How to Manage Potassium and Calcium Depletion for Adrenal Fatigue Treatment - dummies

How to Manage Potassium and Calcium Depletion for Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

By Richard Snyder, Wendy Jo Peterson

If you have adrenal fatigue, you’re likely deficient in one or more minerals essential for health. Chronic inflammation, diet, and intestinal dysbiosis are common reasons for mineral depletion in adrenal fatigue.

To overcome a mineral deficiency, the first step is to change your diet. If dietary changes aren’t enough, then supplementing is reasonable. However, you won’t get the full benefit of nutrient supplementation unless you change your diet, because supplements alone can’t treat adrenal fatigue. Dietary changes are crucial in restoring total-body health and the health of your adrenal glands.

Here is some information about potassium and calcium deficiencies:


Most adults don’t consume enough potassium in their diets. Many healthcare practitioners recommend that the average adult consume approximately 4,000 to 4,500 milligrams of potassium a day. If you have certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease, the amount of potassium that you consume will likely need to be less. Speak with your healthcare practitioner concerning the amount of potassium you should be consuming on a daily basis.

Leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of potassium. However, after testing, your healthcare practitioner may tell you that you need a prescription potassium supplement. A good prescribed form is potassium chloride. Because it comes in capsule form (as opposed to tablets, which tend to be large), it’s easy to swallow, and it’s usually well-tolerated.

Another option for potassium replacement is potassium iodide. Many people are deficient in iodine, which they need for adequate thyroid function, so the combination of potassium and iodine is useful. Speak with your healthcare provider to see whether this form of potassium replacement may be the right one for you.

Oral potassium supplements usually come in pill or capsule form. One common prescription form is potassium chloride. Potassium is measured in the blood in units of milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L); common prescription doses are usually 10 to 20 mEq taken twice daily. This dose may need to be modified, depending on your potassium needs.

Your healthcare practitioner will order blood work to follow your potassium levels and make adjustments to how much potassium you need to take.


In the setting of adrenal fatigue, getting adequate calcium is necessary to help offset the negative effects of sustained cortisol production on your bone health. In general, most adults require about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. If you’re over the age of 50, the daily calcium requirement increases to 1,200 milligrams a day.

Choose your calcium wisely. Your best bet is to increase the amount of leafy green vegetables in your diet, because they’re generally good sources of calcium. Seeds and nuts also have excellent calcium content. Many of the same foods are also an excellent source of magnesium.

Yogurt can be an excellent source of calcium as well.

A study from the journal Nutrition Research in 2013 reviewed the many beneficial health properties of yogurt. The authors concluded that people who consumed yogurt on a daily basis had better levels of calcium, potassium, and trace nutrients compared to those who did not. They also noted that regular yogurt intake helps to improve blood pressure, lower blood glucose levels, and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

You should minimize obtaining your calcium from a dairy-derived calcium supplement, pending further study in this area. A few studies have suggested that taking calcium in this form may increase the risk of developing heart disease as well as increasing the risk of developing calcium in the blood vessels (also known as vascular calcification).

If your healthcare practitioner advises that you take calcium supplements, know that several nutraceutical companies have developed vegetarian forms of calcium; vegetarian sources may be better absorbed and handled by the body. Some even combine calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals and vitamins, including vitamins C, D, and K2.

Many supplements combine calcium and magnesium. One big advantage of this combination is that it minimizes the potential side effects of both supplements. Calcium is known to cause constipation, and magnesium is known to cause diarrhea. If you take calcium and magnesium together, the gastrointestinal effects tend to cancel each other out.

If you need to supplement your calcium intake, look for a vegetarian calcium formulation. Many formulations contain calcium doses that sum to 800 milligrams.

For example, in one common vegetarian formulation of calcium, four capsules is the equivalent of 800 milligrams of calcium; you should two capsules twice a day. Again, speak with your healthcare provider. Depending on your dietary intake of calcium, the amount of calcium supplementation you require may be more or less.