Salt For Adrenal Fatigue. Can it Make you Worse?

By on January 2, 2016
Salt for adrenal fatigue, can it make you worse?

Salt for Adrenal Fatigue? Is it helpful, or can it make you worse? While there are a lot of websites out there suggesting taking sea salt for adrenal fatigue, someone recently wrote me stating that sea salt ‘stimulates’ fatigued adrenals, and therefore it’s like ‘beating a dead horse’ and that refraining from taking salt would allow the adrenals to rest.

She stated that she got this information from a book entitled ‘We Want to Live’ by Aajonus Vonderplanitz. While I have not personally read the book, and am not going to comment on the book itself,  or whether the reader was correct in what it said, I am merely going to comment on and discuss the facts about her take on sea salt being an adrenal ‘stimulant’ such that it is bad for some people with adrenal exhaustion or adrenal fatigue.

Salt for Adrenal Fatigue?

Of course, the internet is rife with discussions of the use of salt for adrenal fatigue. Interestingly, there is a virtual consensus of sites discussing this subject; almost every one states that it is beneficial. I could not even find a site saying that those with adrenal fatigue might be harmed by this dietary intervention. So, limiting the discussion to those with credentials or those claiming expertise on Adrenal Fatigue,  here is a rundown of some sites discussing the benefits of sea salt for adrenal fatigue:

  • The Adrenal Fatigue Solution Website on their Adrenal Fatigue Diet page suggests the importance of staying hydrated.  And suggests that adding sea salt to the water one drinks will ‘take it a step further’.
  • Ebenezer Wellness gives a Salt Protocol for Adrenal Fatigue, touting it’s benefits for the condition.
  • Natural Cure Remedy discusses the benefits of sea salt on their Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue page.

What Does the Science Say About the Benefits of Salt for Adrenal Fatigue

However, none of these sources venture into why or how using sea salt might be beneficial or detrimental to someone with adrenal fatigue. For that, we looked to other sources that provided a more scientific explanation.

  • Dr. Wilson is one of the foremost doctors who proposes that adrenal fatigue is an issue. He’s literally ‘written the book’ on adrenal fatigue. On his blog post, Salt, Aldosterone and Adrenal Fatigue, he proposes that low aldosterone levels in adrenal fatigue tend to make one lose salt, and therefore salt needs to be replaced in order to maintain electrolyte balance.
  • Dr. Hedburg, in his blog post, The Thyroid, Adrenal, Pancreatic Axis, agrees that low aldosterone has it’s place in sodium losses, going so far as to say that low salt diets “put a major stress on the adrenal glands…”.

Looking at the scientific literature, it’s clear that those with confirmed adrenal fatigue, such as lab rats that have had their adrenals removed 1 will often crave and eat large amounts of salt. Addison’s disease, a serious disease in which adrenal function loss is almost complete, is often presumptively diagnosed in those with continual cravings for large amounts of salt 2.

In fact, there is even a case of a small child who ate salt ‘by the handful’ who died upon admission to the hospital where they gave him a ‘normal’ hospital diet low in salt. Upon autopsy, it was discovered that a tumor had destroyed his adrenal glands3. This implies that there is some component of salt that can help support adrenal hormone loss, and humans and animals intuitively understand this and eat more salt for adrenal fatigue.

While table salt has been processed chemically to be nothing but the chemical NaCl, which most people think of as ‘salt’;  in nature, real salt, such as Himalayan Pink Salt, is a treasure trove of minerals. In fact, this craving for salt could be a Sign of Magnesium Deficiency, and the eating of salt the body’s way to attempt to relieve this deficiency.

Salt Helps Maintain Homeostasis

Indeed, all animals have the ability to take in food and nutrients that they need through cravings. One study stated,  “Recently we have found that rats with various endocrine deficiencies can make dietary selections which compensate for their deficiencies” 4. This is called ‘homeostasis’ and it is the reason that animals become hungry and thirsty, and even why they seek out particular foods, such as those with adrenal fatigue typically seeking out salty foods like potato chips and pretzels.

In nature, it’s clear that animals without adrenal function crave salt, and can even die without it. So it should not be such a stretch of the imagination that there is something in salt that is supportive, rather than detrimental to those with adrenal fatigue. Science, at this point, seems to support the use of salt as beneficial for those with adrenal fatigue. So, at this point, it would be up to someone stating the contrary to prove that taking natural, mineralized salt, such as Himalayan Pink Salt is detrimental for those with adrenal fatigue, as all of the evidence I can find supports its beneficial effects in those with adrenal dysfunction.
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About Kerri Knox, RN

The author is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner. With 20 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in both Conventional Medicine and Alternative Medicine. She can help you to to find and repair the underlying causes of chronic illness, while empowering you to take charge of your own health. She is the owner and author of this blog and website.

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