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Aldosterone is another hormone we may not think much about, but it is absolutely vital for our everyday functioning – particularly keeping us hydrated with proper mineral balance. However, if left unchecked, aldosterone in excess can cause a cascade of health issues – particularly inflammation, high blood pressure, heart disease, and mineral depletion. If Aldosterone gets too low, you may have trouble holding onto critical electrolytes.

Aldosterone is not what your doctor would usually test, even though it can tell you a lot about your health. However, you can request it from your doctor and plug your test results into Lab Test Analyzer. You will find all the information you need about your aldosterone values, such as if your levels are optimal. And if they are not, it will tell you how to get there, using evidence-based lifestyle, diet, and supplement tips.

Aldosterone Pic

Overview of Aldosterone

Aldosterone is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands. It is known as a “mineralcorticoid”.

Aldosterone helps the body retain sodium and water and excrete potassium, which results in higher blood pressure.

Aldosterone has a daily rhythm to it, where it increases toward the end of the sleep phase, before early morning (before cortisol rises) (R).

High blood levels of potassium signal the body to raise aldosterone production.

Aldosterone works in opposition to atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) produced in the heart, which excretes sodium and lowers blood pressure.

If aldosterone gets too low or too high, disease can result. Thus, it is very important for this important hormone to stay in balance.

Aldosterone’s role in fluid balance is within the context of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS), which keeps our body fluids and blood pressure in strict control.

When cells in the kidneys recognize a reduction in blood flow (lower blood pressure), through a cascade of events, angiotensin I is produced. The angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) then converts it to angiotensin II, which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce aldosterone.

Prorenin—>Renin—>Angiotensinogen—>Angiotensin I (+ACE)—>Angiotensin II—>Aldosterone.

ACE inhibiting drugs are used to block the angiotensin-converting enzyme, resulting in lower aldosterone and lower blood pressure.

Conditions Associated With High Aldosterone

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  • Autoimmune Disease (R)
  • High Blood Pressure (R)
  • Cardiovascular Disease (RR2) -Including Congestive Heart Failure, Coronary Artery Disease, and stroke.
  • Chronic kidney disease (R)
  • Osteoporosis (RR2)
  • Conn’s Syndrome – High blood pressure with an adrenal mass (R). Other symptoms include low potassium in the blood, increased blood volume, and abnormally alkaline blood (aldosterone increases acid secretion).

Conditions Associated With Low Aldosterone

  • Chronic Inflammation – Particularly TNF-alpha and Interleukin 1 (RR2).
  • Aging – Aldosterone levels naturally decline with age (R).
  • Age-related hearing loss – Also associated with age-related Potassium depletion (R).
  • Addison’s Disease – A disease of inefficient steroid hormone production (R).

The Good

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Aldosterone increases CD8+ cells (R), so it can be good for controlling viral infections like EBV. Therefore, it could potentially help people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Aldosterone may also be beneficial for some types of inflammation like Uveitis (in animal models) (R) and may block the Nf-kB-induced TNF-alpha in blood cells (R).

Aldosterone is required for the body to make cysteine dioxygenase, which is important for the Sulfation pathway of Phase 2 detoxification. Sulfation is the addition of a sulfate to a drug/toxin and most often it makes it less toxic.

Chronic inflammation in the form of TNF and TGF-b decreases the enzyme that turns cysteine to sulfate (cysteine dioxygenase), which results in higher cysteine and lower sulfate.

Normally, aldosterone increases calcium reabsorption (R).

The Bad

Aldosterone is overall not a good hormone to have a high level of.  It’s implicated in many chronic diseases and can contribute to inflammation.

In particular, aldosterone increases IL-6IL-1b (R), TNF (R) and induces Nf-kB, the master control switch of inflammation (R).

Aldosterone promotes Th17 immunity (R), which is especially bad for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease, and chronic inflammation in general.

In fact, some researchers conclude that aldosterone could actually promote the onset of autoimmune disease (R).

Aldosterone is particularly bad for the heart. It increases inflammation (ICAM-1, VCAM-1, TNF, IL-6, and CRP ), fibrosis, oxidative stress, vessel dysfunction, and prevents regeneration of new cells in our blood vessels.

Prolonged exposure to high aldosterone and cortisol induced by chronic stress, significantly reduces hippocampal CB1 receptor binding site density, leading to lower cannabinoid function (R).

High aldosterone can deplete the body of Magnesium (R) and Potassium (R).

Aldosterone in excess can deplete the body of Calcium, leading to osteoporosis (RR2).

High aldosterone is a major cause of high blood pressure (R).

Monitoring Your Aldosterone Levels

You can request that your doctor test your aldosterone. Conventional doctors will look at high or low aldosterone levels and not mention anything. Sometimes, a lab result may be in the reference range, but not actually be in the optimal range. Reference ranges are not the same as optimal ranges. This is why even aldosterone in the ‘normal’ range can be unhealthy and indicate that certain processes in the body aren’t optimal. Lab Test Analyzer will let you know if your aldosterone levels are optimal and what you can do to get them there if they aren’t.

Aldosterone levels are influenced by your genes. If you’ve gotten your genes sequenced, SelfDecode can help you determine if your levels are high or low as a result of your genes, and then pinpoint what you can do about it.

If you’re sick and tired of guessing about your health, SelfDecode can help you find specific answers that conventional doctors/diagnostics may never uncover.

Potential Causes of High Aldosterone

  • Stress and Anxiety (R).  When the fight or flight nervous system is activated, aldosterone is increased. ACTH part of the mechanism by which the nervous system increases aldosterone (R).
  • Elevated CCKCCK (a gut hormone) increases aldosterone secretion in humans and rats, which will increase blood pressure and cause salt retention (R).  People with IBS are more likely to release too much CCK in response to a fat-rich meal (R).  Lectin Consumption may also cause elevated CCK: In rats, legume lectins (and probably others) cause increased secretion of CCK (R). In men, beans also increased CCK release, and the study attributes that to fiber (R), but I say it’s also because of lectins.
  • Magnesium inadequacy (RR2)
  • Zinc inadequacy (R)
  • Low blood pressure (R) – if you have low blood pressure, the body tries to compensate and bring up aldosterone.
  • Potassium supplementation (R)
  • Acidic blood (R)
  • High histamine levels – Strongly stimulates the secretion of aldosterone (in dogs) (R)
  • Presence of an aldosterone-producing tumor (R)

Potential Causes of Low Aldosterone

  • TNF Inflammation (even a relatively low level) decreases aldosterone synthesis in response to ACTH (precursor of cortisol) (R).
  • IL-6 Inflammation – Was associated with low levels of aldosterone in cancer patients (R).
  • IL-1 Inflammation (even a relatively low level) decreases aldosterone synthesis in response to ACTH (R).
  • High Atrial Nutriuretic Peptide (ANP) – Inhibits aldosterone release (R). ANP has exactly the opposite function of the aldosterone in regard to its effect on sodium in the kidney – that is, aldosterone stimulates sodium retention and ANP generates sodium loss.

How to Decrease Aldosterone (Inhibitors)

Natural ACE Inhibitors Function to Decrease Aldosterone:

  • Chitosan (R)
  • Whey Protein/casein (R)
  • Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) (R)
  • Rose (Rosa damascene) (R)
  • Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) (R)
  • Tea/EGCG (R)
  • Kaempferol (R)
  • Ginkgo (R)
  • Quercetin (R)
  • Black Currant (R)
  • Genistein (R)
  • Apigenin (R)
  • Luteolin (R)
  • Blueberry leaf (R)
  • Green tea (R)

What Increases Aldosterone

  • Salt avoidance – Decreasing salt increases aldosterone more than 3 fold in healthy people with normal blood pressure (R). But not too much… (conflicting?) Excess salt can raise Aldosterone (R, R2).  High sodium increases aldosterone in certain rat models (R).
  • Potassium increases aldosterone. For dietary potassium you can eat avocados, dates, bananas, tempeh and veggies. This approach is theoretical and there are no studies. You can also take a Potassium supplement, but use care (R).
  • Licorice Root (R) I recommend this for exercise headaches, which are often caused by low sodium. My exercise headaches were caused by an aldosterone insufficiency (caused by too much ACE inhibition and other endocrine abnormalities), which excreted sodium from my body when I exercised and specifically when I sweated. This loss of sodium put me in a quasi-hyponatremic state, which caused a vasodilatory headacheLicorice root powder stops the breakdown of cortisol and aldosterone, causing increased vasoconstriction (increasing blood pressure). 
  • Sauna (R)
  • Physical exertion/exercise (R)
  • Lactate (from exercise) (R)
  • Progesterone cream (R)
  • Calcium (R)
  • NSAIDs like Ibuprofen – Can keep aldosterone from being broken down (R, R2)
  • Address TNF, IL-6, and IL-1 inflammation (R, R2R3).
  • MSH (R)
  • ACTH (R)
  • Pathways: Renin (R), Angiotensin II (R)

Migraines/Headaches After Exercise

Low aldosterone will cause low sodium.

Exercise normally increases aldosterone by increasing ACTH, which normally tells our body to conserve salt.

However, if we have inflammation, then aldosterone production will be limited and if we sweat a lot and drink a lot of water it can cause low levels of sodium/salt in the body and symptoms of hyponatremia.

So if you have low aldosterone post exercise, you will have low sodium, especially if you’re sweating a lot, and this can cause exercise headaches.

Irregular Aldosterone Levels?

If you have not yet tested your aldosterone levels, I recommend that you ask your doctor to do it. If you already have your blood test results and you’re not sure what to make of them, you need to check out Lab Test Analyzer. It does all the heavy lifting for you. No need to do thousands of hours of research on what to make of your various blood tests.

People don’t realize that their blood test results contain a gold mine of information that’s waiting to be unearthed. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or the inclination to sift through dozens of research papers.

It’s super-simple, so that even if you don’t have any background in science, you will understand what your results mean and what you can do to get them in the optimal range.

Lab Test Analyzer gives you up-to-date scientific information about your lab results. In addition, you will get both lifestyle tips and natural solutions to help you optimize your health. You can also rely on our science-based Optimal Ranges to prevent potential health issues and maximize your overall well-being.

All of the content is backed by science and researched by a team of PhDs, professors, and scientists.

We’re all unique, so we deserve solutions that treat us that way.

Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick

At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.

That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:

  • Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
  • SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
  • SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
  • Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
  • Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
  • Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
  • BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
  • SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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16 COMMENTS

  • Eric Messersmith

    I suffer from the same issue. What polymorphisms due you have? Have you found any solutions? I consume quite a bit of salt. I have heard that grapefruit is also helpful.

  • Cara Scott

    I’m not sure you should decrease salt in cases of low aldosterone. Most of the literature says you’re supposed to INCREASE it.

  • Brett
  • Curious

    Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is another syndrome associated with low aldosterone.

    http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/111/13/1574

  • Sharon King

    Can you have high blood pressure and low aldosterone?

  • Chante

    What was the cause of your high aldosterone and how was it diagnosed? I have high aldosterone every time it has been checked but I have low blood pressure, not high. So I’m always confused about if I should be eating more salt or more potassium. I suspect I have low potassium because it’s being depleted. I get lightheaded from exercise.

  • siyabonga

    what is the role played by aldosterone during exercise

  • Jennipher

    To Anna, I have hyperaldosteronism and was just diagnosed this April after almost dying from my body being depleted of potassium due to too much aldosterone. Many doctors do not think of this problem and I struggled with hypokalemia for years and even had doctors accuse me of not taking my potassium supplements they prescribed! I am a Caucasian female so I would say your doctor is way off base and because of doctors like him, I suffered needlessly for years when the problem could have been corrected had it been diagnosed properly.?

  • Anna D

    My doctor said that only African Americans have alderstone problems. Is that true to your knowledge? Thanks.

  • Mfon Amana

    how does water affect aldosterone? I rarely get thirsty and I am unclear on how affects thirst signal and the fact that not much of the water we drink enter our cells

  • phil zwinksmancockteauston

    I put licorice in my hair

  • Jake

    Be careful with licorice if you’ve got hypertension, it will raise Na and lower K

  • vae victis

    Hi Joseph,

    I considered Chitosan as a cheaper way than N-A-Glucosamine (expensive) to bind the most common dietary lectins. As the level of hydrolisis of the product could make differences on the bioavailability of the glucosamine and chondroitin parts, would you advise chitosan for this particular problem ?

    Also, what about mushroom powder with lectin foods ? Are they enough complex saccharides in mushrooms to bind the lectins in a classic potato meal for exemple ?

    Kudos for one of the most advances websites on self-healing

  • MachineGhost

    But what about when you have high cortisol and low aldosterone? You can’t use licorice in that case. Suggestions?

  • Craig

    Thank you for your site and podcasts. Is aldosterone concidered a mineralocorticoid rather than a glucocorticoid?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Whoops mineralocorticoid. It has minor glucocorticoid activity.

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