How Deficiencies of Potassium, Calcium, and Vitamin C Can Lead to Adrenal Fatigue
Nutrient deficiencies can affect multiple organ systems and possibly lead to adrenal fatigue. You need important minerals (including magnesium, calcium, and potassium), trace minerals (including zinc, chromium, and selenium), and vitamins.
It is very important to get your intestinal tract on track before supplementing nutrients. If your gut is leaky, your intestine’s ability to absorb these nutrients is compromised.
Potassium and calcium
Potassium and calcium often work together with magnesium. They’re absorbed in the small intestine, and deficiencies of one of these minerals can affect the levels of the others.
Potassium is important for the health of your cells, especially in your nerves and heart. Very low or very high potassium levels can have detrimental effects on heart function. Calcium is important for heart and bone health. Like magnesium, calcium and potassium are important for the cells of the adrenal glands to function.
With the Western or standard American diet, potassium levels tend to be on the low side. The same is true for calcium. For most folks in Western society, these levels aren’t low enough to cause symptoms. Fortunately, your healthcare practitioner can order blood tests that tell you whether your potassium and calcium levels are low.
Green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of both potassium and calcium.
When you go to see the doctor, your blood work will probably show that your calcium level is normal. What the tests won’t indicate is that your body may be leaching calcium from your bones to maintain normal levels in the blood.
Your body’s natural tendency is to try to balance mineral levels in your blood whatever way it can. Plus, the modern diet is very acidic, and that acidity can serve as a stimulus for leaching calcium from bone.
Like vitamin B5, vitamin C is vital for adrenal gland function. Did you know that one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in your body is in the adrenal glands? It’s found in both in the adrenal cortex and in the adrenal medulla.
Vitamin C is necessary for the production of steroid hormones and the hormones of the adrenal medulla, including epinephrine and norepinephrine. A research article from the journal Endocrine Research in 2004 suggests that depletion of vitamin C can also affect the functioning of the mitochondria in the adrenal cortex.
Vitamin C is also important for bone health and the production of collagen (important for joint health) as well as for many cellular reactions. It’s one of the best antioxidants to help protect the cell from damage from inflammation.
Scurvy is a condition caused by total body depletion of vitamin C. It’s characterized by anemia, fatigue, and mouth ulcerations. Scurvy was more common in the distant past, but it’s rare today.
One of the best food sources for vitamin C is fresh citrus fruits. Other foods include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts.