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Salt Intake?

Limit Your Salt Intake? Forget About It!

by: Dr. Brownstein’s

My patients always give me quizzical looks when I tell them they need to increase their salt intake.  You see, I have been checking salt levels on nearly every patient that has ever seen me.  My experience has clearly shown that most patients do not consume enough salt.  I know you are probably thinking that you read that last sentence incorrectly.   We have been conditioned to think that we should eat less salt.  The powers-that-be routinely release edicts stating that we need to eat less salt in order to be healthier and have less hypertension.  However, that last statement is just not true.  Eating less salt will not make us healthier and not lower the risk for hypertension.   

I have been writing about the importance of salt for well over fifteen years.  Salt is the second major constituent in our body, next to water.  We need adequate amounts of good salt in our diet to run hundreds of different biochemical pathways. 

Does salt cause blood pressure problems?  The vast majority of people do not see any appreciable blood pressure lowering when they lower their salt intake.  I quote many studies in my salt book which show the fallacy of lowering salt intake to lower blood pressure.  There are a few individuals who are salt sensitive, but they are few and far between. 

In conventional medicine, salt consists of two ions, sodium and chloride.  Refined salt is 99% sodium and chloride with toxic additives such as ferrocyanide and aluminum added to itUnrefined salt is a better choice for salt because it contains essential minerals that are absent in refined salt products.  Examples of good sources of unrefined salt include Celtic Brand Sea Salt, Redmond’s Real Salt, and Himalayan Salt.  

This blog post was written in response to recent article titled, “Serum chloride is an independent predictor of mortality in hypertensive patients.” (1)  The authors of this article analyzed nearly 13,000 hypertensive individuals and followed them for up to 35 years.  They found the lowest intake of chloride (<100 mEq/L) was associated with a 20% higher mortality rate.  A 1mEq/L increase in chloride was associated with a 1.5% reduction in all-cause mortality.  The authors conclude, “Low, not high serum chloride is associated with greater mortality risk…”  

Chloride is an essential nutrient in our body.  We cannot live without it.  What is the best food source for chloride?  You guessed it– it is salt.  Should we eat refined salt?  That answer is easy–no.  It is best to use unrefined salt as part of a healthy dietary regimen.  For most patients, at least one teaspoon per day of unrefined salt is necessary to supply the body with the optimal amounts of sodium, chloride and minerals.  If you have kidney failure, be cautious about increasing your salt intake.  More information about salt can be found in my book, Salt Your Way to Health.

Eat to Live Not Live to Eat

Dr. Hesselberg

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