Acidity, Alkalinity & the Adrenal System
An acid-forming diet has been proven to lead to chronically elevated cortisol – the ‘stress’ hormone produced by the adrenals (1, 2, 3). When we constantly bombard our body with acid-forming foods, our body has to constantly go to work to neutralize the excess acidity and keep the pH of your blood and other fluids (and several organs) at 7.2.
It is the stress of constantly regulating this pH that leads to the body breaking down and suffering (and then the onset of health conditions) and one of the most common consequences of this is the knock-on to your adrenals via a constantly elevated level of cortisol production.
If we remove the volume of acid-forming foods and replace them with more alkaline-forming foods (such as vegetables and low-sugar fruits, healthy fats, nuts, seeds and so on) then we remove the requirement for the body to keep on balancing this pH level and the excess cortisol production disappears.
If there’s only one thing you take away from this list, just chill.
The best way to support the adrenals is to try to support the whole endocrine system – as it’s so inter-linked…but these few steps can help really pinpoint the adrenals to get some immediate results:
1. Avoiding Caffeine
Caffeine, while fine in moderation once your body and diet is in balance, is particularly stressing to the adrenals. Caffeine stimulates neuron activity in the brain. Each time you drink a cup of coffee, your brain sends messages to your pituitary gland which in turn alerts your adrenals to pump out adrenaline and cortisol – two things we need less of while we’re healing the adrenals.
2. Going Green
As diet-induced acidosis is a direct cause of excess cortisol production, we need to reduce the acid load in the body and provide the body with a consistent flow of alkaline-forming foods. Green leafy foods are THE most alkaline foods on earth and not only provide this pH boost (and break from acid-buffering) but also are the most overall nourishing foods – rich in an abundance of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and more that will support the whole endocrine system and help the body get back into balance. Here’s a guide to getting a few extra serves of greens a day, and some interesting research on WHY greens are the most important foods to include.
3. Minimize the Impact of Stress
We can’t ‘avoid’ stressful situations, that’s out of our control and trying to manage things outside of our control only creates more stress. What we CAN do is help our body to be able to better handle stressful situations that come along and to help it to repair from the damage stress has caused to the body.
And to help your body to repair and heal from the effects of stress, I would highly recommend getting a green juice or smoothie daily. These are alkaline, nourishing and packed full of goodness.
4. Lots of Healthy Fats and Oils
Healthy fats are critical to helping your body to heal from the effects of elevated cortisol.
Aim to get approximately 3 tablespoons of omega 3 daily, from supplements, nuts, seeds, green vegetables (again), chia, healthy oils such as flax, homemade salad dressings and so on. PLUS aim to get around 1 tablespoon of coconut oil per day – it’s AMAZING for your pH balance, endocrine system, digestive system and more.
5. Get Alkaline Minerals and Supplements
Your adrenal health NEED the right balance of electrolytes/minerals – which just to happen to all be alkaline: calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride. Alongside cortisol, another hormone called aldosterone is greatly affected by adrenal fatigue.
Aldosterone is responsible for the regulation of fluid retention, fluid release, regulation sodium and potassium levels in the body and many other tasks. But the most important here is the regulation of sodium and potassium. If this gets out of whack it not only deeply affects the adrenals but also has a huge impact on your blood pressure. Providing your body with an adequate amount of these alkaline minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and so on removes this risk of imbalance or chronically low mineral levels and assists the body in repairing and to rebalance.
6. Start Having this Juice!
The other place to start if you have (or suspect you have) adrenal fatigue and the access to fresh ingredient, is THIS JUICE! The ingredients are alkaline, mineral rich, antioxidant rich and support the full recovery and repair of not only your adrenals but your entire endocrine system.
Knowing that it can be hard to get all of the greens, minerals and rest needed to keep your adrenals well looked after, there are a number of supplement options available that help to short-cut the process. This Alkaline Trio-Pack is the ideal starting place if you are time poor or don’t have the option of fresh fruit and veg’ each day.
1] Karim Z, Attmane-Elakeb A, Bichara M. Renal handling of NH4+ in relation to the control of acid-base balance by the kidney. J Nephrol. 2002 Mar-Apr;15 Suppl 5:S128-34. (link)
2] Welbourne TC. Acidosis activation of the pituitary-adrenal-renal glutaminase I axis. Endocrinology. 1976 Oct;99(4):1071-9. (link)
3] Robey IF. Examining the relationship between diet-induced acidosis and cancer. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012; 9: 72. (link)