Challenging the Taboo on Salt

Sept. 7, 2017; by Paul Fassa, Natural Health Journalist (Silver Bulletin e-News Magazine) There are some “official” dietary taboos that are false and even harmful, yet hotly defended when challenged. Some years ago I submitted an article to another site challenging the conventional dogma of salt causing high blood pressure leading to eventual heart failure. Let’s set about challenging the taboo on salt.

Himalayan Sea salt 2

The health editor jumped all over me claiming what I wrote was false and dangerous. I disagreed, countering with the evidence I had used at the time. She was very upset. She angrily made sure I was endangering her husband’s life because he is on a low sodium diet for handling his heart health.

I’m not a health practitioner or nutritionist. Just an honest journalist with a nose for the truth. After digging more into the false claims of high salt intake dangers, I’ve discovered more supporting testimonies from several doctors, naturopaths, and nutritionists who are not lock-step with medical dogma.

One of the first was Dr. David Brownstein, MD and author of Salt Your Way to Health. Since then there have been others.

Parsing Salt Confusions

 What is salt? It is sodium chloride. It’s chemical symbol signature is NaCl, indicating that salt basically is a one to one ratio of sodium and chloride ions. We know we need sodium to survive. It is both a mineral and an electrolyte that is important for balancing bodily fluids, muscle contractions, nervous system electrical conduction, and general hydration.

You may have heard of salt tablets taken in areas of high temperatures, especially among those who are involved in strenuous or athletic activity. But salt is important for hydration to others.

Dr. Joel Wallach, an iconoclastic Chicago MD, openly complained that many senior citizens who had died during a Chicago heat wave some years ago would still be around if their doctors, who had them on low sodium or low salt diets, would have instructed them to sip a quart of salt water daily during the heat wave. He called their imperative to stick with their low salt diets during the heat wave “criminal”.

But what’s with the chloride ions? This is interesting. Scottish MD Malcolm Kendrick disclosed a 2013 study titled,  “Serum chloride is an independent predictor of mortality in hypertensive [high blood pressure] patients” that’s probably overlooked by most in the pharmaceutical/medical industry. It concluded that low serum levels of Cl are associated with greater mortality risk among folks with high blood pressure. Half of salt is Cl. (Study abstract)

What too many consider excess sodium is not harmful if it is balanced with potassium, which is in many whole fruits and vegetables and not necessary to supplement if one’s diet is focused on enough whole organic plant foods.

But those who are SAD (Standard American Diet) consumers eat lots of processed and junk foods. These tend to be loaded with different types of sodium other than sodium chloride. There are additives rife in processed foods such as sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate, and the notorious monosodium glatamate (MSG). These are unhealthy sodium compounds and suspected carcinogens.

And the type of salt used in processed food is common table salt, which is highly processed with aluminum, ferro cyanide and bleach. The processing adds these toxins into commercial table salt while robbing unrefined sea salt of its macro and trace minerals, rendering it nutritionally vapid.

If you’re thinking I’m plugging unrefined NaCl, aka “sea salt”, you’re right. All those who flip the salt danger myth over recommend that as the only salt worth consuming. There are a few types of unrefined salts on the market, and since they’re not refined they tend to be off white or grayish.

As a matter of fact, the sea is considered the source of life. Our blood serum resembles seawater. And if you are incapicitated in ER or ICU, you may be subjected to nine grams of slow drip IV saline (NaCl) solutions, maybe twice in one day for a total of 18 grams, to help you recover and survive. The oficially recommended maximum intake of salt is well under five grams of salt daily. Something is not making sense.

Dr. James Nicolantonio, author of the most recent pro-salt book, The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It All Wrong–and How Eating More Might Save Your Life, points out that low sodium intakes for lowering high blood pressure increases the risk for diabetes type 2.

Dr. Nicloantonio says coffee depletes your body’s blood salt levels. If you drink coffee turn your salt intake up a notch. And if you purify your water with reverse osmosis, it’s a good idea to add a pinch of unrefined salt to your drinking water to replace the minerals removed by reverse osmosis

Doctors Donald Mayfield and Joseph Mercola agree that the the most beneficial unrefined salt is Himalayan pink salt, available here. Unrefined salts contain 80 macro and trace minerals and other elements that are important to many internal body metabolic processes in addition to salt’s hydration functions.

Unrefined Sea Salt Benefits

Unlike refined salt, which no longer even puts back iodine that was lost during the process, iodine remains in unrefined salts that were all part or seawater at one time regardless of where it’s mined now. Iodine is an important fuel for the thyroid gland, which regulates our internal hormonal distribution.

The NaCl part is around 85% while the many trace minerals, robbed from processed commercial salts, comprises the remaining 15%.

Without adequate whole salt, one may experience muscle cramps, low electolyte levels, low pH or high acidity, a source of disease, goiter, high blood pressure (suprised?), poor circulation and metabolism, weakness, and/or dizzyness. Salt also contributes to detoxing.

Yes, just like the low or no fat scam that still dominates our culture,  the low sodium or salt “official” demands are dangerous. Yes, you can still overdue salt intakes, especially if your potassium intake is low.

But if you mostly avoid processed foods, consume your veggies and other high potassium foods, you should be able to salt to taste with abandon using unprocessed unrefined salt. It’s also easy to take your unrefined salt with you when you eat out.

Pink Himalayan Salt

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