One classic yet often intense sign of adrenal fatigue is salt cravings. In addition to the sugar cravings that go along with adrenal insufficiency, the salt cravings may make you feel as if your palate has developed schizophrenia. If you find yourself wanting to salt your food before tasting it or often crave salty foods, it may be an indication of your need for electrolytes. You may also want to have tests done to assess the likelihood of adrenal insufficiency. Drinking purified water over a long period of time without the addition of electrolytes will usually exacerbate the symptoms of adrenal fatigue as the lack of electrolytes flush even more vital minerals right out of the body.
The adrenals aid the body in mineral balance through a mineral corticoid called aldosterone. Aldosterone regulates fluid and electrolytes ( magnesium, potassium and,sodium chloride ) in the blood, in and between the cells of the body. As adrenal fatigue progresses, the production of aldosterone decreases. This causes “salt-wasting”. As the salt is excreted by the kidneys it flushes water with it leading to electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. The body tries to compensate for the electrolyte imbalance by craving salt. The chemical reactions caused by these imbalances cause numerous other health issues in the body. The symptoms of adrenal fatigue and the accompanying dehydration can also be the symptoms of a host of other health problems including depression, cardiac insufficiency, behavior and memory problems, arthritis, infertility and many more chronic illnesses.
Those with adrenal fatigue should always add high quality sea salt such as Celtic Sea Salt to their water. Table salt will not work in this case as it is highly refined and devoid of magnesium and trace minerals. Unless you have very high blood pressure or kidney disease, adding 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to a glass of warm water first thing in the morning, at noon, and in the evening will help restore electrolyte balance while your adrenal glands heal and your aldosterone levels return to normal. High quality sea salt contributes, not only to adrenal health but also in the alkalinity of the body.
Beware of soft drinks and electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade or Lucozade as they are high in potassium and low in sodium which is the opposite of what someone with low cortisol needs. Commercial electrolyte drinks are designed for those who produce high cortisol when exercising, not for someone who produces little or no extra cortisol during exercise such as those with adrenal fatigue. You need to add ¼ to 1 teaspoon of celtic sea salt to a glass of water or eat something salty to maintain fluid/electrolyte balance.
It bears saying many with adrenal fatigue can also have thyroid issues (either hyper or hypothyroid) and/or other hormonal imbalance. In fact, with severe adrenal fatigue often thyroid and hormonal disturbances present themselves. We will be addressing thyroid issues and hormone issues in coming posts.
I recommend also drinking spring water, buying it in 5 gallon reusable bottles, of course, as most of this water has naturally occurring minerals. Drink spring water throughout the day can support mineral balance in the body, and, since it is not only those with adrenal fatigue that need to stay hydrated in the heat of the summer, everyone could benefit from drinking extra water. For those of you who have a hard time choosing water over soda, try having some fruit water on hand or freeze berries and herbs in ice cubes for a refreshing twist on staying hydrated.
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