A low-salt diet is DANGEROUS
Two kinds of salt - Celtic Sea Salt / Real Salt vs Sodium ChlorideI was aware as a child that my grandmother and my great-grandmother had very different forms of salt in their respective kitchens. My great-grandmothers "salt well" contained "rock salt" back then, with large gray crystals. Grandma's refined "table salt" was pure white and flowed easily through small holes in the metal lid that topped a clear glass shaker container on her kitchen table. I didn't understand the difference then, but I did notice that there was some discussion and controversy over it. Later, I discovered the difference.
A bit of historyThe Native Indians valued salt as essential to sustain life and traveled great distances to gather deposits that were left on the shores of oceans and lakes. Such pilgrimages required purification of the body and mind, and were taken very seriously. So sacred were these sites that, if warring tribes met there, they would put down their weapons and honor the salt. Salt was also used for ceremonial rites, in addition to it's culinary uses. The importance of salt was also understood by people in early America, as whenever they went to town for supplies, a bag of salt was always on the list.
Salt has been widely and regularly used throughout history and for many thousands of years people consumed more than 10 times the amount of salt we consume today, because it was a primary food preservative before the invention of refrigeration. The average person was consuming 100 grams (about 43.5 teaspoons) of salt per day as compared 10 grams (1.5 teaspoon) or less of salt the average American consumes per day, today. A low-sodium diet contains 1 teaspoon of salt or 2,300 mg of sodium per day or less. The American Heart Association recommends even lower amounts, suggesting people eat less than 1,500 mg a day — less than two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt. Yet, we struggle with far higher rates of hypertension than they did back then.
A low-salt diet is dangerous
The rise in hypertension, obesity and diabetes began in the early 1900s, and parallels a reduction in salt intake. The refrigerator replaced the ice box in the 1930s. Salt intake has actually decreased while all these chronic diseases have increased. The idea that salt intake correlates with blood pressure was first expressed by Ancel Keys in 1953 and then in another study in 1988. Keys drew a linear line saying that hypertension problems rose as salt intake increased and showed an association with fat intake and deaths due to coronary disease. When you look at the 48 civilized countries that were studied, there was actually a reduction of blood pressure as real salt intake increased. The Japanese and South Koreans consume the most salt, and enjoy the longest life span. But none of this was mentioned in their report. These doctors seemed to just pick the populations that fit their hypothesis and basically found what they wanted to find. Unfortunately, as salt was vilified, sugar ended up getting deferential treatment. People were being told sugar is just energy and not harmful to your body. In truth, sugar was the addictive white substance, not salt.
The demonization of salt movement was then popularized by the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study (1994-97), in which lower sodium chloride (refined salt) intake resulted in dramatic improvements in blood pressure. However, the DASH diet is not only lower in refined salt, but also lower in processed foods and refined sugars in particular. Consuming more whole foods and lowering processed sugar has a far greater impact on your blood pressure than salt. Today, most processed foods are loaded with added sugar, refined salt (sodium chloride) and harmful industrially processed oils while containing virtually no healthy saturated fats or natural, unprocessed salt. The most effective way to improve insulin resistance is to consume high quality, healthy fats, organic whole grains and real sea salt. So the experts have it all wrong and eating real "salt," not sodium chloride can save your life.
No evidence exists in history that an increase in salt intake has ever paralleled a rise in any chronic disease. Recent studies show the highest risk of cardiovascular events and early mortality at a low salt intake, even versus a high-salt intake. Patients who are told by their doctors not to add salt to their food and stay on a low-salt diet began having new symptoms like muscle fatigue, muscle spasms, cramps and heart palpitations. They were suffering from symptoms of salt deficiency and severely dehydrated. Within a few days of adding real salt to their diet, all of these symptoms went away. Some patients’ ended up reducing or eliminating their prescription diuretics for high blood pressure.
Your blood pressure may indeed go down when you reduce your refined salt intake. The problem is that your total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio, which is a much better predictor of heart disease than low-density lipoprotein (LDL), is worsened right along with it. Triglycerides and insulin are also increased. So, overall, your heart disease risk increases rather than decreases, even though your blood pressure readings appear better. If you go low-salt, the coronary heart disease mortality can be increased almost twofold. What’s worse, salt deficiency also increases your chances of developing insulin resistance, because one of the ways in which your body preserves salt is by raising your insulin level. Higher insulin helps your kidneys retain more salt. Insulin resistance is associated with heart disease, but also other chronic diseases. The low-salt diet advice can cause more harm than good.
If you follow a ketogenic or low-carb diet trying to starve Candida, you will wake up with severe intractable muscle cramps at night due to excessive sodium loss. When you go from consuming 400 grams of carbohydrates every day to reducing your carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams, your insulin levels dramatically go down, glucagon goes up, and then you start producing negatively charged ketone bodies. Negatively charged ketone bodies pull positively charged sodium ions out in the urine, when you cut your carbohydrate intake. This dramatically depletes your body of salt. The other issue is that the loss of exogenous glucose is now reducing your absorption of sodium. Glucose helps us absorb sodium, so when you are no longer consuming high amounts of glucose, you are also not absorbing as much sodium. Coffee consumption will also rapidly deplete your salt stores.
Low-Sodium Diets Decimate Magnesium and Calcium LevelsYour salt status also directly controls your magnesium and calcium levels. If you do not get enough salt, your body starts pulling sodium from your bones, and also strips your bones of magnesium and calcium to maintain a normal sodium level. Your body will also maintain sodium by decreasing the amount of sodium lost in sweat, excreting magnesium and calcium instead. Low sodium will elevate aldosterone, a sodium-retaining hormone, which also reduces magnesium by shuttling it out through your urine. Magnesium insufficiency will also trigger muscle cramps. A low-sodium diet is one of the worst things you can do for your health, especially your bone and heart health, as magnesium is one of the most important minerals for biological function. As an interesting side note, having a healthy magnesium level can help mitigate some of the negative impacts that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can have on your body. The reason for this is because EMFs activate voltage-gated calcium channels in your cells, and magnesium is a natural calcium-channel blocker. Sweating will also eliminate salt from your body, so if you sweat a lot, you may get rid of more than you add back in if you’re on a low-salt diet. While it’s difficult to consume harmful amounts of sodium, it’s easy to end up with too little. We can’t manufacture an essential mineral. The problem is refined salt and not getting enough real salt.
When you are exercising, your muscles are losing salt. When you exercise in the heat, there is a tenfold increase in heat stroke if you follow a low-salt diet. Athletes want to increase blood circulation. Salt is the solution. The benefits are you’re acutely increasing blood volume, you’re increasing your blood circulation and you’re reducing your heart rate, which is important for endurance. Also, salt is one of our best vasodilators. That allows heat to escape the body. I mix 1/2 teaspoon sea salt with lemon juice, lime juice, SweetLeaf Stevia, Eidon ionic multi-mineral and electrolytes in 32 oz. of water. It’s like a lemon-lime Gatorade without the sugar. That’s how I preload with a dose of salt before I exercise, which is much better than trying to catch up later. Then I don’t get the muscle spasms and twitches after.
Our bodies control salt intakeIf you’re eating a whole food diet, you’re probably eating a very low-sodium diet, as whole foods do not contain much, if any, salt. As a result, you may need to make sure you’re salting your food. As for how much to add, the general recommendation is simply to salt to taste. Your body has a built-in “salt thermostat” that basically tells you how much you need by regulating your craving for salt. There’s actually little concern about getting too much salt, because any excess will be expelled through your kidneys. A person with healthy kidneys can consume at least 86 grams of salt per day.
Real Salt is essential to health and lifeOur ancestors recognized the value of the life-giving and healing qualities of salt. The body hungers for "real salt" as part of our instinct. Salt from the sea is the most complex combination of 92 essential minerals on the planet. Its composition is virtually identical to the mineral makeup of our body fluids and provides the identical natural balance of bioavailable trace elements and macro-nutrients that are able to restore our internal seas.
Truly natural salt, sea salt from the oceans, has the most exquisite taste. It is obtained by using only the simple, natural processes of wind and the sun to dry sea water. It is the lowest in sodium and the richest in precious beneficial elements.
Real salt is wet! All of the essential trace elements and macro-nutrients stay within the salt crystal only as long as the salt retains its moisture. The moisture-retaining part of sea salt is dependent upon the magnesium salts contained within the crystals, and are highly water retentive. Moisture assists in the transfer of the trace elements and macro-nutrients from the earths oceans to our internal oceans.
Real salt is not crushed or ground! It retains its light gray cube shape, which defends the integrity of the natural elements by exposing the least amount of surface area, so water and oxygen cannot penetrate the natural cubic structure and alter it's components. However, once broken, the salt's surface area increases and invites rapid oxidation and dehydration. Unrefined sea salt retains its moisture and you can see a little brine has settled at the bottom of the clear plastic packaging it comes in.
Storage and use: Real salt is best kept in a glass or ceramic container with a loose fitting lid, like a salt cellar or salt box. It is best to mix the contents at the top of the bag or container with the wet contents at the bottom to even out the moisture content before use. Celtic Sea Salt easily dissolves in the moisture of food and is best added near the end of cooking. If added to food just before eating, it enters the body in a non-iodized form, which lessens some of its advantages.
(Luke 14:34 Salt is good, but if salt looses it's flavor, how will it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land or the compost pile, but to be thrown out.)
Reference: Sea salt's Hidden Powers By Jacques de Langre, PhD. The Bible and the American Indian Museum in Washington D.C.
Refined Salt is Sodium ChlorideRefined salt was the result of industry's demand for a chemically pure sodium chloride, which was needed for the manufacture of chlorine and plastic, as well as metallurgical and atomic energy uses. Salt makers profited from selling several of the minerals elements that they removed from the salt, separately. In addition, they sold the public on the idea that this white "table salt" was cleaner, purer and looked better presented in an easy to use "salt shaker", but few people knew that refined, pure sodium chloride is a poison.
Most of the salt that is purchased today has been harvested mechanically from salt deposits in the earth, with heavy machinery. It has traveled through metal pipes, been exposed to high heat in order to crack it's molecular structure and strip away its essential nutrients. Then it is further assaulted by chemical additives to make it flow freely, non-caking agents, bleached white and iodized. Today's refined white table salt is artificial and contains only 2 essential minerals; sodium and chloride, nothing more.
Mineral Supplements: Man attempts to return these lost trace elements and macro-nutrients to their diet by using synthetic or inorganic forms as substitutes for the real thing, but the end result is poorly utilized and unbalanced. There is a narrow measurable difference between what is essential and what is toxic. It is not enough to have the proper quantity and ratio of needed nutrients in the diet. These trace elements must be active and capable of being metabolized. The absence of properly utilized trace elements causes many of the normal functions of the human body to be inhibited or stop working all together. This leads to deficiencies that allow illness to become established, which begins a vicious cycle of even greater nutritional deficiency and the loss of immune response, allergies and many serious health problems.
The presence of bioavailable trace elements and macro-nutrients gives the body the ability to restore it's own biochemical balance. Unrefined ocean salt completes the requirements of essential elements in precise dosages that are balanced naturally, supplying trace elements and macro-nutrients that are virtually unavailable from the plant world.
Pay Attention to Your Sodium/Potassium BalanceIt is important for you to pay attention to your sodium-to-potassium ratio, which has a far stronger correlation to blood pressure than does salt intake alone. It is generally recommended that you consume five times more potassium than sodium, but even though most Americans are consuming a low-salt diet, they eat twice as much sodium as potassium. If you're eating mostly processed foods and few fresh vegetables, your sodium-to-potassium balance is most likely to be inverted. Imbalance in this ratio can lead to high blood pressure and contribute to a number of other health problems, including but not limited to:
- Kidney stones
- Memory decline
- Erectile dysfunction
- Stomach ulcers and stomach cancer
Subpopulations That May Need to Restrict Salt Intake
Overall, most people do not need to worry about consuming too much salt. However, there are some salt-sensitive people who may need to limit their salt intake to 2,300 mg per day. This includes those with:
- Endocrine disorders
- High aldosterone levels
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Elevated cortisol
- Liddle syndrome, a rare condition affecting about 1 in 1 million individuals, causing them to retain too much salt. If treated with amiloride, salt intake probably does not need to be restricted
Conditions That Contribute to Sodium Loss
On the other hand, there are conditions that contribute to sodium loss or prevent your body from absorbing salt well, thereby raising your need for additional salt. This includes:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
- Bariatric surgery, and those who have had their intestine and/or colon removed
- Sleep apnea, as the lack of breathing increases blood flow to the thorax and increases central blood pressure. This tricks your body into thinking it’s overloaded in salt, triggering the excretion of salt. Sleep apnea can cause you to lose about 3,000 mg of sodium each night
- Kidney diseases such as polycystic kidney disease and glomerulonephritis (interstitial damage to the tubules that causes salt loss)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Hypothyroidism (as thyroid hormones allow your kidneys to reabsorb salt)
- Adrenal deficiency
- Celiac disease
I hope you found this article helpful. I wish you optimal health, safe travels and many blessings.
This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments and is not direct medical advice for your specific situation, and should not be treated as such. You should never delay seeking medical attention, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information in this article.