What Should I Eat If I Have Addison's Disease?

Reviewed on 8/25/2020

What Is Addison’s Disease?

Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency) symptoms can benefit from lots of salt in the diet. People with Addison's need extra calcium, too, as adrenal medications can make your bones brittle.
Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency) symptoms can benefit from lots of salt in the diet. People with Addison's need extra calcium, too, as adrenal medications can make your bones brittle.

Addison’s disease (primary adrenal insufficiency) is a condition that occurs when the body's adrenal glands do not work normally. 

The adrenal glands are small organs located on top of each kidney that produce different hormones: glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and androgens. When the adrenal glands produce fail to produce enough of these hormones, this results in adrenal insufficiency.

What Are Symptoms of Addison’s Disease?

Symptoms of Addison's disease (primary adrenal insufficiency) include:

When symptoms of Addison's disease become severe and life-threatening, it is called an "adrenal crisis." Adrenal crisis can occur when a person's body is under stress, such as from an infection or injury, or if a person is not taking their medicine regularly.

Symptoms of adrenal crisis include:

Adrenal crisis can be a life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical treatment. If you think you are having adrenal crisis, call 9-1-1.

QUESTION

Lupus is an infection. See Answer

What Should I Eat If I Have Addison's Disease?

People Addison’s disease and have low aldosterone may benefit from a high-sodium diet. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian to determine the proper levels of sodium in the diet. 

Treatment for Addison’s disease may include high doses of corticosteroids, which are linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture. People taking corticosteroids should ensure they get adequate calcium and vitamin D

Examples of calcium-rich foods include:

  • Vegetables and fruits
    • Collard greens
    • Kale
    • Soybeans
    • Broccoli
    • Oranges
  • Seafood
    • Salmon
    • Shrimp
    • Sardines
  • Dairy products
    • Ricotta, part-skim
    • Yogurt, plain, low-fat
    • Yogurt, Greek
    • Skim milk
    • Mozzarella, part-skim
    • Cheddar cheese
    • Cottage cheese
  • Fortified foods
    • Plant-based milks (e.g. almond, rice, soy), fortified
    • Orange juice and other fruit juices, fortified
    • Tofu, prepared with calcium
    • Oatmeal, fortified
    • Cereal, fortified

Examples of foods high in vitamin D include:

  • Seafood
    • Trout
    • Salmon
    • Sardines
    • Tuna
  • Meat and poultry
  • Vegetables
    • Mushrooms – white and portabella
  • Dairy products
  • Other
    • Cod liver oil
    • Plant-based milks (e.g. soy, almond, oat), vitamin D fortified
    • Eggs
    • Ready-to-eat cereals, vitamin D fortified

Exposure to sunlight is also another source for vitamin D. 

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Reviewed on 8/25/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference