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The Adrenal Cocktail: A Pick-Me-Up Worth Trying?

An image of a pair of handsIf you suffer from chronic stress, you probably would like to know what can help you. With all of the symptoms associated with chronic stress, there is not one thing that fixes everything. However, supporting your adrenals is a good place to start, because these glands are essential in making the hormones you need to deal with stress. An adrenal cocktail is one way of making sure you are getting the nutrients you need to maintain hormone and electrolyte balance in your body. It can provide energy, support hydration, and help counter fatigue.

Your Adrenal Glands

To understand what an adrenal cocktail does, you need to understand the role of your adrenal glands. Located just above your kidneys, the adrenal glands work to regulate certain hormones that serve vital functions in your body.

Cortisol, aldosterone, and adrenaline, are the key hormones regulated by your adrenals, to control your energy level as well as respond to stress by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. They are part of your "fight or flight" response. As long as these hormones remain balanced, your body will function well. However, if an imbalance occurs, symptoms related to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) appear.

Adrenal fatigue occurs when long-term or severe stress depletes your body's ability to make the hormones needed to handle the stress. Your "fight or flight" system is not in an active state all the time, and it inhibits the "rest and repair" system, which is necessary for good health.

AFS symptoms may be something you barely notice at first, but they can increase in severity over time. For example, if your blood pressure drops due to insufficient aldosterone, brain fog can develop. This makes it difficult for you to perform mental tasks, concentrate, and complete routine activities.

How Stress Affects Multiple Systems of Your Body

In AFS, chronic stress overwhelms your adrenals with demands for more cortisol, the stress-fighting hormone. When your adrenals become overwhelmed, they can no longer produce sufficient cortisol. They prioritize making cortisol over other key hormones, using up the building blocks for those hormones. At this point, multiple imbalances can result as the body experiences shortages of different key hormones.

The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response describes how these inter-related systems work together to fight stress. It consists of six inter-related circuits with three organs or systems in each that work to keep your body in balance. As stress increases, one or more of these circuits can become dysfunctional, resulting in significant symptoms. Due to their inter-related nature, what affects one circuit will affect others as well.

Balanced Hormones Require Balanced Minerals

In order to maintain a balance in your hormones, you must also keep your mineral intake balanced. For example, to maintain good levels of aldosterone you need a balance of sodium and potassium.

An active transport process of bringing in potassium and removing sodium maintains equilibrium inside your cells. The ideal ratio of sodium to potassium inside your cells is 1:16, for equilibrium.

However, the typical American diet can be a problem here because it contains much more sodium than potassium. A large study in the US showed that most people consume about half of the recommended daily potassium dose. This affects the transport mechanism involving sodium and potassium in your cells and as a result, more sodium leaves your cells with water. Consequently, your cells get dehydrated and become deficient in sodium and stop functioning adequately. Your adrenal cells also become affected due to electrolyte depletion, leading to insufficient aldosterone levels that, in turn, cause fatigue.

People often try to compensate for this by drinking sugary or caffeine-laden drinks. However, these cause a spike and crash in blood sugar that can worsen fatigue. An adrenal cocktail, on the other hand, works to restore the balance in minerals.

At certain times of the day, typically between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. or between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., your body’s supply of adrenal hormones naturally runs low. If your mineral levels also run low, your body can not make more of the needed hormones. This results in fatigue causing morning and afternoon slumps. This makes drinking an adrenal cocktail even more important during those time periods.

Other Consequences of Imbalanced Hormones

An image of a woman drinking a glass of waterIn addition to the dehydration of your cells and the fatigue that occurs due to low adrenal hormones, the low adrenal function can affect thyroid function as well. When that happens, it increases the severity of fatigue.

Overall, an imbalance in your hormones can produce many symptoms that relate to AFS. These include:

  • Hair loss
  • Slumps in the afternoon
  • Dry skin
  • Low libido
  • PMS
  • Irregular menses
  • Infertility
  • Feeling cold when others feel warm

When low adrenal function affects your thyroid, your body conserves energy by slowing your metabolic rate. This can often lead to stored fat, particularly around the middle of the body.

All of these symptoms indicate dysfunction of the hormone circuit of your NEM stress response.

In addition, when your thyroid becomes dysfunctional, the metabolic circuit of your NEM gets involved. Dysregulation here can lead to dyslipidemia, sugar cravings, and central obesity or significant weight gain around the middle of your body.

If these symptoms become more advanced, it may lead to reactive hypoglycemia and Type 2 diabetes.

Inflammation brought on by consuming excess sugar as a way to overcome morning and afternoon slumps may have the potential for brain involvement. If your level of inflammation continues to increase, your risk of developing depression also increases.

Likewise, with increasing inflammation comes the increased likelihood of developing leaky gut, food sensitivities, inflammatory bowel disease, and musculoskeletal pain of unknown origin. You may find yourself more vulnerable to infections, slow to heal, and developing autoimmune conditions.

All of these potential consequences of imbalanced hormones are reasons to make sure you start supporting your adrenals now when they need it. And an adrenal cocktail is a good way to do it.

What Is An Adrenal Cocktail?

An adrenal cocktail is a drink containing key vitamins and minerals. It works to build up the minerals that your body needs to make essential hormones. It helps to balance the sodium and potassium ratio, feed your cells and fight fatigue. Therefore the adrenal cocktail increases electrolytes in your body to help with processing nutrients, communicating cell to cell, and dissolving nutrients properly.

Consuming a diet composed of protein, healthy fat, and nutrient-dense carbohydrates will help get your body the nutrients it needs. Eating more vegetables can provide you with the minerals and vitamins necessary. In addition, adding foods that increase your intake of vitamin C, B vitamins, and magnesium will support your adrenal glands.

Another way to get these vitamins and minerals is to make an adrenal cocktail.

Why An Adrenal Cocktail Is Good For You

The main health value of the adrenal cocktail involves potassium. It contains the co-factors required for potassium to work at its optimum and help in cell absorption.

Vitamin C

An image of a glass of orange juiceOrange juice provides the vitamin C needed to help your body in many ways. One primary reason your body needs vitamin C concerns its ability to heal your body from stress-related damage. It also helps the liver to absorb glucose, needed for its regeneration.

Your adrenal glands can store and use vitamin C to make their hormones. When you come under stress, the adrenals’ use vitamin C to make more cortisol and other hormones. Therefore, this vitamin needs replenishing frequently.

When your adrenals become fatigued as they do in AFS, they actually strive to produce more cortisol. Consequently, with your body making more cortisol and flooding your system with it without sufficient vitamin C, you may begin to experience problems with your blood sugar, out-of-balance blood pressure, and an accumulation of body fat around your abdomen.

Sea Salt

Sea salt does not contain iodine and contains trace minerals that your body needs for electrolytes. Table salt with added iodine carries a key mineral that is important for thyroid health. Both types of salt are important electrolytes that your cells need to process fluid throughout your body.

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar, the common name for potassium bitartrate, is high in potassium, containing 14% of your daily value in a teaspoon. It comes as a white powder that dissolves in water and acid. It dissolves well in citrus juice. When you make the adrenal cocktail, make sure you mix it completely so the cream of tartar doesn’t stick to the bottom of your container.

Adrenal Cocktail Recipe

This recipe for an adrenal cocktail is simple and easy. It involves three simple ingredients.

  • 4 oz of orange juice, fresh squeezed and organic preferred but not required
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon of sea salt

In addition, you can add other ingredients to make variations of the adrenal cocktail. You might add:

  • collagen, grass-fed preferably, to add more amino acids.
  • Himalayan pink salt for its 84 essential minerals to help nourish the adrenals. It does not contain iodine.
  • full or low-fat coconut cream or organic grass-fed heavy whipping cream. These ingredients help you feel full longer and aid in stabilizing blood sugar.
  • lemon or cranberry juice instead of orange juice. Coconut water contains a good amount of potassium. You may need to add vitamin C powder.

Drink the adrenal cocktail once or twice a day. Some people say drinking it an hour before or after a meal works best. Others suggest drinking it at those times when your mineral levels are naturally low, either in the morning at about 10 o’clock or afternoon at about 2 o’clock.

You can start with one adrenal cocktail per day to see how your body reacts. Be aware that people with adrenal fatigue tend to be more sensitive to adding new foods or supplements compared to others, so gauge how your body's response is. Start low and go slow. If you have any paradoxical reactions, stop right away.

Potential Contraindications

An image of a tablespoon of tartarA major possible contraindication regarding the adrenal cocktail involves cream of tartar. It may contain sulfites, which are potent allergens for some people. One component of cream of tartar, tartaric acid, comes as a byproduct of winemaking. Winemaking uses sulfites. Therefore, some cream of tartar may contain sulfites and could cause serious symptoms.

If you suffer from asthma, your chances of reacting to sulfites fall between 1 in 20 and 1 in 100. Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction to sulfites include:

  • Nausea
  • GI distress
  • Asthma
  • Hives and itching
  • Hay fever
  • Upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Inflammation
  • Nasal congestion
  • Skin rash
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Autoimmune responses
  • Headaches
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Flushing
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble breathing

In addition, orange juice contains a significant amount of sugar. And sugar promotes inflammation which may worsen your AFS symptoms. To counter this, you can substitute the orange juice with lemon or cranberry juice.

Given that sodium raises blood pressure, please monitor your blood pressure when you take the adrenal cocktail, especially if you are hypertensive.

In addition, another potential complication can occur if you consume too much potassium. Because people who suffer from AFS can experience subclinical dehydration much earlier than others, the potassium-sodium balance gains in importance. Increasing potassium levels lead to decreased sodium in your body. Therefore, your cells may swell. Such a condition can become serious quickly.

As a result, your blood pressure may begin to fall. With AFS, this condition may occur more quickly than in healthy individuals, much like subclinical dehydration. Since blood pressure fluctuations accompany AFS, additional stress on your blood pressure can lead to significant health issues. If you experience AFS, you may want to speak to an AFS-aware medical practitioner before increasing your potassium intake.

Conclusions Regarding the Adrenal Cocktail

Low adrenal function can lead to some very significant health problems. Some of these involve the symptoms related to AFS. With the fatigue of your adrenal glands that gives the condition its name comes difficulties that are not recognized by conventionally trained medical professionals. Therefore, you may receive treatment designed to address only the individual symptoms and not the root causes of your condition. Some of these remediation efforts may actually make your condition worse.

Therefore, knowing about the adrenal cocktail and how it works to address the root causes of some of your symptoms becomes very important. The adrenal cocktail is a simple, yet effective way of bringing some important hormones in your body back into balance so your overall health improves.

What Can You Do?

If you are suffering from an imbalance in sodium and potassium as a result of a lack of necessary minerals, here are a few things you can do to alleviate the situation:

  1. Drink an adrenal cocktail one to two times daily away from food.
  2. If you want to avoid the sugar in orange juice used in the cocktail, substitute lemon juice or cranberry juice.
  3. You can add or modify ingredients to vary the cocktail without taking away from its effectiveness.

Whatever option you choose, however, please do so with the guidance of your healthcare professional who can help you decide on options for the cocktail and help you decide about potential contraindications.

If you would like to know more about or need assistance with the adrenal cocktail, the team at Dr. Lam Coaching can help. We offer a free** no-obligation phone consultation at +1-626-571-1234 where we will privately discuss your symptoms and various options. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.

© Copyright 2021 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

The adrenal cocktail is a mixture of several simple ingredients that work to build up necessary vitamins and minerals to support your adrenal glands. One of the more important aspects of this drink is its ability to help balance sodium and potassium in your cells.

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