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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Low salt diets are not good for your blood pressure - or your health!

Gary Moller: Adrenal exhaustion, poor thyroid function, sodium
retention with bouts of high and low blood pressure despite being
on restricted sodium diet for years.
It was around about 30 years ago that a well-intentioned committee of cardiovascular experts formulated a public campaign urging us all to save our hearts by reducing our salt intake.  This was on the premise that salt (sodium) was a significant driver of high blood pressure (hypertension).  We now know this was wrong advice that was of benefit to just a small number of people, while being detrimental to the health of the majority.

Gary Moller: Sodium intake is now at least fourfold higher.  Sodium
levels have dropped to healthy.  Adrenal and thyroid function
significantly improved.  Blood pressure is very stable.
Sodium depletion can lead to a number of ailments that are far, far too common nowadays: fatigue, high and low blood pressure, osteoporosis, dementia, fibromyalgia and polymyalgia.  Fluid retention.

Far from being a poison, sodium is one of the most essential and abundant minerals found in the body.  It has many functions within the body, including the regulation of water within and outside of the cells.  It is essential for healthy adrenal function, especially in times of stress.  Poor adrenal function impacts on thyroid function.

It is more than a coincidence that there has been an explosion of thyroid disease over the last 30 years.

Example of harm done by low salt diet: Highly depleted
sodium and potassium, elevated calcium, indicating
severe adrenal fatigue and under active thyroid.
It also happens that, in removing the salt shaker from the table, we have also removed the only reliable source of dietary iodine.  Iodine deficiency is associated with thyroid diseases as well as breast cancer.

I dutifully followed the salt restriction advice of the heart experts while living life in the fast lane, building a business, growing a young family and spending my free time running frantically about the countryside in my designer underwear (running club uniform).  In hindsight, it should hardly be a surprise that I was totally burned out by my 40's and definitely carbonised by 50 years.

The first two charts to the left show my cellular mineral makeup several years ago after decades of being on a low salt diet and then earlier this year after about three years of at least quadrupling my salt intake.  Needless to say, I am in excellent health nowadays.

The third chart is an example of chronic exhaustion, significant fluid retention, muscle and joint pain associated with a low salt diet.  In such cases, the treatment is to place the person on a water pill (diuretic), a thyroid hormone pill, pain killers and possibly an anti-depressant (Depression, hurting and feeling damn tired are one and the same when you come to think of it!).  Of course these treatments are useless if the underlying drivers that we can see in the chart above are not brought into line, starting with increasing her dietary sodium.

When we are talking about salt, I do not refer to refined salt.  Refined salt is pure sodium chloride (NaCl).  While NaCl is essential for health, it can be called a poison if administered purely on its own.  The original salt of the trade that civilisation was built upon was pink salt, such as Himalayan Sea Salt.  Unrefined pink salt has about 170 different minerals in it, including sodium, potassium and magnesium.  You need these other trace minerals alongside the NaCl.  When you set about increasing your salt intake, first purchase some of the various forms of Himalayan Sea Salt here while choosing low salt foods (low in refined NaCl).  Liberally salt your food with Himalayan salt while restricting all refined sources of salt.

The best time to take extra Himalayan salt is first thing in the morning with breakfast, then at about 10am and another lot at about 3pm.  Why at these times of the day?  Because the adrenals need salt to produce cortisol and it is at these times of day that cortisol production typically falls, leading to fatigue.

How long may it take to correct a chronic deficiency in salt?  Well, it took me about five years to get where I am nowadays and there is still room for improvement.  With nutritional re-balancing, I recommend that you go slow; take your time, rather than going for big hits.  Health problems associated with sodium imbalances, such as low thyroid and adrenal fatigue, are complex glandular issues that require time for healing and rebuilding.  Salt intake alone is not the answer.  There may need to be a deliberate programme to aid the restoration of adrenal and thyroid function.  So take your time.  Please be patient.  Contact me if you feel you need assistance.

And a final observation of that well-intentioned committee of heart experts who came up with the low salt health message: They illustrate beautifully the folly of blinkered single issue health advice - Being unable to see beyond the heart, they failed to see the Human with all of his and her complexity.  While blood pressures may well drop in the sodium deprived lab rat, this health advice has unwittingly produced millions of very tired and unwell people worldwide!  The only beneficiaries of this misguided health advice are the drugs industry and those who dispense their wares.

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1 comment:

Doug Baumber said...

Excellent article re salt. I thing you are being to kind regards the low salt recommendation being put forward with good intention .Way back in 1980 when I did literature reviews it was already well documented as recent studies still show-put someone on a low salt diet and you get everything from a 4 fold increase in death by heart attack,weakness mental confusion,edema and swelling and so on. Cardiologits are part of the money making/fraud machine and have the highest rate of unnecessary surgery:85% compared to 63% for general surgery. The typical tools of the trade of cardiologits are harmful to patients but highly profitable. Stents,cholesterol meds,blood pressure meds and so on. What I ask people to do is to ask Doctors why they are still prescribing Lipitor when the add in the AMJ has to carry the disclaimer that Lipitor has not been shown to reduce risk of heart attack. Is your doctor just slack and not read the fine print or just does not care about the harm he is doing to you by prescribing this deadly toxin.

Laughably a health association set up in England to save us from evil salt stated that it was a myth that when you did exercise in a hot enviroment you need more salt. They obviously have not spent 6 hours on a mountain bike in rainforest in a Queensland summer,were at the end of the ride you are caked in salt on your face and suffering severe cramping that is quickly alleviated by a teaspoon of grey celtic salt. Health Associations are typically funded by teh pharmeceutical industry.They make money by deliberatley giving false and misleading advice