Our bodies contain many different salts, but the major salt in our body is sodium chloride. Sodium Chloride is plain old table salt. The human body contains 0.4% sodium chloride. While this is a low percentage, it is vital for us to live.
On a basic level, we need a relatively constant amount of salt concentration in order to carry out many vital processes in our body. The body strives to maintain this balance mainly by hormones that affect the retention or excretion of salt via our kidneys. The amount of fluid in our bodies is directly influenced by the amount of salt. As our salt concentration rises, we retain more water and conversely, as it goes down, we lose more water. So the simple way of looking at it is an inverse relationship.
Salt is involved in multiple processes, including the movement of glucose, insulin, and amino acids into and out of cells. Salt is also involved in helping us maintain muscle strength, maintain nerve function, and controlling fluid status.
Too much salt, known as hypernatremia, is either due to excess salt intake or inadequate water intake. Kidney or hormone issues can influence the homeostasis one way or the other. Symptoms of too much salt include excessive thirst, extreme fatigue, lack of energy, confusion, muscle spasms or twitching, and restlessness. If left untreated, excessive salt can lead to confusion, bleeding in the brain and even death.
Hyponatremia is a condition in which the body has inadequate salt intake or excessive water intake. Once again kidney and hormonal issues may cause low salt levels. Symptoms with mild hyponatremia are generally mild. As hyponatremia worsens, symptoms may produce fatigue or loss of energy, nausea and vomiting, headaches, confusion, muscle spasms, low blood pressure, dark urine or a reduced urine output, and convulsions. Brain swelling and coma, followed by death, can occur if hyponatremia is left untreated.
Thirst is a pretty good indication that your salt level is too high or water intake is too low. Our daily requirement for salt, under normal circumstances, ranges from 180 grams to 500 grams/day. We lose salt in all of our body fluids, including urine, sweat, stool, saliva, semen and mucous. Since salt is used as a preservative for processed foods frequently, we consume more than the daily requirement. If you have normal kidney and heart function, your body can handle up to 2000-3000 grams of salt per day without too much harm. With too much dietary sodium, you may see an increase in blood pressure. In fact, one class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure is diuretics, which cause the excretion of salt in urine and reduces body water as it follows the salt into to urine.
Himalayan pink salt is from an area in Pakistan near the Himalayan Mountains. The mines are 5000 feet underground and the salt is about 99% pure. The salt is mined by hand and not processed. This is one reason to consider switching to Himalayan pink salt. There are other reasons to consider using Himalayan pink salt instead of processed white table salt as well.
- Himalayan pink salt contains at least 60 minerals not found in table salt, including magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and copper.
- It is thought to be a product of the Primal Sea remnant.
- Respiratory problems improve when used in a process called halotherapy, which is the inhalation of micronized dry salt within a chamber that mimics a salt cave.
- Himalayan pink salt is also thought to help your acid-base balance due to the minerals besides sodium and chloride, which improves your overall health.
- It may have a better effect on your blood pressure as the other minerals found in Himalayan pink salt have blood pressure lowering effects.
A word about iodized salt. In North America the Iodine content of our soil is not high enough to supply the proper amount of Iodine in our food supply to prevent thyroid problems. The requirement to put Iodine in all salt products was removed by the U.S. Government several years ago. It is important to make sure you use an Iodine supplement to maintain your thyroid health. The recommended daily requirement for Iodine is 150 mcg. I think it is reasonable to take up to 1000 mcg daily although many alternative doctors recommend up to 12,500 mcg daily.
I know that natural compounds generally have advantages over processed options because the Designer of our bodies and the complex reactions and balance in our systems are perfect. The actual salt in the earth should be better for us as we are to be the salt of the earth.
We are told by God to “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings.” Leviticus 2:13 NIV
And He reminds us of salt’s importance. “Don’t you know the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to His descendants forever by a covenant of salt.” 2 Chronicles 13:5 NIV
God knows what we need and what we need to be to others. Salt is a major component to life on earth and our eternity. We require salt and God requires us to be salt and light to others.
I recommend that you try to consume a reasonable amount of salt and water. I also recommend that you find a church home, read your Bible, pray daily and be an example to others.
Thankfully edited by Ann Jayne.
-Dr. David Jayne M.D.