The outer cortex of your Adrenals produces the hormones cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, DHEA, androstenedione and the estrogens. All of which are vital and important players in your health and well-being. When your adrenals become fatigued they don’t make enough DHEA and cortisol and in some cases not enough aldosterone. Aldosterone helps regulate levels of sodium and potassium in your body, it helps you retain needed salt, which in turn helps control your blood pressure, the distribution of fluids in the body, and the balance of electrolytes in your blood.
If aldosterone gets too low, as in adrenal fatigue patients, their kidneys will excrete too much salt, and it leads to low blood pressure; low blood volume; a high pulse and/or palpitations, dizziness and or lightheadedness when you stand; fatigue; and a craving for salt. Other symptoms can also include frequent urination, dehydration, sweating, a slightly higher body temperature, and a feeling of thirst, besides the craving of salt, low potassium levels.
A salt-restricted diet only makes low aldosterone levels worse. Adding sea salt is recommended to all patients with low aldosterone. Recommended amounts daily are 1/4 tsp in water twice a day. If you need more then you might have to consider using the medication called Florinef (see below).
Testing for Aldosterone
You can test for aldosterone by either a 24 hour urine test or a blood test. We consider the 24hr urine test to be the most accurate of the two options. Ideally aldosterone should be around 3.6 pmol/24hr. Sodium and potassium should also be checked at the same time. Aldosterone levels can be doubled if you are pregnant, and are normally a little higher in children than in adults. Women should have their levels checked in the first week of their menstral cycle.
Treating low Aldosterone
As indicated above you should supplement with sea salt (sodium the major electrolyte in extracellular fluids) ¼ tsp in water twice a day and potassium (the main electrolyte inside cells) 1-3g daily.
If this fails to work then you should stop taking the sea salt and try one of the following:
(1) Fludrocortisone acetate, a synthetic derivative of aldosterone, with the brand name Florinef. Excessive salt intake while on Florinef can cause fluid retention and high blood pressure.
(2) Aldosterone 125mcg capsules one to two daily. Available on prescription.