Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adrenal Recovery: DIET BASICS

8. Diet BASICS
What to Eat
Eat a healthy, low sugar, complex carbohydrates, low fat diet (cold pressed oils and nuts, seeds, avocado, and olives are good) with plenty fresh fruits and vegetables (at least five 1/2 cup servings per day) and moderate amounts of protein (eat balanced meals and snacks)

Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are foods high in the vitamins and minerals necessary to rebuild your body and strengthen you immune system. The most helpful nutrients are Vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, and essential fatty acids.

Nutritional deficiencies stress the body - get plenty of nutrients
eat enough nutritious food; you need all the vitamins and minerals possible so you can not afford any empty calories

Under stress the body needs far more nutrients than normal (ex. may need ten times the normal amount of vit C)

The fiber in fruit helps the fruit sugar to be absorbed more slowly
eat fruit in moderation - not more than 1/4 of carbs in sugar

Diets low in protein may also cause deficiencies of needed nutrients
good sources of protein are nuts and seeds, dairy food
oily fish, peas, beans, and other legumes, and meats

Eat meat in moderation - you have extra need of protein but will have difficulty digesting meat due to a slow digestive system

Eat organic foods - avoid synthetic chemicals and food additives which are harmful to the sensitive adrenal glands

May crave acid tastes such as pickle juice (due to low stomach acid)

May crave liquorice since it has anti-inflammatory properties; licorice root extract may be helpful

May crave salty foods since your body has a greater need for salt to maintain the electrolyte balance

HOW TO EAT
to keep blood sugar stable eat five or six small meals spaced throughout the day; eat frequent small meals (as needed every 2 to 4 hrs)
large meals especially in the evening may make sleep more difficult;
eat on a regular schedule - do not wait til ill to eat

to keep blood sugar stable eat:
30% of calories of meal from protein
40% from complex carbohydrates
30% from fat (best sources are nuts and low fat oils)

Always eat a good balanced breakfast shortly after getting up

try grilled rather than fried foods

chew your food well; eat slow relaxing meals; will help your slow
digestion to absorb more nutrients from your food

Things to Avoid:
Avoid trans-fats and saturated fats

avoid all “junk” food - your body has been depleted of vital minerals and there has been a build up of toxic metals so you need to rebuild your body chemistry

avoid trying to get a quick fix from sweets - when you are very tired you might feel tempted to boost your energy with sweets try instead fruit and nuts; sweets with reduce blood levels of amino acids which worsen fatigue

avoid excessive carbohydrates especially refined - they stress the body

avoid eating foods you are allergic to - allergic reactions to foods damage the intestines and reduce the absorption of nutrients
avoid foods that you are very allergic to and rotate other foods (eat a variety and not repeat the same food more often than every fifth day; ex. eat it on Monday and Friday; some food might more often)

do not attempt to diet to lose weight ; with a slowed metabolism dieting will drop the metabolism further and may even result in a gain in weight; it will stress your body and increase your fatigue

foods to avoid: food which will stress your body and make you more tired are: highly processed foods, foods containing additives and chemicals, high-fat foods, alcohol, caffeine, and sweets

alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco which are detrimental to adrenal glands; caffeine is especially bad since it over drives the adrenal gland and central nervous system

avoid chemicals in water (filter water)

For those on cortisone medication
avoid high potassium in mornings if taking cortisone medication for this is when your levels of medication will be low (cortisone and aldersterone (Fludocort)

Avoid excessive amounts of high potassium foods if your fatigue is severe since your body will retain potassium with Addison’ disease (if you are taking Fludocort you will need extra potassium to maintain proper potassium to sodium balance)

avoid sugar (even fruit) in morning when meds low

Drink Plenty of Water
Have plenty of fluids (try for eight to ten 8-once glasses of water or 10cups or about a gallon more in hot weather or with exercise), since your body will tend to lose salt and can become dehydrated easily. Plenty of water will also help prevent constipation, which may cause fatigue. Water will also flush out the toxins which have built in your in body and may be adding to your fatigue and muscular paint.

poor quality water lessons the oxygenation in tissues

41 comments:

  1. This is all wrong. Addison patients should avoid magnesium and potassium as their body makes too much of this and can lead to fast acting kidney failure.
    Even when adding florinef, the Addisonians still make too much potassium. I have Addison’s disease and my potassium level runs 4.5 even when on florinef. This is a “high normal”

    Avocadoes are one of the top ten worse things we can eat as the potassium level is extremely high. Do not go near an avocado. Do your researches before you kill someone?

    Magnesium levels still remain high on every Addisonians while they are on Florinef.

    Many of the vegetables which you say to load up on carry high potassium. And as for the vitamin C, orange juice is a huge no-no as well as a vast array of other fruits. Again do your research.

    Licorice eating is a myth as if you are taking corticosteroids your body will overdose!


    Cheese-it’s and chips should be carried at all times in your purse as they are loaded with the necessary salt should you fall into an Addisonian crisis. I use Chex Mix which is 60% less fat than chips but still considered “junk Food”

    ALSO, carry a sweet snack, such as candy bar or chocolate granola bar in case of emergency when your blood sugar drops.

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    1. I am a physician, and I feel the need to set this straight..your body doesn't "make too much potassium".. It is just unable to regulate the filtration of potassium correctly in the kidneys, due to the loss of aldosterone. and carrying sea salt is a much better choice than your highly unhealthy processed food recommendations of "Cheez-it's and potato chips"....

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    2. Thank you Dr. Sheely for replying to this comment and explaining about the need for salt. Though I don't use excessive amounts of salt, I know I must keep an adequate amount of salt in my body or I will become ill. I use sea salt. Hope to see more of your comments in the future.

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    3. My son has has been diagnosed any tips would be welcome

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    4. I thought this wrong as well. I'm so confused right now! I'm type 1 diabetic, addisons, gastricparesis and celiacs disease. I have NO Clue what I can eat. This only furthers my confusion!

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  2. High potassium is not really the case on every Addisonian.
    I'm always low and have to eat regurarely potassium things. And mine gotten low due to side-affects of cortisone so...Each to his own more likely :)

    Besides, eating once in a while something with potassium in it (like banana or kiwi) doesn't really kill you. Just don't eat it every day.

    I went to a dietrician and I've been also put on a high fruit/veggie diet which we need for our bodies to function properly. Cutting out vegs and fruits is just wrong too just cause it contains potassium.

    Agreed to carry a snack with you, only for when your blood-sugar drops.
    But, there are alternatives (which I have to do too instead of snacking) islike a toast or bread with jam for example, it contains enough sugar.
    Diabetic people often eat that as well instead of the sugar rush things. It also in the end keeps your sugar stable. With a quick fix you'll quickly drop too again.

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  3. Thinking of you and sorry to hear that you are not able to control your potassium levels even with taking Fludocort and Hydrocortisone.

    Yes, high levels of potassium are one of the ways Addison's disease is detected, but they should be in control after treatment and allow the person to eat a more regular diet. A good diet is recommended to help heal the adrenal glands which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, reasonable protein, fats from nuts, and few sweets.

    I also have Addison's disease and do not produce any cortisone at all, but I have never had much trouble with high potassium levels. Most everything in my body is usually low.

    Every one's body is different. You will find that the standard recommendation for people who take Fludocort is to take potassium. My doctor insists that I take it to remain alive. My potassium level drops severely if I do not take four potassium pills each day.

    You should always check with a doctor before taking anything.

    I can not have orange juice but have other foods high in vit C.

    If I ate candy, it would kill me. My sugar level soar and then crash.

    Salt is a good idea and a long time ago was used to keep people with Addison's alive since we have trouble regulating salt and potassium in our bodies.

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  4. I don't have high potassium either. I eat lots of food high is potassium such as beans, fruit and vegies. Since I take flurocort, it depletes my potassium and I have to take four potassium pills each day.

    I always eat a balanced 40% carbohydrate; 30% fat, 30% protein diet (% calories)
    I have fruit with my meals; never separately. I never have any other sugar other than in my fruit or my blood sugar will soar then crash.

    I rarely need to eat between meals unless I am very stressed or exercise a lot.

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  6. i was diagnosed a year ago this month the head doc at hospital said i have to take magnesium so now im confused im 35 i have six kids two grandbabies i want to stay as fit and healthy for as long as possible i also have itp i really need some advice it took this hospital a year to find out what was wrong i was in icu for four days if it wasnt for my son i wouldn't be here they just kept sending me home till i was on deaths door...i get cramps alot but try everything i can to keep my salt levels up please any info would be great

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  7. If I understand right, you were diagnosed with Addison's Disease a year ago. It sounds like you were at the point of having an Adrenal Crisis. I assume that you had tests done and they confirmed the diagnosis and the minerals you were low in. When the adrenal gland are not functioning well, they do not produce enough of the adrenal hormone, aldosterone, which regulates the mineral balance in your body and consequently your water levels and blood pressure. (see http://livingwithaddisondisease.blogspot.com/2011/04/dehydration-and-low-adrenal-function.html see my Dehydration and Low Adrenal Function post under Symptoms of Low Adrenal) Since your mineral levels are not being regulated well by your adrenal glands, you might be low in magnesium. I had to take magnesium for a while. It helped to balance my mineral levels and helped me feel better. Most people with Addison's disease take cortisone (hydrocortisone is the type I took) and they also take Fludrocort to replace the adrenal hormone which regulates mineral balances within the body. (see my medication posts). When you have cramps and have Addison's disease, it is a sign that you are near to having a crisis and may need to increase your medication, may need more salt, and may need to cut down stress in your life. Magnesium helps with cramping. Hope this helps. Praying for you. Remember it take time, patience, experimenting, and lots of faith to feel better.

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  8. Thanks for useful and strenghthening info. Esp doet is hard to figure for addisonians i find.

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  9. Is there a more natural way then taking medication?

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  10. A good organic diet is wonderful, but if your adrenal glands have failed, then you must take replacement hydrocortisone. (like a diabetic must take replacement insulin). See my recovery posts; Besides a good diet, moderate exercise, and lowering your stress, some believe that some vitamins and herbs can help strengthen your adrenal glands. They are called adrenal supplements. I have never personally taken them. After 15 years, my body healed to the point that I no longer needed to take medication.

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  11. Hello Cheryl Anne,
    Can you please give me an example of what you eat at each meal time? I have Addison's Disease, Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism and Vitiligo. I take Hydrocortisone, Fludrocortisone and Levothyroxine.
    My diet is poor and even though I've had these conditions for many years, I can barely function at this time of my life. My doctors, including specialists, are of absolutely no help and have no recommendations. I'm overweight, tired and in pain. I will follow a meal regiment with your help.
    Thank you!

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  12. Hello Cheryl Anne,
    I went on line and copied lists of foods in the protein, complex carbs and healthy fats categories. Excited To see the outcome.

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  13. My diet is organic and balanced. I get most of my food at a health food store.
    Breakfast -- 1 cup butternut squash puree; 3 Tablespoons almond butter; salt, mix together and heat 2 min in microwave

    Lunch -- 1 cup vegetable (such as broccoli, spinach, string beans or other non starchy veg), 2 or 3 oz chicken (or fish or beef without fat); 1 cup beans (or 45grams of complex carbs such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread, or brown rice; I found that I did the best with beans since then keep my blood sugar stable and I am not allergic to them),1/2 cup of unsweetened fruit - fresh or frozen; 2 tablespoons of nut butter or 1/4 cup of non-salted nuts or seeds
    Dinner -- same pattern but with different fruit, meat, vegie, and nut
    I liked them all mixed together
    I never had any sugar or artifical sweeters or anything with caffeine. I do not smoke or take any drugs.
    I did the best when I split my lunch and dinner in half and ate half around 11am, 1pm, 4pm, 6 or 7pm
    I drank at least 6 glasses of filtered water daily but not within three hours of bed
    A very filling and satisfying diet.
    Hope this helps.

    Don't get discouraged about losing weight. You will need to nourish your body until you are able to exercise.Build up slowly on your exercise and relax all you can and you should begin to lose weight. Wish you well.

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  14. Also, monitor your hydrocortisone. Too high a dose will cause you to gain weight. They can test your hydrocortisone with blood or saliva tests. I checked my blood sugar and cut my dose of hydrocortisone when my blood sugar started to go up. (under the direction of my doctor).

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    1. Hi Cheryl Anne.. My only brother had diagnosed with Addison's disease when he was 18 now he is 30 years old .yesterday he went through a Addisonian crisis. But by the Grace of Almighty God that he is alright now. I am from Pakistan and we don't have such specialized doctor. I want to contact with you so you can guide me about this disease and the precautions that we should do.kindly reply and send any means of contact so I can know thoroughly. Thanks

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  15. The type of doctor to go to is an endocrinologist. They deal with problems of the endocrine system. Adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system.

    Here are some good resources to help. http://livingwithaddisondisease.blogspot.com/search/label/Resources

    Dealing with Addison's Disease requires careful monitoring of medication and eliminating as much physical and emotional stress as possible.

    When you symptoms become worse, you must increase you medication and/or cut out stress. If you carefully monitor your health, you can usually avoid adrenal crisis.

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  16. Hello,
    I've been a dx Addison's pt w/ Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism since Dec 2007. I have never learned so much as I have today! Thank you for your posting and sharing about it. Im constantly fatigued & my weight has crept up over the years. I was told I'm pre-diabetic now too. I didn't know my blood sugars could be affected by the Addison's Disease. My regular doctors & in ER over a recent fractured arm sure didnt understand anything about what Addison's Disease causes. I have a lot of homework to do. I've had 2 strokes & a heart ablation, now have A-Fib. I'm on many meds due to the numerous problems. 1st stroke at age 35 then 6 yrs later another. I'm a mess and scared since doctors don't get it.
    Please help me if you can. Thanks Cheryl Anne

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  17. You might want to see my articles on Monitoring Medication. I had to take Fludrocortisone and Potassium to keep my blood pressure from getting too low or high. I also had to take the right amount of hydrocortisone.
    An Endocrinologist is the type of doctor who deals with problems concerning the endocrine system. You will need a very knowledgable doctor to help you deal with both Addison's and Hashimoto's.

    If you take too much hydrocortisone your blood pressure and your blood sugar can go up. I also had to eat very carefully with only complex carbohydrates (see Diet ). Under stress (such as a fractured arm), you need to take more hydrocortisone to keep your blood pressure stable.

    You might want to discuss your problems with a doctor who understands Addison's and Hashimoto's diseases and ask his help to get your medication doses just right for you. They can do blood tests to help determine the amount of medication you need. Don't give up!
    When your medications are in control you should be feeling fairly well.

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    1. Thank you for your help. I've been busy with my family. Two deaths back to back and ee are trying to sell our home and relocate two states away due to my fiances job. Drs there should be more helpful. I will be marrying by the end of the month & on his insurance. Drs will be more available to me. I'm disabled & only have medicaid currently. It's been disappointing to be treated so badly here in TX. KS took care of me regardless of my insurance. I never have been seen by an orthopedic Dr for my arm. I think it's a real shame. Thanks for your advice!

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  18. I was diagnosed with Addison' s in 2009. I suffered for 3 years before I was diagnosed.My question is what is the best thing to do if you get sick with a stomach virus? I have an emergency shot and drink lots of Gatorade as its the only thing I can tolerate.What else can I try to eat and drink. I have been in the hospital for this very thing before. Thanks.

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  19. As you have done, extra salt and extra medicine are required. Discuss amount with your doctor. I took 5 to 10mg more of hydrocortisone each dose (if I didn't keep it down, I took more). Lots of liquids, clear soups are good, applesauce, soda crackers. See what works for you. Take the flu seriously. You can become dehydrated if you don't and go into a crisis. Hope you are better now.

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  20. I am 66 year-old and have lived with Addison's disease since I was 17. I now am having much more trouble with lowering potassium levels. I have reduced my need for thyroxin since starting Keto diet 5 months ago but need to take more florinef and really have to watch what vegetables I eat. I have much less joint pain eating keto but find it hard to be interested in more than two meals a day. I snack on nuts, olive oil and high fat cheese since I am also lactose intolerant. Since being on keto style regimen I had my first scoop of ice cream this week and felt fine. It would be nice if keto could help out my non-producing adrenal glands. Take heart and listen to your body.
    Claudia Hammerberg

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    1. Claudia, are you doing the Keto diet under your doctor's supervision? I was only did well when I ate a moderate, balanced diet. Have you had trouble with ketosis? I found that anything which stressed my body, such as unusual diets, made my low adrenal symptoms worse. After a lot of effort and prayer, my adrenal glands have healed and I am totally off medication (done under my doctor's supervision.) I found that I had to avoid foods with high sugar levels. If I didn't my blood sugar would rise.

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  21. Hi Cheryl,

    I got addisons for the last 28 years. During my last bloodwork that was done, it showed that I had an increased S-Cortisol of 22. I am using 30mg hydrocortisone divided into 3 doses 15mg, 10mg and 5mg. Should it be advisable to decrease my intake to 25mg (15mg, 5mg 5mg) and later to 20mg (10mg, 5mg, 5mg)

    Suggestions?

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    1. Never decrease your cortisone medication without consulting your doctor. I decreased my dose only under the close supervision of my doctor and only because I was experiencing symptoms of high cortisone levels (high blood pressure, round face, and weight gain.) If you cut your dose of hydrocortisone when you need it, you can become very ill and even die. You must be very careful and use your doctor's expertise to help you. Best wishes.

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  22. "Normal results for a blood sample taken at 8 a.m. range between 6 and 23 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL). Many laboratories have different measuring techniques, and what’s considered normal may vary."http://www.healthline.com/health/cortisol-urine#preparation6
    Are you feeling well? Are you having symptoms of overdose - rapid weight gain, round moon face, blood pressure and blood sugar high?
    Make notes then discuss your test results and how you are feeling with your doctor. Dropping your hydrocortisone dose should always be carefully and slowly done under the direction of your physician. My doctor had me try different doses and times of the day to see what felt best for me. Getting the medication right is always a matter of experimentation and seeing what works for you. Your doctor can be a great help.

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  23. Hello. I am in the UK and have Primary Addison's as well as hypothyroidism. Thankful to have come across this blog. How do I know how much extra salt yo add to my diet? I use mineral, hymalayan or sea/rock salt.

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  24. Hi Amanda! I've been dx Addison's primary & have Hashimotos Hypothyroidism also. Drs recommended extra salt in my diet too. I add it as I crave it. I use Himalaya Sea salt & Iodized salt. With Addison's disease it's easy to become dehydrated easily, so be sure to drink plenty of water.
    I've lived with Addison's disease for 10+yrs.My Drs have been very helpful in watching my levels & tx with hydrocortisone then synthroid for hypothyroidism. It's ckd often.
    I easily tire out & new doctors don't want to hear me.I know my body best and what the disease does to me.
    Does anyone else have trouble with New doctors not listening to them?

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    1. I read that I should add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to every litre of water I drink but when I added that all up I would be adding 4-5 teaspoons if salt. So decided against that.

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  25. Thank you Kimberly. I will try iodized salt. My consultant is good and my doctor is great. She has the exact same as me Addison's and hypothyroidism therefor she knows axactly where Im coming from ��

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  26. I used sea salt because I am extremely allergic to iodine. My doctor said that many people are, so you might want to try some and compare how you feel. I agree with Kimberly. I added salt until it tasted "right". Your body knows what you need so listen to it. People with Addison's disease have trouble with low blood pressure, so usually extra salt is not a problem. Our bodies excrete too much salt and it must be replaced. Of course you need to drink plenty of water because you can easily become dehydrated, especially during the summer, or with heavy exercise. Glad you have a good doctor.

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  27. I just want to say thank you so much for all of this information. My fiancé has Addison's disease, and has had it for almost 20 years. He has some very bad dietary habits that I wish to change, but needed some specific guidelines and was having trouble finding them. With dipping blood sugar levels and craving salt, he eats far too many processed snacks. I am beyond grateful to have found some useful information and now I feel confident in knowing that I can make him food that will probably make him feel a lot better. I look forward to reading more on here :-)

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  28. Best wishes on your marriage! People with Addison's do need more salt than most people since we tend to dump salt.It is essential that we eat very nutritious food so that our bodies can rebuild as much as possible we can have the strength we need. when you feel very tired, it is so easy to just grab a sweet for a quick, and very temporary boost of energy. You'll do a great job.

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