Aldosterone and

R

enin

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Substances produced by the adrenal glands – and the drugs that are
synthesized as pharmaceuticals to mimic them – are corticosteroids,
but are commonly referred to as “steroids.” This is a totally different
class of substances than the anabolic steroids that cause so much
controversy in the hard body world. Corticosteroids produced in the
body fall into two categories: glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, and
mineralocorticoids, such as aldosterone.

Aldosterone
• Is produced in a different part of the adrenal cortex than cortisol; low
aldosterone may or may not be present with low cortisol
• Is involved in regulating blood volume and influences
• cardiac output
• arterial pressure
• blood pressure
• sodium and fluid balance
• Causes the kidneys to increase reabsorption of sodium and water into
the blood; this increases the volume of fluid in the body, which also
increases blood pressure

Low aldosterone symptoms include:
• Low blood pressure, particularly diastolic
• Dizziness and/or high pulse on standing
• Excess urination
• Excessive thirst
• High temperatures
• Salt-craving
• Palpitations

Low aldosterone can cause:
• Weakness
• Sweating
• Very high heart rate

The inability to hold on to salt due to low aldosterone can cause
chronic dehydration resulting in:
• Brain fog
• Headaches
• Bad vision
• Difficulty thinking

Low aldosterone is treated with fludrocortisone. High potassium with
low sodium and possibly high chloride can point to the need to test
aldosterone.

Keep in mind that electrolyte imbalance can have contradictory affects.
Low potassium can cause low aldosterone symptoms and potassium
supplementation may be all that is necessary to correct it. High
potassium can give the same symptoms as low aldosterone; raising
sodium intake when aldosterone is low can further suppress
aldosterone.

Looking at electrolyte balance is always the first step. There are even
times when balancing sodium and potassium is all that is needed to
address low aldosterone symptoms.

When sodium is low and potassium is high, these home tests can help
determine if low aldosterone is at issue.

If the home tests suggest low aldosterone, blood serum testing should
be done. Aldosterone testing requires a specific protocol.

It is possible to appear to have adequate aldosterone but still have
symptoms because of aldosterone resistance. This is most frequently
seen in women with low estrogen and high progesterone, as
unopposed progesterone can cause aldosterone resistance. From the
day of ovulation until just before the beginning of the menstrual period
progesterone builds to a peak. The day menstruation starts,
progesterone plummets to its monthly low. Progesterone, being a
precursor to aldosterone, has many of the same effects as aldosterone.
Progesterone can actually mimic aldosterone and cause aldosterone
resistance by binding to aldosterone receptors. However, progesterone
does not fully turn on the aldosterone receptors.

Progesterone also can cause cortisol resistance by the same method.
Testing sex hormones in late luteal phase (right before a menstrual
period is due) will show if the progesterone peak is too high or out of
balance with estrogen.

Renin
In a chemical process that includes the kidneys, liver and lungs, renin
controls the production of aldosterone.

Usually, renin is high when aldosterone is low, indicating the body is
asking the adrenals to produce aldosterone. With adrenal fatigue, the
whole system may not work properly, making the renin number harder
to evaluate.