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I want to empower your health with the steps that freed my life of chronic pain and medications.

Reader Interactions

77 Comments

  1. Have you seen any studies on salt and kidney disease (I noted the disclaimer at the end of your post). I have chronic kidney disease (focal segmental glomerulosclerosis), and it’s never been explained why a low-salt diet is recommended.

    I don’t see my nephrologist again until the end of August…would love to go in with a little research under my belt before asking his opinion.

    • No, I am not very familiar with kidney disease. I’ve heard from some holistic health practitioners (not just mainstream health practitioners) that high salt consumption can be contraindicated with kidney disease, but I don’t know if this is always the case. I would suggest speaking with a holistic medical practitioner about your situation.

  2. I’ve long suspected, in regards to point 1, that the reason low sodium diets “work” is that they bring sodium into balance with potassium. It would be better if heart doctors advised more whole produce and less processed/convenience food while explaining how people dealing with hypertension often eat too much sodium compared to the amount of potassium and the diet recommendations will increase the amount of potassium they consume while reducing sodium to healthful levels. But that’s far more complicated to explain than “consume no more than 1800 mg salt per day” and you can’t be sure that patients will A)understand and B) follow through. A diet low or lacking in processed foods and high in real foods is naturally going to contain a better balance of sodium to potassium than a diet primarily made up of processed foods and convenience foods because Mother Nature generally does a pretty good job of balancing minerals and nutrients in edible foodstuffs.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I agree that the consumption of processed foods throws our mineral and electrolyte balance way out of whack. When listen to Mother Nature and our own cravings for salt, then we are going to be supporting our health.

    • Amen to this! I agree about the sodium/potassium issue. From what I have read, the proper balance between the two is really the key. And of course the key to everything is to eat REAL food! Love your blog Lauren!

  3. I do not limit salt from my diet, however I am allergic to Iodine and Salt Water Fish and seafood. I use table salt and feel that sea salt would not be good for me to use. I have never asked a doctor about this so I do not know if I am correct about sea salt.

    • Um….there’s usually Iodine IN table salt…so if that’s what you’ve been using, then it’s probably okay. And sea salt is probably fine even if you’re allergic to fish, but you should get tested first.

      • Iodine is added to salt to prevent iodine deficiency, which causes goiter (among other things). Natural salt doesn’t contain much if any iodine (trace minerals are present depending on the minerals in the environment from which the salt was taken). There is a lot of salt available to purchase which has no iodine added, including sea salt.

  4. Salt and animal fat always gets blamed for all sort of diseases and getting fat, media it is so misleading that if we don’t do research ourselves we are trapped into their lies. Thanks for bringing light to the subject.

  5. I have been using RealSalt for a long time but I read Dr. Mercola the other day saying iodine is very important. Now I am wondering if I need to supplement that since I no longer, or rarely at a restaurant, use salt with iodine? I have hypertension and they told me to completely cut out salt, but I am sorry – food tastes BLECH without salt. It is tasteless. I try to eat well with real foods and RealSalt and hope for the best, so this is all good to hear!

  6. Although the science behind this is true and I appreciate you taking the time to report it, this post is extremely misleading. Unfortunately, the majority of people this information applies to are those that lack access to iodized salt in their diet. It is to my knowledge that this population also lacks access to computers so this information will never reach them. The people that this article IS reaching, however, are most likely those that are already consuming an excess of sodium which is, indeed, quite unhealthy. They, however, are going to read this article you posted and think that this is an indication that the amount of salt they are consuming is the correct amount- or heaven forbid not enough. This saddens me to read because I think about the people who are under-educated on the physiology of nutrition. They will not know that although what you are reporting is true, they will nearly never have to worry about this information. What they need to worry about is the information reporting on the dangers of excess sodium intake. I would also love to hear how you think the American Heart Association is “blatantly lying”.

    • I don’t really understand your comment. First, you mention iodized salt. Since iodized salt is usually the uber-processed, refined salt, I do not recommend it. Instead, I suggest the natural sea salts listed here along with an iodine supplement (iodine supplementation is a topic for another post). So are you thinking that because most people in the Western world get enough salt because they eat a ton of processed food? I agree and, as I stated in this post, processed food is NOT a good source of salt. Processed foods are inflammatory and contain refined, stripped salt. This post is beneficial for those who have been making a conscious effort to reduce their sodium intake in the belief that this is a healthy practice. As for the lies of the AHD, I discussed that in the post. ADH tells us it is healthy to reduce sodium intake and that this supports heart health… but it does not.

      • ”ADH tells us it is healthy to reduce sodium intake and that this supports heart health… but it does not.”

        it looks like salt is the adh’s and mainstream media’s little fall guy for bad health….blaming salt, but not the kfc or mcdonald’s…frankly misleading…as john mcdougal pointed out in his video ‘salt as a scapegoat’

        luckily the internet provides us with info to make our own judgements….something newspapers won’t.

    • You know what would be awesome? If people like you would stop assuming and telling people like me… what and how we’ll think. You couldn’t be more wrong in your ridiculous analysis.

      BTW – google is one click away… I’m assuming you know how to search the interwebs. Go look up all of the documentation and studies that contradict the garbage put by the American Heart Association and the rest of mainstreet greed bases medicine

      • I kind of agree with Anonymous…Everything should be consumed in moderation. Obviously going crazy with salt, processed or raw, is going to be just as bad as going crazy with (both processed and raw) sugar. Just because something is more “natural” doesn’t make it healthy especially if its being eaten in copious amounts. Arsenic is a pure, naturally occurring element, but I wouldn’t recommend sprinkling it all over your food. Plus, consuming a large amount of sodium can increase your tolerance to it and you may have to use more the next time you need it to get the same taste.

    • Dr Brownstein is a world renown authority on thyroid issues. He advocates sea salt, not table salt Read: https://www.drbrownstein.com/Salt-Your-Way-to-Health-p/salt.htm
      He states that salt and iodine are the most misunderstood ingredients.
      https://www.drbrownstein.com/Iodine-Why-You-Need-It-p/iodine.htm
      this book explains how none of us get enough iodine – especially if we only use iodized salt, because it is not absorbed very well. Celtic sea salt with iodine supplementation is the healthiest way to go.

    • A friend had started a low salt diet because her BP was going up and she hoped to avoid medications. I sent her the studies showing the culprit in hypertension is often a lack of healthy, unrefined salt, and gave her some unrefined salt to try.
      Within a week her BP was normal, end of problem. She was convinced.

      • ‘I sent her the studies showing the culprit in hypertension is often a lack of healthy, unrefined salt, and gave her some unrefined salt to try.’

        salt, regardless of its source, is not a factor at all in causing hypertension…which is caused by diets heavy in meat and dairy products and saturated fats. you won’t find too many people in india or asia suffering from hypertension…or obesity, heart disease, and so on.

        • Actually south East Asia has a high rate of hypertension . My husband is Chinese from Malaysia and three of his family all died with strokes caused by hypertension and he himself is just recovering from a stroke caused by hypertension all of them eat far too much salt. You cannot possibly make a statement that says” salt regardless of source is not a factor at all in causing hypertension”. You are wrong and the Stroke Society would be horrified to hear you make this comment. Most of our friends are in fact Indian or Chinese and many have had heart attacks and strokes and are all suffering from hypertension and salt is used in excess in all their food .

  7. Thank you Lauren for a great site with excellent healthy information. I’m impressed that such a young person like yourself has so much great knowledge. But nothing like a health issue to make you delve into it more to realize that what the media and doctors tell us isn’t always so true. It is so good to find sites on here like yours that are like minded. keep up the good work. I have a Thermomix, so I make my own iodized healthy salt. I grind a good rock salt and a sheet of seaweed together in my thermomix and I use that in all my cooking.

  8. Love this article! My aldosterone level is very low so I take salt tablets multiple times a day. (And salt everything, of course!) Glad the bad stigma associated with salt is starting to turn around.

  9. I was wondering if you have any tips on calculating about how much salt you consume. I don’t often eat processed foods that have a label, so most of my meals I would have no way of figuring that out. I like salt and do add it for flavor, but not all the time. I do have a thyroid issue and am wondering if increasing my salt may help.

  10. salt lowers adrenaline spikes

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=salt-boosts-bp-but-via-adrenalin-12-01-11

    peer reviewed research points in the opposite direction

    salt is an antihistamine

    I have not yet found any non-commercial website supporting this info. I’ve never heard about anyone reporting reduced allergic reactions by consuming salt…Dr Batman is recommending salt and water for pretty much any ailment…really?!?

    and more…

      • Lauren this article is very good. However, I think, we need to be careful of excess salt. People who exercise, eat well develop salt phobia from media which is wrong. So, I think eating too much salt is the focus of that article. I do not understand table salt is completely different from unrefined salt. Salt is salt. If there is difference then we are saying salt does not matter it is the trace minerals in the salt that matter. I suspect, people who notice the difference between the two most likely have some trace mineral deficient or are psychologically affected.

  11. Well i believe that salt is a natural antiseptic and i always enjoy my salt regardless of what twaddle the government tells us.
    It just seems to me that there has been an increase in cancer and other ugly diseases since people have been told to eat less salt

  12. Oh my God I LOVE this! I have very hbp and i love salt. My bp is due to extreme work stresses. I started the dash diet yet again and i was soooo drained. I ate some soup and voila¡ I feel great! Awesome article thank you!

  13. Lauren! I have been struggling with the restless nights and am excited to try some sugar/salt sleepy mix! I have Celtic Sea salt in the house, but no organic sugar. Would I be able to mix the salt with some raw honey and use that past instead?

    Thanks for your time!

  14. This might be a dumb question but is any kind of sea salt or kosher salt from the grocery store okay? Or do they get refined too? It finally dawned on me not too long ago that I don’t consume enough salt because I’m constantly feeling dehydrated despite drinking more water than anyone I know. I want to start added salt back into my diet, but in a healthy way. Thanks for the post!

  15. While i love this article in general, you lost me at processed salt is better than no salt; this is false. Processed salt is virtually void of minerals and is swimming with chemicals. To say processed salt is better than no salt is like saying conventional beef is better than no beef.

  16. I claim to be no expert on a lot of medical issues, but I can tell you about my situation. I have a condition that is controlled by increased sodium and fluid intake. I am under the care of a Cardiologist and an Electrophysiologist who diagnosed me and successfully treated me with a high sodium diet. I went from a pretty average life, health wise, to not being able to stand for longer than a few minutes at a time. Months later, finding out my body needed sodium–that I had always been told to avoid– was shocking. But when you can’t stand, you are willing to try about anything. I can only tell you that this worked for me–while under the care of licensed and exceptional medical staff. I really just wish when I went to salt what I eat, people would stop judging me. Every person is different and not all rules apply evenly. My condition is known as neurocardiogenic syncope or neurally mediated hypotension. In severe cases it’s sometimes misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome. Severe sufferers may have a more dibilitating form known as post arterial orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

  17. Thank you for this post!!! Every point that you mentioned I found to be absolutely true. A year or two ago, I wanted to become healthier, so I cut down on the amount of salt I consumed and drank a lot of water. I felt terrible, lost my period and did not understand why. I added salt back into my diet and felt much better, but I period still did not come back. Recently I have been really trying to add more salt into everything and have cut down on the amount of water I drink. After a week or two, my period came back and my mind has been at complete ease. Thank you!

  18. Lauren, thank you so much for this! When I first became aware of the campaign to demonize salt I was floored! How could something so essential to life be so suddenly and so intensively attacked with no evidence? And here we are all these years later and the myth persists. So many times over the years I have been salt-shamed for picking up a salt shaker and salting my food in public. (I’m pretty healthy, I exercise some, and have a BMI of 22 and BP in the range of 95/65 on average at age 58.) Hopefully more people will start talking about the benefits of salt. One of the benefits I usually point out to people in my age group is that it improves sleep. I thought that was because it helped one retain their urine at night reducing the need for potty trips. It’s good to know there’s even more to it.

  19. I’m totally floored to realize that I’ve probably been salt deficient for a LONG TIME. My blood pressure is pretty low; systolic runs from 88 to 96, diastolic runs from 57 to 64. I’ve struggled with insomnia and being cold (even in the summer because of a/c) for the last 10 years. I experienced dramatic weight loss and developed heart fibrillation for a few months, when it was too cold in my office. I lift weights, do Pilates regularly, and have a bikini body year round. I eat better than anyone I know. No prepared foods, soda, coffee, or cigarettes. So, I just didn’t get it.
    Doctors shrugged off my cold sensitivity, said my blood pressure is fine, and treated me with medication after medication for sleep.
    For the past week, instead of drinking one beer in the evening, I’ve had one cocktail of tequila and grapefruit juice with salt on the rim. Amazingly, I haven’t been waking in the middle of the night. I know it isn’t the tequila or the juice, because I’ve had those together before. What’s new is the SALT. That’s what prompted me to do a search on “salt improves sleep”, and led me to this site. Now, I’m going to try having the drink without alcohol. Thanks!

  20. I usually put a pinch or two of Icelandic flake sea salt in my water every day and use celtic sea salt on food. I had adrenal issues, hormone imbalances, and low weight, and this really helps me! I also notice I feel great in the gym lifting weights, while everyone else is cramping. I can totally tell a difference when I don’t have it.

  21. Lauren,

    I have been told that I have POTS and have an extremely hard time retaining water. I’m also concerned I have thyroid issues.I have been told I need salt supplementation. I have tried a couple of different things, but it’s hard to consume a significant amount. I have tried mixing a teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt with pure Cranberry juice and water. Do you think that is an OK way to get my supplementation? How do I know if I am taking too much?

    Thank you so much!

    Caitlin

  22. I have been battling restless sleep due to the jerking, jolting and spasmodic movements of my legs, feet, arms and hands. Over the years, I found out that the salt and potassium helps when these symptoms arise when I am in bed. The salt helps when feet and fingers spams toward outside, for example, to keep the hands wide open. The potassium help when spasmodic movements tend to shut the fingers into a fist or curl the toes inside. A wrong prognosis makes the sleep disturbance dramatically worse. My endocrinologist and neurologist have found no underlying reasons. Sometime I have to repeat the salt and the potassium cycle every hour to catch some sleep. The sugar or chocolate intake during the evening hours exasperates the symptoms. The symptoms started about 5 years of taking Zocor for raised cholesterol, which I have since stopped taking it thinking that the LDL level might be harming my peripheral nerves. Since there is a correlation of salt, potassium and sleep disturbance, I am interested in your thoughts..

  23. A very interesting study of salt.
    I am terribly worried about my suicidal granddaughter aged 21. She eats only fruit and veg. She eats about 15 to 20 bananas a day, a kilo of grapes and other bits and pieces of fruit and veg. No salt at all. No sugar, no meat, fish, fat or oil. She is not well and will not listen to me. My nurse sister says so many bananas is an overdose of potassium and endangers her health, her life. Also, the lack of salt is dangerous. Can you confirm this and advise me what I should say to my granddaughter.

  24. I am not a doctor but even I know that bananas are high in potassium, and eating so many would cause a potassium/sodium imbalance. Your sister, as a nurse is quite right. There is a lot of sugar in grapes – fruit sugar but still sugar, and also in bananas. Those are two of the fruits that are usually not recommended for people trying to lose weight. (Hopefully your granddaughter’s aim is not to lose weight). But it does sound a pretty extreme regime, and if she doesn’t feel well it’s obviously not good for her.

    Sorry I can’t offer any really helpful advice as I am not knowledgable enough, but that is surely too many bananas!

  25. Thank you so much for the great article.
    Consuming natural salt has helped with my alergies as well as my skin and overall mental health.
    Also, i noticed my body becoming stronger and healthier.

  26. Hi.. great article!
    I’m sitting here consuming salt as I read this 🙂 I had one question that came to mind… why is it some people swell from salt? I know one of my weight loss clients swells significantly. She’s only 22.
    Just wanted to know if you had any direct info on that. Thanks!

  27. Really seriously irresponsible and uniformed article. Pseudo science and selective statistics used to hide the fact that sodium is the prime cause of hypertension and heart disease.

    Appalling.

  28. My salt requirement (not recommendation) is 5-10 Grams of salt to keep my blood pressure up. If I do not consume this much salt my heart will beat at 175+ bmp just from standing up.

    When I tell people this they are shocked, isn’t salt bad for your heart.

    I then ask them why they think that, and they can’t respond. They don’t know.

    Salt is supposedly responsible for hypertension (high blood pressure) I have Hypotension(low blood pressure)

    When I stand up the blood goes to my feet and my heart must work harder to get enough blood to my brain so I don’t pass out.

    so by eating insane amounts of salt I can (for a short time) raise my blood pressure and lower my heart beat rate.

    My body gets rid of it like crazy though so I also take fludrocortisone to help hold the salt in. Doesn’t work perfectly, I still have a very high heart rate when standing (120) and sitting is only 70 bmp. But better than nothing.

  29. Was very surprised to learn my years long systemic phlegm assault was a result of avoiding salt. I was afraid of high blood pressure warnings, a heart attack… I was also surprised to learn that baking soda is salt without chlorine and is excreted by the pancreas to neutralize acid post stomach….Baking soda cleaned my lungs and shocked my spleen, pancreas with brief pains for a couple of days,(signs it was working) and then I backed off of it….I moved from GERD and Leaky Gut Syndrome diagnosis to the realization I needed more stomach acid but enzyme shortages were unrealistic….I needed chlorine to make HCL and was avoiding it like the plague….occasional pinch of salt with even more occasional pinch of baking soda in water during brief fasting periods changed my life. I am sleeping better, digesting food better, breath better with clearer lungs, nose. My doctor had no answers for this issue, I solved it with research…..Sufficient trace elements are just as important as sufficient vitamins, minerals in my experience…

  30. Hi. This article has been a reassurance for me. I am 42 and I consume relatively more salt compared to others around me. I carry salt water when going for cycling or going for a heavy workout. I have experienced that drinking salt water gives me more energy and feel more fresh after heavy physical activity. As you said, I just listened to my body cravings. My BP, pulse, and blood sugar have been normal. In fact, I am on the lower side on all these three numbers.

    Here in India, unprocessed rock salt is easily available in all local shops and it is very cheap. It is tastier than processed branded powdered salt.

    Thank you so much for the information. God bless you. Regards.

  31. Here in Portugal we have ‘Flor de Sal’. I just wondered if you know how it compares in quality to the other types you mention. I’m doing a big ‘wellness shop’ and Himalayan Pink Salt was on my list, but now I’m wondering …should I priorotise buying locally if the mineral content is similar? P.S. I came across your blog when someone posted it on the Facebook group ‘Arnica- UK Parents supporting natural immunity’.
    Thanks!

  32. I went salt free for about 6 months ( I think) at one point…..I developed all sorts of problems and when I added sea salt back into my diet, those issues pretty much disappeared. Going salt free was simply the dumbest thing I ever did and it probably cost me some years off of my life. Long story short here.

  33. i have reduced salt to all my diet for two months. also cut my food and lost 10 kg.
    my blood pressure has decresed from 165/100 to 130/80 .
    i have proven it to myself that salt and overeating is cause of many health issues .
    you only could prove it if you try it.
    eby

  34. Recently came across something called a “water and salt cure”. Decided to see where salt could be good for us. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and have had moderate symptoms for over a year, especially my feet hurting nearly all the time. 7 days ago I started the “water and salt” cure and my RA symptoms are all but gone. Some offending foods still trigger some swelling and pain. I have done a number of things since being diagnosed in April of 2013, including doing a low salt, gluten free diet. Now, while I won’t go back to eating wheat, as its processed and turns to sugar when digested, I will continue doing the water and salt as it’s had an amazing impact on my symptoms. I am, for the first time in 18 months, pain free! I am not on prescription medications, only took ibuprofen as needed, and tried a number of different things to ease my symptoms. Himalayan Pink Salt has done the trick!

    While everyone needs to research and see what works for them — eating a lower sugar diet with whole foods is a must. We were not designed to eat so much processed garbage. Whole foods, whole salt, and plenty of water = better health.

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I’m Lauren Geertsen, an author and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. When doctors told me that surgery and medication were the only answers to my chronic health issues, I decided to use the power of nutrition and a natural lifestyle instead.
My mission at Empowered Sustenance? To show you the simple steps on your path to vibrant health.

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