Adrenal insuficiency or Dyssfunction



The adrenal glands
are small but very powerful glands that sit atop each of your kidneys located in
the middle of your back. They are really two separate organs combined into one
location - the outer portion called the adrenal cortex and the inner portion
called the adrenal medulla. The focus of this text is on the adrenal

The cortex serves
primarily a hormonal function - among the main functions of the adrenal cortex
are the regulation of the mineral metabolism (sodium, potassium, chloride),
water balance, metabolism (utilization and distribution of carbohydrates,
protein, and fat), allergic and immune reactions (such as hypersensitivity,
allergies, and autoimmune diseases), and production of the male and female
hormones (progesterone, testosterone, estrogens, DHEA, etc.).

Some of the signs
of adrenal insufficiency are often similar to those found in persons who are
hypoglycemic. Some of the more common complaints reported include:

    • Inability to

    • Excessive fatigue,
      especially in the morning (hard to get going…)

    • Nervousness and

    • Mental

    • Apprehensions

    • Excessive

    • Lightheadedness,
      especially upon standing up quickly

    • Faintness and

    • Insomnia
    • Frequent

    • Intolerance to stress

  • Patients with low
    adrenal cortex function may have hypoglycemia (or disturbed carbohydrate
    metabolism) although not all hypoglycemic patients have low adrenal function. A
    low flat glucose tolerance curve obtained from an oral glucose tolerance test
    suggests hypoadrenocorticism but can also reflect reactive hypoglycemia, some
    form of allergy, gouty or rheumatoid arthritis, or schizophrenia.

When patients receive
support for their adrenal cortex (such as with Adrenal Cortex Extract
injections), they often report improvements in arthritis, pain in shoulders and
back muscles, allergies, premenstrual problems, headache, migraine, ringing of
the ears, tension, depression, suicidal thoughts, nervousness, apprehensions,
noticeable heart action (palpitations), gastrointestinal problems, heat
exhaustion, and an inability in handling stress.

The following
physical findings suggest low adrenal function.

  • Skin thin and dry
    or scaly, pigmentation of temples, red palms or fingertips, and cold clammy

  • Deep Tendon
    Reflexes are exaggerated.

  • Lymph Gland
    of the neck (swelling, pain, or tenderness).

  • Blood Pressure is
    usually low, and drops upon standing (105/60) and then elevated to (120 or
    130/70 or 80) on reclining (postural or orthostatic hypotension).
    change from low to higher when lying down may be the reason why many patients
    find it difficult to fall asleep. It is conducive to falling asleep to lie in a
    semi-reclining position for 15 or 20 minutes. Another way to describe postural
    hypotension is that there may be a sudden drop in blood pressure to below normal
    upon suddenly arising from bed, or from standing still, causing temporary
    darkening of vision, dizziness, light-headedness, faintness, or fainting.

  • Body Conformation
    is of the thin muscle-type (this is called asthenic habitus).
    The typical
    person is also tall with an angular appearance but a shorter person may have
    what we call "signs of tallness" - a moderately long neck, an index finger
    longer than the 4th (ring) finger, and a 2nd toe longer than the big toe. There
    are long arms and legs, and the arm span is greater than the height.

  • Hair is sparse on
    the body but there is usually a full head of fine and abundant hair. The typical
    person is blond and blue eyed, or red headed. A tall, thin blonde with skin
    allergies can be diagnosed immediately.

  • Dentition shows
    crowded lower teeth with a high palatal arch (roof of mouth).

  • Pain and
    tenderness over adrenal area of mid-back when pressure is applied (called
    Rogoff's sign).

  • Urination is
    either very frequent in small amounts or infrequent in large amounts.
    person usually does not do well in the heat or in the summer, particularly in
    conditions of high temperature, high humidity, and low barometric

  • Scanty
    perspiration (except under arms or hands and feet).
    This person may be a
    "salt loser" (the tendency is to lose salt and to retain potassium). The urine
    and perspiration of the salt loser is saltier than normal and there is
    consequently a greater salt concentration on the skin. Animals are attracted to
    the salt on the skin, and often the low adrenal patient will be a favorite of
    animals to lick.

  • Ankle and/or
    Finger Swelling.
    John Tintera, M.D. was an early pioneer in recognizing and
    treating adrenal insufficiency. He wrote that salt is a diuretic and that
    hypoadrenocortics (patients with low adrenal cortex function) retain fluid
    because the body is trying to hold onto the salt. When enough salt is consumed,
    the body takes what it needs and excretes the rest. If the ankle edema is due
    to insufficient salt, the edema will usually disappear in three days after
    taking adequate salt. If it does not disappear in five to six days, potassium
    may also be needed. Vitamin B6 is also helpful for edema not only because it
    has a diuretic effect but also supports the adrenal cortex.

  • The Importance
    of Salt

For the person with
depleted adrenals sunbathing on the beach can have devastating results. The
salt loser that attempts to function on low salt does not understand why he
feels faint, or is suddenly unable to function in the heat, or he feels his mind
is cloudy and his energy gone. He may become very weak, tired, and depressed.
Salt is needed for the electrical function of the heartbeat, to make
hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and for the fluid around the cells. Sodium is
the principal fluid outside of the cell (extra-cellular fluid) and as a result
affects the proper function of all cells. The nerve cells of the brain, and
consequently all of our emotions, are affected by the salt levels. Adding
enough sodium chloride (salt) to the diet may be all that is needed for some

Even other types of
conditions, like kidney disease, need "some" salt and should have a moderate
amount. According to Richard H. Ahrens, Ph.D. of the USDA and an Associate
Professor of Nutrition at the University of Maryland, salt use does not cause
hypertension as is frequently claimed. There should be no salt restrictions
during pregnancy and no diuretic use. If there is edema in pregnancy, extra
salt brings about diuresis. It can be a serious mistake for an individual to
avoid salt for no apparent reason. For any loss of body fluids - excessive
perspiration or urination, vomiting or diarrhea - the lost salt must be
replaced. A person with undiagnosed adrenal dysfunction (who is therefore a
salt loser) on a salt restricted diet may be slowly deteriorating as the result.

There appears to be no
food that naturally contains more sodium than potassium and therefore salt must
be added to the diet. This is why Gandhi led the revolution in India. Salt is
essential to life. In Addison's Disease, where there is a complete non-function
(atrophy) of the adrenal cortex, patient's can suffer from prostration, die from
excess perspiration or a diet high in potassium or low in sodium.

To find the amount of
salt you need, gradually increase your salt intake until you find the amount you
feel best on - usually 2 to 10 grams or roughly 1/2 teaspoonful to 1
tablespoonful. After determining the amount, try to cut back and see if that is
just as effective. The addition of a small amount of sugar actually helps you
absorb salt. In fact this is the basis for many popular electrolyte replacement
products like Gatorade. Some individuals may also need potassium.

There are several
types of salt – table salt, Sea salt, Himalayan, etc. Many may suggest using
sea salt, but in the larger amounts that hypoadrenocortics need, there is some
question of possible overdose on trace minerals. The name trace minerals means
one needs only a trace amount. The main minerals and electrolytes such as
calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, iodine, and zinc are
needed in larger amounts on a regular basis. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt is
plain sodium chloride without additives. When dissolved in water, it results in
a clear solution indicating no additives. Himalayan Salt is unique in its
crystal properties and has a different taste than other salts.


The adrenals have a
close connection with the sex glands, the ovaries and testes. The adrenal
cortex produces about 25% of the estrogenic hormones in women and 65% of the
androgenic hormones in the man. The inability of the adrenals to produce the
additional sex hormones may result in the flat chested female or the sparse
chest-haired male. In patients in their thirties or older may also have an
absence of hair on the lower two-thirds of the legs, which is not due to being
worn off by the trousers as is supposed.

There can be a great
variation possible among the large numbers of adrenal steroids, causing a
person's individual physical characteristics to vary widely from the typical.
These variations may bring on precocious sexual development in boys and girls.
They also cause changes in adults in psychological makeup and direction of
sexual desire, or can actually produce feminism in men and masculinity in
women. This of course does not have anything to do with sexual

rarely exists without involvement of other glands and organs. The liver must
detoxify each and every substance in the body. This includes not only
medications and drugs, but also hormones produced by your own body. Thus the
effectiveness of the adrenal in part depends on the efficiency of the liver.
The laboratory tests commonly called "liver function tests" in fact do not tell
how the liver is functioning but rather only tell if the liver is inflamed or

Stress and the

It is absolutely
necessary to remove the dietary stress, sugars, excess or processed starches,
caffeine, alcohol, stimulant drugs, and as much nicotine as possible. To
rejuvenate the adrenal cortex extra vitamin C, salt, and fat - both saturated
and unsaturated is needed. Avoiding animal fats, as seems to be the popular
thing to do, is avoiding the kind of fat adrenal hormones, estrogens and
androgens are made from. The adrenals contain more vitamin C and cholesterol
than any tissue in the body. Avoid or reduce excessive heat, cold, overwork,
lack of sleep, arguments, diseases, and the like. Oxygen is necessary for the
utilization of glucose by the body, and proper breathing must be practiced. Rest
periods and relaxation is necessary with a bedtime no later than 11 p.m.

A discussion on stress
should include recognition of Dr. Hans Selye. His classic work on stress
The Stress of Life, McGraw- Hill Book Co., N.Y.) and his many other
publications report "that our various internal organs, especially the endocrine
glands and the nervous system, help to adjust us to the constant changes which
occur in and around us. He calls this adjustment the General Adaptation
Syndrome. Selye concluded that the adrenals were the body's prime reactors to
stress. He stated that the adrenals "…are the only organs that do not shrink
under stress; they thrive and enlarge. If you remove them, and subject an animal
to stress it can't live. But if you remove them, and then inject extract of
cattle adrenals (cortex), stress resistance will vary in direct proportion to
the amount of the injection, and even be put back to normal." Likewise a
person's stress resistance will vary with the competence of his adrenals, but
continually stressing the adrenals finally depletes them.

As with all chronic
conditions, there are five things that must be addressed in order to be

  • Give the body the
    nourishment it needs to heal itself. n this case, vitamins C, B5, and B6,
    salt, and select minerals are often required. More specific nutritional support
    is usually necessary at least in the initial treatment phase.

  • Avoid those things
    or activities that will make you worse.
    Stress, sugar, and caffeine top the

  • Detoxify or
    de-infect something that needs to be removed from the body in order to heal. Hypoglycemia, as is the case in many patients, often is associated with
    yeast overgrowth from excess sugar intake.

  • Release unresolved emotional conflicts.
  • Align and Restore
    Neural Pathways and Structures

The above is from Dr Kaslow at