Adrenal Glands: Fatigue & Salt Cravings

The adrenal glands, positioned in the human body on top of the kidneys, play a critical, life-saving role in the body. One of their many functions is to supply the body with stress hormones, especially cortisol. When you are under too much stress over a prolonged time, however, your adrenal glands can become tapped out, leading to adrenal fatigue or exhaustion. Fatigue and salt cravings are two classic symptoms of adrenal fatigue, along with the host of other symptoms and ailments that can come with this condition.

A pile of salty potato chips. (Image: GooDween123/iStock/Getty Images)

Adrenal Fatigue

When your adrenal glands are forced to handle too much stress of any kind, such as physical or emotional, you can develop a condition called adrenal fatigue, also known as adrenal exhaustion or burnout. Symptoms can include unrelenting fatigue that is not relieved by sleep, salt cravings, difficulty focusing, poor memory and inability to cope with stress. Various home tests, such as testing your blood pressure when lying down and then standing up, can help to determine whether you have adrenal fatigue. Taking a saliva cortisol test and consulting with a qualified health practitioner are also valuable ways to determine a diagnosis.


Fatigue and lethargy are common adrenal fatigue symptoms and can be debilitating. The fatigue tends to be even worse in the morning, and people who suffer from adrenal dysfunction have trouble getting up in the morning. If you have adrenal fatigue, the fatigue you experience might subside as the day goes on and into the evening, especially if you are farther along the road to recovery. If you have adrenal fatigue, you might experience salt cravings, which is caused by low sodium in the body, and inadequate aldosterone in the body causes low sodium.


The solutions that help the fatigue you experience from adrenal fatigue can also be helpful in resolving the salt cravings, because any strategy that is healing the adrenal glands typically helps with all adrenal fatigue-related symptoms. Adding about half to one teaspoon of salt, such as Celtic sea salt, to a glass of filtered water, especially in the morning, can be highly beneficial, says Dr. Michael Lam, a specialist in preventive and anti-aging medicine. Also, you can salt your food to taste throughout the day with Celtic or comparable salt. One reason why unrefined salt is so beneficial to adrenal fatigue sufferers is because it contains dozens of essential trace minerals.


For the fatigue that comes with adrenal fatigue and for overall healing, getting adequate sleep and rest is critical to your recovery. Ideally, you should be in bed by 10 p.m. and should stay asleep until 9 a.m. whenever possible. Take breaks for resting throughout the day by lying down and even taking naps. Do not push yourself, and eliminate the energy drains from your life, such as toxins and negative relationships. Avoid standard table salt, and opt for unrefined, unprocessed salt, such as Celtic sea salt. A highly nutritious diet and certain nutritional supplements and herbs can also assist your adrenal glands to heal. As you gradually recover from adrenal fatigue, your symptoms, including fatigue and salt cravings, should resolve over time.

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