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.

What is Aldosterone?

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

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) [1].

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

Aldosterone works in opposition to the 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.

Aldosterone Effects

Good

Aldosterone increases CD8+ cells [2], 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) [3] and may block the Nf-kB-induced TNF-alpha in blood cells [4].

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 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 [5].

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-6, IL-1b [6], TNF [7] and induces Nf-kB, the master control switch of inflammation [8].

Aldosterone promotes Th17 immunity [9], 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 [10].

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 [11].

High aldosterone can deplete the body of Magnesium [5] and Potassium [12].

Aldosterone in excess can deplete the body of Calcium, leading to osteoporosis [13, 14].

High aldosterone is a major cause of high blood pressure [15].

Conditions Associated With High Aldosterone

  • Autoimmune Disease [16]
  • High Blood Pressure [17]
  • Cardiovascular Disease [18, 19] – Including Congestive Heart Failure, Coronary Artery Disease, and stroke.
  • Chronic kidney disease [19]
  • Osteoporosis [13, 14]
  • Conn’s Syndrome – High blood pressure with an adrenal mass [17]. 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 [20].
  • Aging – Aldosterone levels naturally decline with age [21].
  • Age-related hearing loss – Also associated with age-related Potassium depletion [22].
  • Addison’s Disease – A disease of inefficient steroid hormone production [23].
  • Hyponatremia & Headaches after exercise

Causes of High or Low Aldosterone

High

  • Stress and Anxiety [24]. When the fight or flight nervous system is activated, aldosterone is increased. ACTH part of the mechanism by which the nervous system increases aldosterone [25].
  • Elevated CCKCCK (a gut hormone) increases aldosterone secretion in humans and rats, which will increase blood pressure and cause salt retention [26]. People with IBS are more likely to release too much CCK in response to a fat-rich meal [27]. Lectin Consumption may also cause elevated CCK: In rats, legume lectins (and probably others) cause increased secretion of CCK [28]. In men, beans also increased CCK release, and the study attributes that to fiber [29], but I say it’s also because of lectins.
  • Magnesium inadequacy [30, 31]
  • Zinc inadequacy [32]
  • Low blood pressure [33] – if you have low blood pressure, the body tries to compensate and bring up aldosterone.
  • Potassium supplementation [33]
  • Acidic blood [33]
  • High histamine levels – Strongly stimulates the secretion of aldosterone (in dogs) [34]
  • Presence of an aldosterone-producing tumor [35]

Low

  • TNF Inflammation (even a relatively low level) decreases aldosterone synthesis in response to ACTH (precursor of cortisol) [20].
  • IL-6 Inflammation – Was associated with low levels of aldosterone in cancer patients [36].
  • IL-1 Inflammation (even a relatively low level) decreases aldosterone synthesis in response to ACTH [20].
  • High Atrial Natriuretic Peptide (ANP) Inhibits aldosterone release [37]. 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:

Conventional Treatment for Hyperaldosteronism

Treatment for hyperaldosteronism depends on the underlying cause. The main goal is to normalize or reduce the negative effects of high aldosterone levels, which include high blood pressure and low potassium levels.

If the cause is an adrenal gland tumor, treatment options include [43]:

  • Surgically removing the gland containing the tumor (adrenalectomy)
  • Aldosterone-blocking drugs (e.g. mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists)
  • Lifestyle changes (e.g. limiting sodium intake, losing weight, regular exercise)

If the cause is overactivity of both adrenal glands (bilateral adrenal hyperplasia), treatment options include [43]:

  • Aldosterone-blocking drugs (e.g. mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists)
  • Lifestyle changes (e.g. limiting sodium intake, losing weight, regular exercise)

What Can Increase Aldosterone

Irregular Aldosterone Levels?

LabTestAnalyzer helps you make sense of your lab results. It informs you which labs are not in the optimal range and gives you guidance about how to get them to optimal. It also allows you to track your labs over time. No need to do thousands of hours of research on what to make of your lab tests.

Aldosterone levels are also 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.

This section contains links from our sister companies, SelfDecode and LabTestAnalyzer. The proceeds from your purchase of these products are reinvested into our research and development, in order to serve you better. Thank you for your support.

Click here to subscribe

RATE THIS ARTICLE

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(20 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5)
Loading...

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.