Conditions: Adrenal fatigue & Electrolyte Balance

Adrenal fatigue is not generally a recognised medical condition, plus it can throw out a myriad of different and confusing symptoms.  It often affects a person with fast metabolism and high energy or someone living on a hectic timetable.

The Adrenal Cortex releases mineralcorticoids (a class of steroid hormones) which regulate body fluid concentrations. E.g. aldosterone modulates the delicate balance of minerals in the cell, especially sodium and potassium.   Stress increases the release of aldosterone, causing sodium retention (leading to water retention and high blood pressure) and the loss of potassium and magnesium.

Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. When the body lacks magnesium, it will suffer from a variety of pathological conditions such as cardiac arrhythmias, fatigue, low vitality, insomnia and infertility.  Calcium blocking drugs are often given to reduce vasospasm in heart disorders and headaches which has many side affects, a better solution would be to increase magnesium uptake naturally.  Calcium causes muscles to contract, magnesium causes muscles to relax.

Supplementing is never a clever solution to deficiency.  This is because the dance between electrolytes in the body i.e. calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and chloride is a delicate balance.  Supplementing short term when you are sure there is a deficiency can work but long term maintenance should be acquired through diet.  Foods rich in magnesium often contain one or more of the other major electrolytes also. Examples are wild greens (see all green salad under news), seaweed, spirulina, legumes and cocoa.  Magnesium is closely related to the functions of the adrenal glands and the stress response – the “fight or flight” response.  Due to this close relationship the nervous system would also need to be treated.  A good nerve tonic such as oats and oat straw tincture and other adaptogen herbs would be beneficial and necessary in addition to lifestyle changes including calming past times such as yoga and meditation.

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