From the Desk of Carolyn Dean MD ND
Minerals play a huge part in the rehabilitation of the major hormone systems in the body: the adrenals, thyroid, and sex hormones. I’ve always referred to them as a three-legged stool. When one of the legs of the stool is shortened, it undeniably affects the other two. This can be seen in blood testing; when cortisol levels go up, thyroid hormone levels go down.
The Pancreas and Insulin
Recently I’ve reconsidered the above hormone triad. I realize I should include another player to make it a quartet by adding the hormone insulin produced by the pancreas. Let me explain why.
In the fall of 2017, I began experimenting with the Ketogenic Diet, the main premise of which is to curb carbs to the extent that insulin is not called into play. Diabetologists all know that insulin causes weight gain, but it took a few doctors with common sense to theorize that if you restrict carbs, you lower insulin and lose weight. That’s because the body switches to a fat-burning mode and away from a continuous cycle of burning carbs, raising insulin, and transforming a portion of those carbs into fat.
When I did an online search for adrenal fatigue, the first links that came up were allopathic websites warning me that adrenal fatigue isn’t a real condition and that there is no “evidence” that it exists. An Endocrine News paper blatantly called “The Myth of Adrenal Fatigue” states that “A literature review” (published in 2016) in BMC Endocrine Disorders found “no substantiation that adrenal fatigue is an actual medical condition. Therefore, adrenal fatigue is still a myth.”
Allopathic medicine does not recognize a new “disease” until and unless it has a drug to treat it.
This literature review gave allopathic doctors all the ammunition they needed to doubt and ignore patients when they described their adrenal fatigue symptoms. Once again, this dismissive attitude by doctors about anything that they did not learn in medical school leaves patients without any support.
The “Myth of Adrenal Fatigue” paper reports that stress does not cause adrenal fatigue because the adrenal hormone cortisol is elevated in people with stress. They argue that if the adrenals were fatigued, then it wouldn’t be producing so much cortisol. What they leave out is the fact that cortisol is the hormone that identifies chronic stress, and as it rises, more weight is gained as a way for the body to cope with stress.
There is an ongoing debate among natural medical practitioners about which comes first, adrenal fatigue or thyroid insufficiency, and which of the two should be treated first. I think it’s a moot point because they are often not looking at one of the main causes of both conditions – mineral deficiency. Mineral deficiency means you should treat the two conditions simultaneously.
Treating Adrenal Fatigue
The treatment for adrenal fatigue begins with two minerals – sodium and magnesium, which are very important for proper adrenal function. If your adrenal glands are weak or depleted, as indicated by exhaustion, low blood pressure, and chronic stress, you are in the throes of sodium and magnesium depletion. However, if you start taking large doses of magnesium without replacing sodium, you may feel even worse. That’s why I recommend ¼ tsp of sea salt in every quart/liter of drinking water. How much water should you drink? Measure your weight in pounds and divide by half – drink that many ounces of sea-salted water daily.
Here Come The Vitamins
Vitamin C levels in the adrenals are very high. That’s why I recommend extra food-based vitamin C and ascorbic acid (1-2 grams a day) for people with adrenal fatigue. Norepinephrine and epinephrine secreted by the adrenal glands boost your energy and put your body on high alert by increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. Of note is that norepinephrine is produced from dopamine, with the help of the amino acids: phenylalanine, lysine, and methionine; minerals: magnesium, and manganese; and vitamins: C and B6. However, the more norepinephrine and epinephrine that you produce the more you are depleting all those nutrient building blocks. Stress robs you of all these nutrients.
Practicing Self Care
The other key ingredient to adrenal health is plenty of rest. I call Lying Down Therapy. It’s a reminder that you can’t “take action” to fix your adrenals. You can’t “tough it out” or “muscle your way through” adrenal fatigue. That’s the worst thing you can try to do. The Type A personality approach will be your undoing. You may require 8-10 hours of sleep and naps to fully recover. It’s extremely important to take care of your adrenals because they are responsible for the production of more than 50 hormones, all of which are essential for proper body function.
Extra sleep, rest, Celtic salt/Himalayan salt/sea salt, and picometer magnesium work to help alleviate adrenal fatigue, but it’s also important to face the cause of your stress and realize your body may be producing physical symptoms as a result of this stress.
An underactive thyroid, as one of the triggers of adrenal fatigue, has its own list of causes, including thyroid receptor blockage due to yeast toxins. Thus, the diet for an underactive thyroid is the same as for adrenal fatigue.
The standard treatment for the thyroid, even for natural medicine practitioners, is to give thyroid replacement therapy. It may be the more natural form of Armour thyroid, but it’s still replacing hormones instead of treating the reason the thyroid became weakened in the first place. In my experience, most low thyroid conditions are caused by mineral deficiency. There are nine minerals necessary for the creation, conversion, activation, and transportation of thyroid hormones. They are iodine, selenium, zinc, molybdenum, boron, copper, chromium, manganese, and magnesium. Taken in picometer form, they can make enough thyroid hormones so that you won’t need thyroid hormone replacement.
The ovaries are also supported by minerals and the proper functioning of the thyroid and adrenals. Waking up DHEA receptors with magnesium lotion stimulates the production of hormones, including the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. I’ve had clients tell me that when they started taking picometer minerals, their bioidentical hormone prescription started working better. Some women have said they no longer needed to take oral or transdermal hormones when they became saturated with magnesium and that makes sense because those minerals are supporting the thyroid and adrenals and taking the pressure off the ovaries.
Magnesium & Menopause
At a time when menopausal women are told to take lots of calcium supplements, the following report offers great hope.
A reader of my blog wrote to me about her experience with magnesium and menopause. She said that in her research she found that most of the thirty-four symptoms of menopause are identical to the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. So, she put herself on a magnesium supplementation regime.
Within three days she began to feel more normal. Her daytime hot flashes had dropped from twenty or so a day to fewer than ten, and they were milder. Her episodes of night sweats fell from more than ten per night to three or fewer. Her insomnia disappeared and her terrible anxiety, rapid heartbeat, and depression all started to fade away, as did skin-crawling sensations and aches and pains. Having suffered progressively with worsening symptoms since entering menopause three years prior, she said that ten days after starting supplementation she was basically symptom-free. She ended by saying, “Magnesium is a miracle, and everyone, particularly menopausal women, should be made aware of it.” Unfortunately, when women of menopausal age are prescribed calcium and no magnesium, their menopausal symptoms can become worse.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future