Aldosterone: The Mineralcorticoid That Can Deplete Your Bones Of Calcium, And Cause Other Health Problems
Every moment of the day and night, our cells are busily regulating electrolytes, enzymes, hormones, and many other biological processes to maintain the body in balance.
Unfortunately, we can create an imbalance by bombarding our bodies with toxins and acidifying foods. That’s one of the reasons why a pH-balanced diet is so important – it works with and not against this delicate system.
A key player in this balancing act is an adrenal hormone called aldosterone, which plays a role in both our bone health and overall health. Too little or too much of this hormone can have a profound effect on our body. So today we take a close look at aldosterone and how to keep it in balance.
Aldosterone: Its Role In Your Health
Aldosterone is a mineralocorticoid, which means it’s a corticosteroid that influences the balance between water and minerals (electrolytes). It’s manufactured in the adrenal glands, which are located right above the kidneys. Specifically, it’s made in the adrenal cortex, which is the outer layer of the adrenal glands.
Aldosterone is involved in correcting and balancing the extracellular and intracellular fluid. I’ll explain: electrolytes such as potassium and sodium, are transported across cell membranes along with water to keep the ratio of electrolytes and fluid balanced on both sides of the cell membrane. Aldosterone is required to keep this process functioning correctly, thereby regulating fluid retention, blood pressure, and other important biological functions.
Throughout this process, various hormones are triggered and secreted, stimulating and repressing certain substances. Since we’re looking at aldosterone today, we’re going to focus on one specific cycle in which aldosterone plays a role: the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS.
The RAAS And How Aldosterone Works In The Body
When the kidneys sense a decrease in blood flow, which can occur for any number of reasons (such as decreased sodium levels or high potassium in the blood), it signals the release of an enzyme called renin. Renin instigates a series of chemical reactions that culminate in the production of a peptide called angiotensin. This occurs in two stages: first, angiotensin I is released and converted to angiotensin II by angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). Angiotensin II then stimulates the adrenal glands to release aldosterone.
It’s important to note here that many prescription drugs to lower blood pressure act as ACE blockers, thereby interfering with this process and preventing the synthesis of aldosterone.
Uninhibited by drugs, aldosterone functions at this stage in the cycle. It is regulated by a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and the concentration of potassium in the blood. Aldosterone works in an opposing relationship with atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), a protein hormone secreted by the heart muscle. ANP is a vasodilator, meaning it widens and relaxes the walls of blood vessels, and it acts to reduce water and sodium levels. In direct opposition, aldosterone stimulates the retention of sodium and water, raising blood pressure.
Aldosterone And Your Bones
Aldosterone influences bone health both directly and indirectly.
Indirectly, aldosterone has an effect on the kidneys. Elevated levels of this hormone cause sodium retention and raise blood pressure, and it’s no secret that high blood pressure damages the kidneys.
On the other hand, low aldosterone levels cause the kidneys to excrete excessive sodium, lowering blood pressure to potentially dangerous levels.
Stressed kidneys mean inefficient and ineffective toxin removal from the blood. And that, in turn, damages your bones. You see, your kidneys also play a crucial role in your body’s acid/alkaline balance, and sluggish, unhealthy kidneys allow acid to build up, resulting in bone loss. Keeping your kidneys healthy and your blood pressure under control are absolutely vital to reversing bone loss and rejuvenating bone.
Aldosterone affects bone density more directly as well. Two separate studies have linked low bone density with aldosterone.
In the first study, researchers investigated the apparent connection between aldosteronism (excess aldosterone) and reduced bone mineral density and weaker cortical bone, first observed in rats. Humans with primary aldosteronism (PA) were compared to those without this condition, and those with PA exhibited increased calcium in their urine as well as high levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Excessive PTH is known to cause the breakdown of bone; study participants with PA showed lower bone mineral density in the spine and femoral neck, and suffered a higher rate of vertebral fractures than the non-PA group. In fact, those with PA were 15 times more likely to have osteoporosis.1
The second study involved 226 participants, 116 with PA and 110 with essential hypertension (EH). When the two groups were compared, those with PA had significantly increased calcium excretion and decreased serum calcium. They also showed secondary hyperparathyroidism, pointing once again to excessive PTH in bone breakdown.2
So to protect your bones, the goal is to prevent excessively high aldosterone levels. It’s important to note here that taking ACE inhibitors is not a good solution to control aldosterone levels. Those drugs have many undesirable side effects. The good news is that there are natural ways to control your blood pressure and aldosterone levels.
Overall Health Problems Associated With Too Much Aldosterone
According to research, excess aldosterone is associated with the following health conditions:
- Chronic kidney disease3 (CKD)
- Autoimmune disease4
- Conn’s Syndrome5 (a condition with high blood pressure and a mass on the adrenals)
- Cardiovascular disease6
Problems Associated With Too Little Aldosterone
Too little aldosterone can also cause problems such as:
- Hearing loss associated with age7
- Addison’s Disease8
- Chronic inflammation9 (which damages bones)
You Can Check Your Aldosterone Levels With A Simple Test
You can test you aldosterone levels with either a urine or blood test. It’s recommended that you avoid ingesting any salt for 24 hours prior to the test, and it’s a good idea to request that your test should be in the morning – preferably around 8am – when aldosterone levels are at their highest.
How To Keep Aldosterone Balanced
Here are easy ways that will help you to maintain the proper balance of aldosterone, and, as you’ll see, they are also excellent for your bones.
- Make sure you get enough zinc and magnesium. Deficiencies in these bone-building minerals have been linked to high aldosterone.
- Minimize stress and anxiety. Both of these things trigger the adrenal cortex to secrete stress hormones, including aldosterone.
- Don’t take potassium supplements – remember, high potassium levels are one of the primary signals to your kidneys to start the RAAS cycle that increases aldosterone. One of the best ways to balance potassium is to follow a a pH-balanced diet, as the Save Our Bones Program advocates.
- Acidosis, or a low pH, stimulates aldosterone production. So maintaining a balanced pH through an alkalizing diet keeps aldosterone levels even…and it also is the primary way by which bone loss is reversed.
Following The Save Our Bones Program Prevents Excessive Aldosterone
The comprehensive lifestyle and nutrition plan described in the Save Our Bones Program is all about balance. First and foremost, it promotes an alkalizing diet with the correct balance of nutrients to help your bones thrive and keep aldosterone levels in check. But the Program doesn’t just present these ideas; it also includes practical, detailed guidelines so you know exactly what to do to implement this revolutionary, evidence-based protocol for your bones and your health.
Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss
Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Save Our Bones Program.
Till next time,
1 Salcuni, Antonio Stefano, et al. “Bone involvement in aldosteronism.” JBMR. 27. 10. (2012): 2217-2222. Web. October 4, 2016. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbmr.1660/abstract
2 Ceccoli, L., et al. “Bone health and aldosterone excess.” Osteoporosis International. 24. 11. (2013): 2801-2807. Web. October 4, 2016. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00198-013-2399-1
3 Calhoun, David A., MD. “Aldosterone and Cardiovascular Disease: Smoke and Fire.” Circulation. 114. 24. (2006): 2572-2575. Web. October 4, 2016. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/114/24/2572.full
4 Herrada, Andrés A., et al. “Aldosterone Promotes Autoimmune Damage by Enhancing Th17-Mediated Immunity.” The Journal of Immunology. 184. 1. (2010): 191-202. Web. October 4, 2016. http://www.jimmunol.org/content/184/1/191.full
5 Young, WF. “Primary aldosteronism: renaissance of a syndrome.” Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 66. 5. (2007): 607-18. Web. October 4, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17492946
6 Knights, Kathleen M., et al. “Non-selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and cardiovascular events: is aldosterone the silent partner in crime?” BJCP. 61. 6. (2006): 738-740. Web. October 4, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1885103/
7 Tadros, SF, et al. “Higher serum aldosterone correlates with lower hearing thresholds: a possible protective hormone against presbycusis.” Hear Red. 209. 1-2. (2005): 10-8. Web. October 4, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16039078
8 Sarkar, Soumya Brata, et al. “Addison’s disease.” Contemp Clin Dent. 3. 4. (2012): 484-486. Web. October 4, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3636818/
9 Natarajan, R., et al. “Tumor Necrosis Factor and Interleukin-1 Are Potent Inhibitors of Angiotensin-II-Induced Aldosterone Synthesis.” Endocrinology. 125. 6. (1989). Web. October 4, 2016. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/endo-125-6-3084