From the Desk of Carolyn Dean MD ND

In my April 11, 2024 blog, I quoted Dr. James DiNicolantonio from his book The Salt Fix as saying, “Salt is used by our body to fight infections. Salt is composed of two essential minerals: sodium and chloride. However, chloride steals the show when it comes to immune function.” The quote continues, and I remark that ReMag® is derived from a magnesium chloride compound, so you get the benefits of chloride when you take ReMag®.

Carolyn Dean MD ND

In this blog, I am writing about the benefits of sodium chloride. Unfortunately, the “media” on salt is utterly confusing.

When you read health articles today, knowing when to hit delete is crucial because most health and wellness information out there is just clickbait. It has nothing to do with giving you a healthier life.  If you find an article confusing or contradictory or the information is the exact opposite of the last article you read, Hit Delete. The author is just being paid to write 3,000 words, and those words don’t even have any meaning.

Debating Salt

Take the salt debate. I say sea salt is good, and allopathic medicine says salt is bad. Never the twain shall meet, and the consumer is caught in the middle of this decades-old controversy.

In his book, Dr. James DiNicoloantonio (Dr. D) says that the attack on salt has no scientific basis. I say it came around the same time as the attack on cholesterol by the sugar lobby.  So, the sugar lobby demonized cholesterol and salt to draw attention away from the harmful effects of sugar. I’ve written a book on sugar called Sugar Without the Icing. It’s only decades later that we find that cholesterol is vital for making our hormones and coating our nerve cells, and we are suffering from sodium depletion without salt.

Actually, Salt Doesn’t Do That

The article that grabbed my attention and made me want to write a blog/rant, was a new study from the American College of Cardiology revealing that most people with heart issues struggle to reduce their salt intake. The leading cause of heart disease, according to the study, can be directly linked to consuming too much salt.

But that’s not true. The main cause of heart disease is not consuming too much salt. Dr. D says, “…there was never any sound scientific evidence to support this idea.” He quotes a 1977 U.S. Surgeon General’s report: “There was no evidence that a low-salt diet would prevent the increases in blood pressure that often occur with advancing age.”

Further, Dr. D stated that:
“The first systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of sodium restriction on blood pressure did not occur until 1991, and it was almost entirely based on weak, nonrandomized scientific data – but by then, we had already been telling Americans to cut their salt intake for nearly fifteen years. By then, those white crystals had already been ingrained into the public’s mind as a primary cause of high blood pressure – a message that remains today.”

So there you have it: salt doesn’t cause high blood pressure, yet MILLIONS of people are being told that it’s a scourge, and they suffer because they try to avoid it.

This study about people with heart issues struggling to reduce their salt intake is just another waste of research funding to prop up an invalid premise. It doesn’t even mention that people are eating “too much salt” because ultra-processed food, which is loaded with sugar and salt, makes up 70% of the American diet.

According to allopathic medicine, salt is bad for heart disease because it encourages fluid retention, and that fluid puts extra pressure on the arteries, which increases blood pressure. So, what is their standard treatment? Let’s dehydrate the body with diuretics that also deplete minerals!

The Good Stuff

How does salting your food too much with table salt (sodium chloride) or eating salty processed foods differ from my recommendation to put ¼ tsp of good colorful sea salt in each liter of your drinking water? Let me count the ways:

  1. Sea Salt has 72 minerals, including sodium, whereas table salt is just plain old sodium chloride. Those 72 trace minerals used to come from mineral-rich spring water, but now our drinking water is filtered to the point of taking the life force out of it—the life force being minerals.
  2. Sea salt dissolved in drinking water helps ionize the minerals, making them easier to absorb into the cells, pulling water in behind them. Cells need water for their biochemical processes. Plain sodium chloride in food attracts water and draws it from the cells toward the food in the intestines, causing cellular dehydration. This fluid can also collect in the ankles and fingers as edema.

But what about the faulty premise that salt causes heart disease? Lord Sufferin’ Cats. They aren’t even giving magnesium deficiency a side glance! It’s not on their radar and never will be. And that’s why you depend on my blogs, radio shows, webinars, and video clips to find out what’s really going on!

Magnesium and Salt Deficiencies

How does magnesium deficiency cause heart disease? Magnesium makes muscles relax and magnesium deficiency makes them tighten up because there is relatively more calcium. The smooth muscles lining arteries will tense up and contract from magnesium deficiency, increasing the pressure in the arteries. The solution is magnesium – and the best kind is picometer magnesium, which allows you to take as large an amount as you need without getting the laxative effect. But remember to sip it through the day in your sea-salted water.

While I was writing this blog, I found another article in Epoch Times titled “Salt Deficiency Could Be Life-Threatening.” Yes, that’s the way the internet is these days: Two opposite things can be “true” at the same time! But even this pro-salt article made the same error, saying that “The detrimental effects of high salt intake on the heart are undeniable.”

But then they go on to say that:
“Sodium is really what we need to maintain our life functions. As an essential nutrient in the human body, sodium regulates the balance of fluids and electrolytes, keeping blood pressure within a healthy range. Ms. Phillips described sodium as a sponge that can absorb and carry water. Sodium is also responsible for transmitting signals in muscle and nerve cells. Without an adequate sodium level, our nerve cells will fail to fire. Sodium also allows our muscles to contract when we need them to and relax when we need them to. Our heart and our lungs are also muscles, too. For a heart to pulse, it must also know when to contract and relax by itself.”

This quote is too simplistic and overemphasizes the functions of sodium, which I critique below when I give magnesium and potassium their due.

Salt and Adrenal Health

I think one of the most important functions of sodium is to maintain adrenal health. Dr. Andrew Neville agrees and says “Sea Salt Is My First Healing Recommendation for Chronic Fatigue.” He makes the following statement:
“Salt plays a crucial role in metabolic function. The entire body runs on the energy produced by little pumps called sodium/potassium pumps. The vast majority of chemical reactions in the body are dependent on adequate levels of sodium and potassium. The hormones of the adrenal glands primarily control sodium and potassium levels.”

Suppose you’ve listened to me for more than a minute. In that case, you know that I say magnesium is what’s added to ATP to make energy. The vast majority of chemical reactions in the body depend on magnesium to 80% of known metabolic functions and 800 and up to 1,000 enzyme reactions. When I searched for the number of enzyme systems that potassium controls, I came up with 60. As a comparison, 300 enzyme systems are dependent on zinc. But I couldn’t even find a number for sodium. That doesn’t mean that it’s not important for one minute, but I think sodium has been “canceled” so much that positive functions are not reported.

However, I did find plenty of research papers extolling the virtues of sodium, just like the quote above by Dr. Neville.

I include Dr. Neville’s excellent description of the relationship between the adrenal glands and salt.
“Our adrenal glands secrete a hormone called aldosterone. Aldosterone controls our ability to hold onto salt (sodium, to be more specific). The stronger our adrenal glands, the stronger our aldosterone levels, and the better our ability to hold onto salt.”

NOTE: One of the major classes of antihypertensive drugs is aldosterone inhibitors, which kill this ability to hold salt so that we flush it out of the body.

“In the body, there is a basic rule that ‘water follows salt.’ Therefore, if we have weakened adrenals and lower aldosterone, we will have lower salt/sodium. Since water follows salt, we will lose water as well. If we lose water (primarily by making us urinate frequently), we lose most of our blood volume. If we lose most of our blood volume, we can become lightheaded and chronically dehydrated, two of the most common effects of Adrenal Fatigue.

The resulting problems involve adequate salt retention and cause significant stress and dysfunction in the body. This is because all functions in the body exist in an aqueous medium (approximately 70% water). That means the body needs water to run all of its enzymes and metabolic processes. When this is not possible, dysfunction occurs on many levels.”

Water and Sea Salt Guidelines

Measure your weight in pounds. Divide that number in half. Drink that many ounces of water a day. To each liter of water, add 1/4 teaspoon of a good sea salt that has some color (white sea salt has been refined and loses its minerals). Start with a pinch, work up, and Enjoy!

Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future