water
Drinking salt water stands out as a quick way to increase your salt intake and may help maintain hydration in the areas outside of the body's cells. However, the taste remains extremely unpleasant for most. Drinking salt water has previously been used to induce vomiting. Dr. Wilson believes that adding salt to your foods should provide sufficient sodium to maintain mineral balance in the body. Following improvements in the health of your adrenal glands and aldosterone output, you may decrease your salt intake without experiencing unwanted symptoms.
- “Adrenal Fatigue: 21st Century Stress Syndrome”; Dr James Wilson; 2002.
- Environmental Illness Resource; Adrenal Fatigue - Dr Murphree's Protocol