How to Manage Trace Minerals to Prevent Adrenal Fatigue
The three trace minerals here — zinc, chromium, and selenium — are vital to total body and adrenal health. They’re called trace minerals because you need to consume only small amounts of them. Even though only small amounts are needed, many people are deficient in them due to their diet. Replacement of these minerals is important; however, taking too much of any trace mineral can also adversely affect your health.
Zinc is a micronutrient that’s important for many cellular functions and cellular chemical reactions. Zinc has a role in maintaining a healthy immune system, too, and it’s a necessary mineral for wound healing and adrenal function.
Many medical conditions can increase the likelihood of developing low zinc levels, including liver and kidney disease and chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause changes to the intestinal flora, leading to dysbiosis. The reverse is also true: Intestinal dybiosis can directly cause malabsorption as well as be a direct cause of inflammation.
Taking in enough zinc is important because the body doesn’t naturally produce it. You can find out whether your zinc level is low through a blood or saliva test. Symptoms of very low zinc levels can include an unhealthy immune system (that is, increased difficulty fighting off infections), decreased appetite, diarrhea, and losing your hair.
Chromium is an important micronutrient that has several functions, including aiding the cell’s ability to handle glucose and insulin, helping your body process carbohydrates. Adrenal fatigue can be associated with both high and low blood glucose levels.
If you have adrenal fatigue, chromium is important in keeping your blood glucose at a normal level. A chromium deficiency is also considered to be a possible risk factor for developing diabetes and possibly heart disease (though the latter conclusion is more controversial).
Besides higher than normal blood glucose levels, symptoms of chromium deficiency can include increased weakness, muscle fatigue, anxiety, and increased irritability.
Chromium deficiency, like other trace mineral deficiencies, is often due to the Western or standard American diet. Healthcare practitioners opt to supplement this mineral after taking a thorough dietary history.
Selenium is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from free-radical damage. This mineral is important for cell function as well as for maximizing thyroid and adrenal function. It has also been shown to have cancer-fighting effects.
Signs of selenium deficiency can include increased fatigue and increased weakness. Because selenium deficiency is closely tied to thyroid dysfunction, anyone who has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism is often felt to be selenium deficient. In women, selenium deficiency has been connected to reproductive disorders.
Eggs, nuts, and seeds are foods that are very high in selenium.