Shaking up the Salt Myth: Healthy Salt Recommendations | Chris Kresser
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Shaking up the Salt Myth: Healthy Salt Recommendations

by Chris Kresser

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iStock.com/sasimoto

As you may realize by now, salt has had a very colorful history, both in the development of human civilization as well as public health politics in the past century. While salt was originally prized by many cultures for thousands of years, in the past century it has been demonized; some have gone as far as calling it the single most harmful substance in the food supply. Yet as we know, sodium plays a crucial role in optimal health, and too little salt intake can be dangerous in the long run.

In Shaking up the Salt Myth: The History of Salt, I described the history of salt production and use, and its place in the Paleolithic and Neolithic diets. In The Human Need for Salt, I explained the physiological roles of salt in the human body and the basic dietary requirements for salt. In The Dangers of Salt Restriction, I examined potential negative health consequences of restricting salt unnecessarily. In When Salt Reduction May Be Warranted, I described conditions in which salt restriction may be necessary, and other minerals that are essential in determining blood pressure.

In this final article, I will describe the types of salt I recommend, and how much salt is ideal for most people.

How much, and what kind of salt to include in the diet

According to research, there exists a range of sodium intake that likely confers the best health outcomes for most people. As I explained in part 3, findings from a 2011 study demonstrate the lowest risk of death for sodium excretion between 4000 and 5990 milligrams per day. (1) Sodium excretion greater than 7000 milligrams or less than 3000 milligrams per day was associated with a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and death. This lowest risk range equates to approximately two to three teaspoons of salt per day.

Figure 1: Mean sodium intake among the participants of the Japanese National Nutrition Survey: 1973–2000

The average American consumes about 3700 milligrams of sodium a day. This value has remained constant for the last fifty years, despite the rise in rates of high blood pressure and heart disease. (2) As a comparison, the Japanese, with one of the highest life expectancies in the world, consume an average of 4650 milligrams of sodium per day, and have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than most other developed countries. (34) Their average sodium intake has consistently hovered in the low risk range over the past 30 years, despite attempts by public health organizations to reduce Japanese salt consumption. (5) A caveat is that the Japanese also have a high risk of stroke, so their extremely high salt intake is not necessarily recommended as a model for our own intake. (6)

While salt recommendations vary between individuals based on age, gender, physical activity, and health conditions, I feel that the data supports an intake between 3000 and 7000 milligrams of sodium, or 1.5 to 3.5 teaspoons of salt, per day.

People who are quite active or sweat a lot should consume salt on the higher end, and those who are less active may want to consume on the lower end. Of course, there may be some conditions where moderate salt restriction is warranted, but for the majority of healthy individuals, salting to taste will provide an appropriate level of sodium in the diet.  Natural sources of sodium include sea vegetables, fish, shellfish, and meat, plus certain plants such as beets, carrots, celery, spinach, and turnips.

What type of salt should you buy?

One question frequently brought up in the Paleo community is what type of salt is best. This is a difficult question to answer. There are a wide variety of salts available on the market, all claiming health benefits over the others. While the answer to this is unclear, there is some research demonstrating a difference in mineral content and flavor intensity of certain salts that would be better options than common table salt.

A fascinating 1980 study examined the different indigenous, pre-industrial methods of salt production, and their respective mineral contents. (7) Some salt production methods included drying marine algae or fish eggs, fermenting marine fish blood and entrails, and even using sea water soaked in peat that was dried and burned to create salty ash. This study compared the mineral contents of these traditional salts with industrial table salt, as well as a variety of sea salts and other “health salts” on the market. The indigenous salts were found to be higher in combined essential and nonessential trace elements than both the table and sea salts.

Most of us do not have access to these traditionally prepared salts. Fortunately, sea salt and other commercially available natural salts have been shown to contain a higher trace mineral content than refined table salt. (8) In this study, the mineral content of sea salts differed depending on the harvesting location, but all salts tested contained various amounts of trace minerals (with the exception of table salt), and had small amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, zinc, and iron. The various natural salts also had different time intensity profiles, due to the variety of minerals, so less of the salt is necessary to achieve the same level of flavor intensity compared to table salt.

Types of salt that are not recommended

One sea salt that is not recommended for dietary consumption is Dead Sea salt, due to its high bromide content. (9) The Dead Sea has the highest bromide concentration of any large body of water in the world, and bromide toxicity can occur after consumption. Some argue that sea salt is no longer healthy due to the level of pollution in our oceans today, though evidence for this is scant. (10) If this is a concern, there are salts produced from ancient geological oceans, like Real Salt from Utah beds or Himalayan pink salt, which would not have the same level of pollution as salt from much of the world’s oceans.

Regular table salt, conversely, is heavily processed, generally devoid of trace minerals, and commonly contains undesirable additives such as anti-caking agents like sodium silicoaluminate or sodium ferrocyanide. Therefore, generally avoiding table salt is a good idea, though care must be taken to ensure adequate iodine intake from other sources once iodized table salt has been removed from the diet.

Don’t stress the salt!

The amount of conflicting research that exists on salt is astounding. Hundreds of studies have been conducted on salt intake, and a consistent pattern has never been established for sodium’s role in a variety of negative health outcomes. At a minimum, it seems absurd that so much time, energy, and money is spent on trying to reduce the amount of salt that Americans eat, considering how weak the evidence is on this issue.

Ultimately, my perspective is that adding unrefined salt to a whole foods Paleo diet is perfectly healthy. By limiting grains and processed foods, the amount of sodium in your diet will already be drastically reduced as compared to the standard American diet.

A bit of salt can make certain healthy foods, particularly bitter vegetables, far more palatable. Considering the evidence I’ve presented in this series, I believe that salt restriction for the general population is not only unnecessary, but potentially dangerous.

Now, I’d like to hear from you. Have I changed your perspective on salt? Do you disagree with my analysis of the data? Tell me your thoughts!

190 Comments

Join the conversation

  1. I recently was bitten by a mosquito in Spain, unfortunately it became infected. The bite was on my neck, but the infection spread to my face. I was prescribed antibiotic and antihistamine. I thought the rash had gone however it keeps coming back. I did not want to keep taking antihistamines so have researched the internet for natural remedies. I came across a site that suggested I use unprocessed salt ie: sea salt/rock salt, dissolve a pinch on the tip of my tongue and drink a large glass of water it said to do this four times a day. My rash is drying up and the prickly itchy feeling is going. I will continue with this. I have been cutting down on my salt intake, however I now believe it is not the correct thing to do.

  2. Chris, I am currently exploring the effect of sea salt on the body in a facebook group called The Wilking Protocol. Let me know if you are interested in observing what’s happening in there.

  3. The amount of ignorance in the comments in astonishing. I am surprised paleos would be so fooled by the anti-salt health community.

    Sea salt and even table salt are essential for health.

    http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/salt.shtml

    The amount of idiots who say you need none, probably never exercise or sweat. I exercise constantly. If I do not replenish my salt, I get weak and faint.

    Historically our ancestors often averaged 17 grams of sea salt per day.

    http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/salt-and-our-health/

    http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/the-salt-of-the-earth/

    Innumerable cultures harvest salts and have added them to foods. Salt has been cherished and used as currency. Wars have even been fought over salt.

    Apparently they all had heart disease, hypertension and strokes, because they ate more salt than we did.

    It should be noted that salt must be eaten in correlation with potassium. If salt is too high and potassium is low, then it is problematic. Same with if potassium is too high and salt is too low. A balance is needed. Taste often can be a good guide.

    Pink salt is touted to contain over 1mg of iron per gram of salt. This is not recommended for those who eat a lot of meat, as excessive iron has innumerable negative health consequences. Thus 10 grams of pink salt equals 100% of your daily iron. Iron oxide is what gives pink salt its colour.

    Other things to watch out for are potential contaminants in salt. Finding a non-caking agent table salt can be useful if sea salts do not react too well.

    Salt consumption is also relative to overall caloric intake. A large person who sweats and trains regularly will obviously need more than some skinny person who sits at a desk with air conditioning.

    My best performances are always done when I do my salt load just right. It also lowers cortisol the stress agent.

    Low salt will only make you weak, give you terrible muscular endurance. I pity those who are missing out. However I suppose you deserve it for embracing such ignorance.

    • yea, I can attest from personal experience that increasing (not decreasing) unrefined sea salt intake has only improved my health. I went months (over 6 months) once and removed salt completely from my diet. My hair started falling out, and only 29 years old…..I developed rashes, numbness in my limbs – other autoimmune disorders as well. My gums started to bleed uncontrollably at times. My digestion was the worst – it slowed down and nearly stopped. I almost had to go to the ER to take a #2. Any time I would eat a pinch of sea salt after that, my disgestion would instantly start working, my stomach would rumble, my mouth would start to water (enzyme production). Its no secret to me now that sea salt and the minerals are very important in my body functioning properly. I would not advise anyone to lower salt intake. If you have high blood pressure, etc – you need to look at what else you are consuming, because its not the salt.

    • Seriously you believe in western price foundation,? That study is flawed from the beginning, who says that the best source of vitamin D is from eggs and meat instead of sun Rays, sun rays with in 20 minutes produce vitamin D in skin cells that last for several days, if you believe in medical science go a head and eat organic meat and eggs and observe the results for your self, just observe the sodium proportion in nature, lot of foods contain low sodium, i am taking about fresh fruits and vegetables, follow the nature and you will always be safe, the best sodium recommendation for people on low activity side is 500 mg sodium, and if you do strenuous Excercise increase it to 900 mg but no more than 1000 mg sodium,

  4. I have a lot of education in natural health, body chemistry analysis, and supplement chemistry and chemistry balancing from the Reams Biological Theory of Ionization as applied to human health and agriculture. Visit: http://www.advancedideals.org.

    And from this I know a lot about body electrolytes and the many different salts and their effects on body chemistry.

    But, I grew up on a farm where a neighbour farmer who on occasion used to come over to our place and have dinner with us. To my shock he would salt his food to almost a white coating on his plate on what ever mom served. He always did this. Sometimes I would eat at his place and it was the same. His salt intake was incredible. I always wondered how or why he was still alive? That was 30 and 40 yrs ago. He was in relative good physical health until he died last winter at 84. This defies everything I know, and everything we are taught.

    • I have heard similar stories in the UK to David’s, and I believe that the war on salt in recent years is not only totally over the top, but damaging to the health of the nation. Too many times people look at ailments without considering the whole picture and make erroneous conclusions and judgments. Without question, some level of salt is necessary for a healthy body, but animal fats are not (finally the World Health Organisation has acknowledged the dangers of consuming red meat and put it on a par with smoking tobacco). I suggest we turn out attention to a war on animal fats instead and give salt a break – it deserves it.

      • Steve, Based on my experience, the general popular knowledge about the health of eating red meats is as bad as salt and many other things. I feel and think better if I eat good quality red meat, especially liver once every week or two.

        Our health is much more affected by stress, conflicts, trauma and the like, than food. Dr. Hamer discovered that every disease or disorder is caused by some sort of conflict or trauma. See http://www.learninggnm.com

  5. Chris, have you looked at Wright Salt. Finland uses this combo (potassium, magnesium, lysine) and it has reduced CD by 60%. Even their McDonalds was using it. Other studies in Taiwan and Australia show similar results. Jonathan Wright, long-time naturopath in the US created it. He didn’t like the name but his lawyers convinced him it was the safest product name to use.

    • What I would like to know is:
      Where are all these ingredients in wright salt, sourced from, ie country of origin?

      Proprietary blend of:
      Sodium chloride, Potassium chloride, Magnesium
      sulphate, Lysine hydrochloride, Silicon dioxide,
      Zinc chloride, Copper glycinate, Selenium and
      Potassium iodide.

  6. Himalayan Crystal Salt is the most beneficial, cleanest salt available on the planet. It was formed about 230 million years ago where the energy of sun has dried up the original, primal sea. This crystal salt is absolutely pristine and natural, identical in composition to the ancient primal ocean. Himalayan salt is most commonly found as coarse grains, fine grains, or large blocks in Pink Dark pink and in white colors. Himalayan Pink Salt is used by holistic chefs, spas, health professionals, and individuals for its range of nutritional and therapeutic properties. Pink salt may be used in the same manner as table salt for culinary dishes and baking, but it is purer and higher in mineral content. Pink salt can be used to stimulate circulation, relax the body, lower blood pressure, sooth sore muscles, and remove toxins from the body. Mehran corporation exports all kind of salts

    • “Pink salt can be used to stimulate circulation, relax the body, lower blood pressure”

      NaCl does not lower blood pressure. Quite the reverse, and wherever your sodium chloride comes from, it will raise your blood pressure.

    • 230 milliot yeat ago the earth is quite young 10 to 12 thousand ~ years proven not by religious freaks but a secular English man I don’t take sides just scientific research facts the sun may be millions or blllons old but earth

    • Hi
      Totally agree
      I hv converted my diet to high fat and low carb diet ketogenic way of eating and it includes pink salt or Celtic sea salt and be liberal with it it stops vertigo and dizziness cramps in muscles and is a conductor for our bodies helps with our neurotransmitters in our brain so we don’t get foggy memory’s dont get forgetful we need salt it has an abundant of minerals magnesium potassium etc combined with table salt which is good for the thyroid as well its natures choice given to us for a reason
      I will not stop my salt intake ! Also mensturating times in women it stops sugar cravings because u loose a lot of fluid electrolytes and need to be replaced by salt not sugar
      Thanks
      Beb

      • Sea water will not kill you but help you if you begin taking sips as soon as you become shipwrecked etc. It’s if you wait a long time until you become super dehydrated and drink a lot of it. Check out the video titled “water and salt” on YouTube by Barbara O,Neil,

        • Thank you for your reply. She has more than one video about water and salt. Could you link to the video you refer to? Thank you.

      • thanks for this information zoltan, my question to Chris Kresser is why is this article still up then advocating salt after all this time.

        What’s strange is I personally starting noticing actually quite the opposite of these studies purport ie: health benefits and better digestion when I used light sprinkles of pink himiliyian salt from dr mercola.

        But this research on paper goes against what Chris and Dr mercola thoughts.

        • 2 important, but ignored part of the real science of salt:
          W J Oliver, E L Cohen, J V Neel: Blood pressure, sodium intake, and sodium related hormones in the Yanomamo Indians, a “no-salt” culture.
          Circulation. 1975; 52: 146-151
          http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/52/1/146
          http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/52/1/146.full.pdf+html
          And: De Luise et al.: Reduced activity of the red-cell sodium-potassium pump in human obesity.
          The New England Journal of Medicine 1980 Oct 30; 303(18): 1017-22.
          DOI: 10.1056/NEJM198010303031801
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6252462
          Note: 1975 and 1980 – and where is the progress of the health sciences?? The salt debate is a harmful consequence of the astonishingly wrong education, and is a direct consequence of astonishing irresponsibility of highest level of health scientists. The real science of salt is a taboo – this is global problem.

        • H X Li: A study on the relationship between reduced activity of red cell membrane sodium-potassium pump and essential hypertension.
          Zhonghua liuxingbingxue zazhi 10(2):98-101 May 1989
          https://www.researchgate.net/publication/20612432
          “Abstract: A population-based matched study of 103 pairs on the relation of sodium-potassium pump defect and hypertension was conducted at a factory in 1986. Conditional Logistic regression technique was used in data analysis. It was suggested that the increase of RBCNa+ and decrease of RBCK+ and RBCNa+, K+ATP-ase were significantly associated with hypertension. Plasma sodium and body weight, which were considered as important risk factors of hypertension, were fund correlated with the decrease of RBCNa+, K+ATPase, it was proposed that reduced activity of cell membrane sodium-potassium pump might be the common link of the two factors with hypertension.”
          26 years old article! And now: “Noncommunicable diseases prematurely take 16 million lives annually, WHO urges more action.”
          http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/noncommunicable-diseases/en/
          WHO urges more action? But the WHO misleads all the humanity with own made pseudoscience, and the astonishingly irresponsible health scientists ignore this fact. In 2003:
          http://whqlibdoc.who.int/trs/WHO_TRS_916.pdf
          In 2013:
          http://www.who.int/entity/nutrition/publications/guidelines/sodium_intake_printversion.pdf
          “Addressing the optimal ratio of sodium to potassium was outside the scope of this guideline; however, if an individual consumes the amount of sodium
          recommended in this guideline and the amount of potassium recommended in the WHO guideline on potassium intake, the ratio of sodium to potassium would be approximately one to one, which is considered benefiial for health (12).”
          This (12) reference = the 2003. paper of WHO.
          Try to find the evidence for this one to one Na/K molar ratio in the 2003. document. No reference, and no evidence – this is pseudoscience made by WHO.

  7. I have been using salt to treat low blood pressure for the past couple of years. Use Celtic, Himalayan, and now using Real Salt, Utah. I put about a tsp in a glass of water daily or sometimes just twice a week depends on BP. I must drink at least 2 liters of water daily or BP will drop.

    My blood sodium is always on the lower side and potassium higher side of normal. My blood pressure gets as low as 85/54, heart rate as low as 46 resting. When bp lowers I do as much as 3 tsp in multiple glasses of water and drink immediately. My doc wanted me to use Florinef and I don’t want too. I can keep my BP up with salt but have to watch it closely. Cardio doc wants me to use midodrine and I won’t do that either. So Salt is my friend. I eat very little to no packaged foods and try to eat well, probably need more plant. I seem to also be hypovolemic, hypothyroid and probably some adrenal issues. They say Autonomic Nervous system problem is the reason, (POTS) but I don’t fit that profile entirely and reject that diagnosis. The body should function normally I don’t know what happened that I have to pay so much attention to monitoring myself. I have Orthostatic Intolerance standing long periods and feel faint. My BP and heart rate do not fluctuate standing as most POTS people do. I never had to use salt like medicine before but I have to have now. I have been very physical my entire life and this is keeps me down. But I exercise anyway and my BP drops. I just salt and water and continue to wonder WHY?

    • I know this is an old post but have you ever looked into upper cervical care? and had a cervical adjustment?

      I had high blood pressure for years and tried everything and nothing worked until i had a few adjustments. I’m only 33.

      I know a woman who had very low blood pressure for years too and she had the same problem, out of whack atlas.

      google it and look into it.

      God bless

  8. I have high blood pressure and I am on 3 medication to control it
    Am I at risk from sodium or is it ok for me to use salt
    Thank u

    • Sodium and salt are not interchangeable terms.
      Sodium an essential electrolyte, one of many “salts” the body needs, must never be confused with sodium chloride, or common table salt.
      Sodium from plant based material or the animal that ate the plants is appropriate for health. This is good sodium.
      Salt or the compound sodium chloride from packaged junk foods is to be avoided. Whether from the salt shaker or the processed junk food industry, this form of salt is not where people with health issues should be getting sodium from.

      • Samantha: too much sodium is never good, whether from plants or any other source. Recommended maximum intake = 2000 mg per adult person per day (WHO).
        Less (< 1500 mg) for people with hypertension, afro-americans and people older than 50 or children.

  9. I have always had extremely good blood pressure along with a low heart beat rate (47 – 55 beats per minute) because I have been jogging since I was 14 years old.

    But I am also a person that consumes salt with all and every single meal I take, from fried eggs, to salads, from toasted bread to meat and fish.

    But I never eat PROCESSED FOOD, never. The last time I ate processed food was 1 year ago and as an exception while with I went out fishing with a friend. I ended up with stomach cramps. (The thing is, I knew from the start that McDonalds fish burger was going to make me sick).

    Sodium chloride is essential for human cell osmosis and transport of nutrients.

    Concluding: I use salt to enhance the flavour of my meals, but I use it wisely, sprinkling It over meat or salad. I have no health problems whatsoever. JUNK FOOD is the real danger.

  10. Hi Chris

    Dr. Adel Tel-Oren has a healthy salt very high in sulphur. Have you heard about it? I wanted some, but apparently he sells it only to other doctors. I would like to get my sulphur by eating salt rather than by taking MSM. What do you think of this?

    Thanks,
    Carolle

    • Go ahead and take the MSM, it supplies sulfur in ways associated with proteins for building connective tissues, making them cross link and stretch properly, and has a good reputation for reducing back and joint pain. Eggs also have sulfur based proteins in them. Look up taking sulfur as an electrolyte separately.

  11. I can’t say for certain, I only have a PhD in organic chemistry (please note heavy sarcasm).

    Sodium and chloride, as the electrolytes (Na+ and Cl-), are essential nutrients for human life. The body specifically uses Na+ and Cl-, neither of which contains carbon (organic simply means a compound containing carbon). I can say this with 100% confidence, and that some of the “organic”/carbon containing forms of sodium are toxins – like methyl-sodium (CH3Na [contains carbon and sodium]).

    The ocean is 90%+ Na+ and Cl- – http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/whysalty.html – it’s essential for oceanic life.

    In concluding, the body uses inorganic sodium, as found in salt. Please educate yourselves.

    • Mrs Molly Jones, Mrs Neanderthal, Mrs Cave Dweller and Mrs Hunter Gatherer met at Tesco, where they waited centuries to buy some salt and gossip about how clever Ms Jones was with a newly acquired PhD, before they expired.

      Meanwhile Mr Paleo and other hunter gatherers went off foraging for plant based food and animals that had eaten plant based foods, to get the sodium and chloride salts their metabolism required.

      In concluding, the body used sodium, as found in plant material and animals that have eaten plants. Please re-educate yourself.

    • I don’t think anyone should eat any salt. It’s terrible for the body. Like Alexis said, it’s in plants and animals already exactly how the body uses it! It’s not how the body uses it in salt!

      Everyone would benefit from not ingesting any salt ever.

      People would be better off without salt. I agree with the people sayin don’t eat salt. Salt is literally a drug, like heroin. It’s probably more addicting than heroin. You people and your PhD’s are brainwashed big pharma tools!

      DON’T EAT SALT!

      • I think animals have a natural instinct to seek out salt.
        if there was enough salt plant food, why do farmers put out blocks of salt for cattle? I think people who want to keep their animals healthy have done the research.

        • There is a misunderstanding. There is no such thing as salt plant food. Sodium, an electrolyte, is abundant in plant based food. Chloride, another electrolyte is abundant in plant based food, both these are also available from the meat of animals that have eaten the plants.
          As for the salt lick myth, this topic has been debated ad nausea in these series regarding NaCl. Seeking out industrialised salt does not equate to any animals need. Most humans cannot do without a salt fix and do the same as animals; both are seeking an addictive compound.

        • Do all wild animals go on the hunt for salt licks? NO. Some, yes, but not most. What farmers do is irrelevant since animals don’t behave absolutely naturally on a farm. Therefore, the pro-salt argument based on some animals allegedly seeking salt is fallacious.

      • Salt is not a health risk, too much of anything can harm you. In eating too much salt the body has to overcompensate to balance itself out and that may be to the demise of a persons health. The body needs a healthy amount of sodium, sugar and water to properly balance out a diet. Think about it…..too much sugar increases fat, too much salt sustains the fat and increases high blood pressure, not enough salt and sugar and the body lacks energy because water normally flushes and replenishes. You must have all three.

        • Absolutely ridiculous to claim that salt is not a health risk.

          Sodium chloride is a known health risk. Nobody needs it. Sodium from plant based material or the animals who ate the plants is where we have received our sodium for millennia.

          Now we are supposed to believe that the toxins in salt, linked to neurological disease, are ok! Joke! No actually just plain foolish.

        • Wise Cave Man, you must read and learn this: In the scientific literature & media the salt has political- & a lot of pseudoscience but real science of salt we can find only in traces because it’s really CENSORED globally. It’s time to understand, teach & use some very important but forgotten & ignored knowledge; fundamental natural laws/facts & to see the sad reality. The spontaneous diffusion of Na ions into the cells & the diffusion of K ions out of the cells continuously enhance the entropy (disorder). The task of the Na/K pumps to keep constant the intracellular concentration of Na & K ions. These cellular pumps continuously use energy (ATP). Excess Na intake = excess diffusion = excess increase of entropy = excess work for pumps = excess energy expenditure against excess entropy > excess food consumption. But all the rest of our vital processes (functional processes of the cells) receive less energy because our capacity (to make energy from foods) is limited. Everything work worse in our body & this increases the incidence of all illnesses without any exception, our aging & devolution accelerate etc. this is why Na-salts are perfect foods of entropy. 10th ed. of RDA was the best recommendation ever, 500 mg/day Na! Sugars & fats are foods & are sources of energy. But entropy & Na intakes = five decades global censorship, corruption, pseudoscience & lack of real science. Excess Na intake significantly enhances the entropy because the surface (billions) of cells is extreme large, this is the main risk factor of diabetes 1-2, overweight, NCDs etc. & our devolution is a considerable fact too. The law of entropy is the fiercest enemy of life & is our fiercest enemy too. NaCl isn’t food for humans but is perfect food of entropy. Every mmol excess Na & the wrong Na/K ratio & other wrong ratios increase more the entropy in our every cell, but the specialists talk about these rarely or NEVER. Excess Na intake doesn’t increase the oxidative pathway, but a critical surplus switches the anaerobic glycolysis on, in our every cell & we produce cytotoxic lactic acid. This is the Sodium-Induced Cellular Anaerobic Glycolysis. All of our vital processes & organs work worse (heart, brain, regulating systems, immune system etc.) & our cells are dying. We haven’t enough energy & enough time for the regeneration because we enhance the entropy in our every cell, day by day, again & again. The average lifetime of our cells shortens. Faster the telomeres run out. Our aging accelerates. We get sick often & we will die soon. Logical consequence: the unnecessary salt increases the incidence of all illnesses without any exception! This is the no named Sodium-Induced Disorder Syndrome. The entropy law finds our weak point or points & ravages mainly there, but increases the disorder in every cell in our body. We are no uniform, so other risk factors & circumstances affect the individual consequences. The growing entropy is our number one public enemy on every level; physical & mental health & social level globally. The evolution of life on Earth, our history & our entire individual life is a continuous war against entropy. But we, humans started our devolution = the entropy is growing in human genome. Even we nourish the entropy in our every cell (fundamentals of our existence) but the health scientists don’t talk & write about this. This is really a fatal error. Non-communicable knowledge is too much in salt science, it’s time to change that, because we will die out within 250 years!
          “The Center for Science in the Public Interest in 1978 petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to revoke the generally recognized as safe status and limit salt, … It is unfortunate that government health authorities have not shown the will to act.”
          http://www.nature.com/ki/journal/v71/n1/full/5001951a.html
          But the CSPI is weak, because they don’t use the already existing knowledge. This is awesome guilty irresponsibility &/or astonishing ignorance. Optimal ratios & quantities are in human milk. From every viewpoint the human milk is an evolutionary perfect food, including minimal energy expenditure of the Na/K pump & kidney of babies = possible minimum „entropy-transfer” into babies = healthy growing with maximal economy. So, the human milk is perfect guide to calculate optimal adult intakes. But the scientists ignore these facts. The health sciences made experimental animals from the humanity. The entropy is nourished in us with Na-salts, but they don’t talk & write about this. They are treating only the symptoms & consequences of the Sodium-Induced Disorder. Without real salt science – evidence based medicine & really preventive medicine doesn’t exist. Sodium recommendation is bad, education is astonishingly bad, the strategy against obesity, NCDs etc. is bad. True science of salt exists only in traces in the scientific literature, & in some articles even the traces are concealed & censored. I collected the most important evidences (over 60 references) of the above ones in my article on science20:
          http://www.science20.com/entropy_and_sodium_intakes_wicked_problems_health_sciences-120016
          http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/readCommentDetails.aspx?CID=3982
          http://horizon-magazine.eu/article/science-common-language-commissioner-moedas_en.html#comment-1945038947

              • What Zoltan is saying is true, especially regarding cell entropy. The excess cellular sodium displaces cellular potassium (and calcium, which leads to high-calcium urine, which can cause kidney stones) creating entropy and ultimately prematurely aging the cell itself. So not only does the fluid-retaining saltified cells force the heart to work harder, the displaced potassium also has a deleterious effect on the hearth.

      • For 3.5 years I had a Cardiologist having me take diuretics and on a no salt/low salt diet. I had no need of the diuretics after 2 months but the Cardiologist insisted that I must maintain taking them. I developed severe sinus tachycardia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis 18 months ago. I kept complaining to the Cardiologist that I thought the problems were due to low mineral levels due to the diuretics and no salt/low salt diet. He did not listen. For the past 6 weeks I have been taking 2 teaspoons of Himalayan Salt per day. The sinus tachycardia has disappeared and the Hashimoto’s anti-bodies are declining. The human body requires sodium. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

        • Totally agree, as does everyone here I believe as sodium is an essential electrolyte.

          I think the whole point that people are trying to make is that, we must try to avoid the copious amounts of toxic mineral depleted salt in processed junk food.

          I know cardiologists aren’t nutritionists, but I find it hard to believe that one would tell you not to eat vegetables, some of which have ample salts of sodium content and ample salts of chloride content in them for a daily requirement.

          If you knew you had no need of the diuretics after two months, it would have been wise to stop.

          After all you knew and now that you know sodium is required, it would be wise to get it from plant material, after all your Himalayan salt is virtually all sodium chloride, not necessarily a good compound for unhealthy hearts, despite the immediate benefits of topping up your sodium needs. In the long term it could be as unwise to consume more sodium than is actually needed.

          I am surprise your bloods didn’t alert you to the kidney problems you would have faced by having sodium requirements below your obvious need.

          • Me too! I also had a low sodium status that included two months of being slightly dizzy and unable to concentrate. I run distances regularly and don’t live in air conditioning. This dizziness was quickly reversed by taking 1/8 tsp of Morton’s Lite Salt which is half sodium and half potassium chlorides. Now I’m sleeping better and recovering faster from exercise. I’m salting my food to taste regularly, but its hard to imagine taking 1-2 teaspoons per day of NaCl still. One of my references was “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” by Balch and Balch which has a quick read on the symptoms.

        • Haywood.

          I was put on highest doses of Xarelto by my cardiologist. Doses for very heavy people.
          I weighed about 130. Began to lose my balance, unable to finish sentences, couldn’t walk or speak in a straight line. Something radically wrong.

          I was almost done in by my primary doctor’s and cardiologist’s refusal to help me gradually reduce and then get off Xarelto. (only later was I aware of all the lawsuits from patients on this med) Finally, when I learned there was a window . .almost a 3 day window – -of time after which, if i quit cold turkey on my own, I would not be at great risk of stroke. I did quit cold turkey and went straight to the ER. It took 4 hours for the ER docs to decide to admit me so that I could be monitored while being given a short-acting substitute med to ease me off of that terrible drug.

          Either your doctor is not hearing you or he is getting a benefit from the drug company based on how much of that stuff he prescribes or he doesn’t give a damn.
          Most likely it’s a combination of all three.
          Stick to your guns

  12. Seriously what the heck is organic sodium? Can anybody find the chemical formula for organic sodium?

    I thought sodium exists as Na+ lol

  13. Sodium is really important for nerve conduction. Maybe that’s why the “organic sodium” group is so dumb lol

    • ” LOL ” ? Are you referring to yourselves as:

      Ludicrous Odious Luddites ?

      The illiteracy of your acronyms is what some prime ministers wage war on? Perhaps you were educated elsewhere?

  14. The problem with the studies relating longevity and other health benefits to salt intake is that the subjects weren’t on a Paleo diet. So we don’t know what the optimal salt intake is for a Paleo dieter, but we do know how much salt the Paleolithic people ate – very little.

  15. I’ve heard that for hormonal benefits to support the adrenal system, a person should take 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt in 16 oz of water 4 times a day. Do you agree with this advice?

  16. For what it’s worth/ and for the benefit if those who “crave”
    Salt – I found raw cacao nibs about a teaspoon a day unbelievably helpful! Weird, but I understand this is due to the trace minerals my body craves- not really the salt.
    Also, I didn’t see anyone discuss black salt (smells
    Like hard boiled eggs) I was gifted some from a buddhist monk; and an Indian friend, who happens to be a biological physicist suggested it for “assisting quick cell assimilation of nutrients” in my raw green juices.
    Any comments in response?
    I didn’t read the Yale article, yet; but will. My best to you all, in peace.

    • Hello Marianne, mmm, black salt, the rotten eggs would be its sulphur content I feel. Annoyingly still inorganic as far as a mineral nutrient goes.
      Black salt is still sodium chloride, not what the body needs in any way at all, given all the lovely green juices you drink, and as you will be absorbing essential organic sodium and your cells will happy to gobble it up, I don’t understand the reason for adding an inorganic compound to the mix.
      I wonder what your friend the biological physicist thinks about electrons from inorganic minerals being out of tune with electrons from organic minerals.
      I would so love a biological physicist to talk to!
      Peace to you too.

  17. The major problem Chris, as you have kindly asked for comments, is that you continually confuse the dialogue, due to talking about Sodium and salt in the same sentence. That is, as if they were interchangeable terms. They are not.
    Most of us should only be interested in consuming Sodium from plant sources, this is organic Sodium, which is the only Sodium the body uses to full metabolic advantage. We would not be interested in ingesting inorganic Sodium from Sodium Chloride (salt). The body does not use the inorganic Sodium in salt in the same way as it uses organic Sodium. By using the same two terms in the same sentence, which you often do, you only serve to further confuse people about required Sodium needs, and ingesting Sodium Chloride (salt) which has no place in a healthy body.

    • Inorganic salts are transported to the plant kingdom by fulvic in the soil.
      The plants then are consumed and the salts when ingested are in ionic form.
      Animals will risk their lives for a viable inorganic salt lick. I refer you to Cathy Engels ” Wild life”
      For salt to be life sustaining it has to be bio-available in an ionic state. This is to be compared to other minerals like Ca. Nobody wants to eat chalk like carbonates. Crystallization of
      Calcium causes many diseases. Clean, salt with a full array of Earth minerals is the way Nature provides.

      • So what? Drug addicts will risk their lives for an addictive substance also. So animals risking their lives for “viable”
        inorganic salt lick is meaningless.

            • I seen several documentaries in which elephants and other mammals are constantly in the search for salty mud to satisfy its needs. They literally eat the mud.

            • Coming from a farming family, I must refute this. Sheep, and other mammals, require minerals, including salt, on a daily basis. Failure to supply adequate amounts of minerals in the diet results in poor fertility, weak lambs at birth, reduced milk production, depressed immunity and numerous metabolic disorders. It has and is added to their feed. It IS essential for life or, if bad enough, they lay down and Die. Ask any successful livestock person. The more active (?productive–making babies, giving milk, etc) an animal is, I suppose I’m relating this to extremely hardworking farmers or even people running marathons or maybe even severely stressed obese people sweating about losing their 401k’s, lose enough electrolytes and become incoherent, light-headed, have heart irregularities, muscle cramps, etc and ended up in my ER. So, to make a blanket statement that people do not need sodium, which IS needed for the action potential of muscles, is irresponsible. It’s like telling fat people all they have to do is stop eating. This is ridiculous. I can’t even find a market that doesn’t premarinate my chicken in salt water.
              More people are slowly being poisoned (estrogen activators) by their plastic-ware (not JUST BPA), and they argue this baloney/salt instead. Just don’t use it, and if you pass out, you know you were either wrong or getting enough sodium from the processed junk you eat. If you eat it bully for you. I can only eat the tiniest flakes of sea salt because of my kidney disease (Stage 4 CKD), and I end up feeling like I’ve got a mouthful of salt the next morning, so PLEASE don’t bother to notify me of follow-up comments.

              • “So, to make a blanket statement that people do not need sodium,”

                Typical misrepresentation of what was said, so that you can pretend to have a point. No I did not state that people do not need sodium. The fact that you quote this shows that you do not have a grasp of what you have been reading. No animal dies because they have not been fed NaCl. They may die because they are starved of electrolytes and minerals. No human
                requires salt to live. It’s a myth that a whole host of uneducated people have swallowed.
                Sodium is required, Chloride is required, but NaCl has never been essential or required.

    • Chris mentions in the above article that unrefined salt makes vegetables more palatable. For the many who have little to no desire to eat vegetables, a little salt and butter can go a long way. Sometimes common sense can go a long way in these discussions as well.

  18. For disclosure purposes: I represent Frezzor.
    As a practicing dentist, I recommend Flakey Sea Salt from New Zealand.
    I instruct my patients to brush and then swoosh for 5 minutes.
    The invisible intelligence of the ocean acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
    It is part of a 3 part naturopathic protocol for periodontal disease.

  19. If you drink your green juice, I mean only greens, maybe with a lemon, you’ll find this very salty. I don’t need a lot of salt and yet, occasionally, I feel like more, then I will have. I only buy the large crystals from the Himalayas, so have to pound them every time I want salt which also makes for having less. I live in very hot Australia and during summer, after a ride or working out, I want more salt in my food. I agree with many here, that salt is a personal thing- as long as the source is the most natural and best we can get.

  20. I have done a lot of research on salt. Owning to the fact that sea salt is so popular, and salt in general is said to be bad for you, I wanted the truth. To make a long story short, I came across several facts that are of prime importance. Refined white table salt is a complete poison in a very unnatural state. “Sea” salt is a little better, but still not worth consuming.
    I have come across three types of salt that are worth consuming. The best is Himalayan crystal salt, which is pink in color. The big caveat with Himalayan crystal salt is making sure it is the real deal. The only brand I know for sure is real is The original Himalayan Crystal Salt. On a scale of 1-10 I tested at 10 for this salt. The second best salt is Redmond’s Real Salt from Redmond Utah. It is an all natural salt mind from what used to be Lake Bonneville. It is a slightly off white color with colored specs throughout. It is my favorite based on taste. I tested at 9 for this salt on a scale of 1-10. The third best salt is called Celtic Salt, Gray Salt or Celtic Gray Salt. It is gray in color. I have not been tested on this salt.
    Regular refined white table salt tested at -2 on a scale of 1-10. This indicates that it is subtracting life force when I consume it. I was not tested on sea salt, but I imagine it is very low as well.
    If you want to read up on the topic of water and salt, which go hand in hand, I recommend reading this book: Water and Salt the Essence of Life.

    • Perhaps the translation from German might be considered the problem, one can only guess?
      Salt, an inorganic non nutrient, as it is sodium chloride, is not

      • My apologies the text leapt ahead!

        The idea that inorganic sodium chloride is of benefit to human metabolic requirement is at best, the salt institutes dream of making trillions from unsuspecting followers who think that organic sodium (essential) is the same as salt (NaCl) non essential.
        Tap water, full of inorganic minerals, so difficult for human assimilation, is also a metabolic catastrophe.

      • Sodium is important to life, not NaCl.

        The terms are not interchangeable.

        One is an essential nutrient, the other is a seasoning, a preservative a condiment.

        Sodium Chloride is not essential to life, sodium is as is chloride

        Unless you understand the difference, there is no point continuing. No one dies without salt.

        • Henry, people could really get their electrolytes out of balance if the did excessive sweating from working out or they were sick throwing up or taking diuretics low blood pressure and the list goes on and on.

          • Clearly. As has been the case for millennia.

            And Paleo man and hunter gatherer man and Neanderthal man didn’t stand outside Tesco’s waiting for them to open to buy some salt.

            They ate plant based food and the animals that ate the plants to get their sodium requirements as nature intended.

            Perhaps you are now asserting these people didn’t perspire?

            There are serious non profit scientific articles and links proliferating this topic on this very page showing the clear dangers of ingesting too much sodium chloride.

            Have you read any of them? If so which?

            No one is suggesting that a person with low blood pressure should not get a proper nutritionist or even doctor to adjust electrolyte levels.

  21. Absolutely agree. I put a pinch of icelandic flake sea salt in my water throughout the day and also use celtic sea salt with real-food cooking. I always feel so much better and can notice when I don’t have it, especially when working out. And things just taste so much better 🙂

    • You probably feel so much better having satisfied a craving, as sodium chloride is addictive.
      As for “things tasting so much better” with salt, food can only taste saltier when adding sodium chloride.
      “Better”, being subjective, is the result of satisfying an addiction to salted food.
      Real food is not bettered by adding sodium chloride, it simply alters the real flavours and taste of foods, meanwhile satisfying the addictive nature of NaCl

      • Wow! Look at the salt police analyzing tastebuds now. Now tastes are linked to addiction lol sheesh I don’t know how some people do it. Nitpicking salt.

        Henry perhaps you can explain to me why when I switched to himiliyan pink salt I started digesting food ALOT better and my energy improved.

        Oh and so-called “healthier” nitpicking snt always “better” for quality of life.

        • Sheesh?? What language are we talking?
          I don’t mind that you don’t understand the pharmacology of sodium chloride
          in which a toxin’s response in the body is described as the drug’s pharmacodynamics, and the body’s absorption and elimination of this toxin is known as the drug’s pharmacokinetics; because pharmacology texts clearly list the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of sodium chloride, confirming its use as a drug.

          As it is addictive, the excuse that vegetables are supposedly more “palatable” is of scant concern to anyone concerned with nutrition and the real taste of unadulterated foods.

          It would be obvious that ditching poisonous industrialised salt would have a beneficial reaction, that does not mean that it is the result of any other regime. There is no cause and effect proven. By simply stopping the use of one toxic salt you would automatically have a better metabolism for digestion and by stopping the same toxin you would soon feel better. Taking a different form of sodium chloride doesn’t prove cause and effect. You have simply switched to a less toxic form of salt, so you feel better and your digestion is less impaired.
          As for policing, it is simply pointing out the obvious, people believe something is better because they are feeding a lifetime’s addiction. You don’t like the truth.

          • I don’t like the truth now? You are simply hilarious.

            I’m much more interested in practical solutions that work and make sense in the real world for everyday people. People eat salt with food. Many can do without it depending on what they are *eating*

            So… maybe you can do us some good and further enlighten us…

            Those with adrenal fatigue tend to run low in blood pressure. Salt has proven very useful for countless people including myself.

            Maybe it’s relieving the addiction that helps to normal blood pressure too? In those events should we all just eat plants?

            • Having enjoyed being hilarious for you, I need to be more precise than my previous monosyllabic missive, to make sure all is clear.
              Firstly I have no problems with other unprocessed nutrient rich foods than plants. However you feel….

              “The real world for everyday people. People eat salt with food. Many can do without it depending on what they are *eating” Well, nit pickingly That is Incorrect! EVERONE can do without NaCl regardless of what they eat, they simply chose not to do so.

              As we have previously established sodium chloride has never been essential.
              Organic sources of Sodium Yes! Organic sources of Chloride Yes! Inorganic NaCl Never. People are fooled into believing that NaCl suffices in alleviating metabolic challenges for the good.
              It is at very best, a poor but quick fix. At worst, long term kidney problems and a host of other diseases.
              Sodium alone from the richest providing plant sources, especially juiced, would not result in long term damage, but bathe the cells in the required electrolyte and nutrient that they deserve and need. Why take bound inorganic chloride along with sodium, where it is not required? It is alien to where sodium needs to work!
              Compromised people often opt for a quick fix instead. That is their choice, but not their metabolic need for optimum health.
              I hope your adrenals are one on day, and evermore, bathed in abundant glorious organic bioavailable sodium and you are freed from inferior inorganic substitutes.
              Hilariously in peace Henry.

          • mate, I have excellent health, with a heart beat between 47 and 55 beats per minute, my blood pressure has always been excellent (don’t know the figures), and I spread sea salt on every meal I take, let it be meat, salad, fish or fried eggs.

            Salt is essential. Take a close look at the elephants and other mamals and how they travel long distances in search of salt.

    • The abstract fails as does so many by not elucidating on the type, source or quality of the salt.
      If they used concentrated salt, baked and purified, you will destroy the human condition. This would be an anathema to Nature and an absurd consideration as it is never how our planet provides.
      Donald Newman DDS

      • You could always ask them before you rubbish the article.
        Here is there address. Perhaps you would be so good as to inform us all of their response.

        1Departments of Neurology and Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine, 15 York Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA. [email protected]

        • Love Yale, the Whiffenpoofs and the Yale Russian Chorus singing at Woolsey.
          Just do not bite too deeply into an abstract that appears to have an agenda prior to research.
          Would much rather look at starving elephants before and after their journey to a salt lick. Are they healthier and please dedicate the analysis to all biological parameters.

          • So still babbling on, but you haven’t contacted Yale to confirm whether your earlier castigations have any basis of truth whatsoever. Classic!

            As for salt licks, that old chestnut never stands up to any scrutiny. No animal dies without sodium chloride. Neither do humans.

            • Salt can be toxic or compliment a healthy lifestyle.
              Without salt you die.
              Clearly, one should choose wisely.
              I leave the research up to you.
              I will not engage in any polemic. My only advise is choose wisely.

              • “Without salt you die”

                Do you mean without SALTS you die?

                Sodium Chloride (salt) is not a requisite for life. I have experiential proof, which you do clearly do not possess.

                I have already proved your assumption to be false, I ingest no Sodium Chloride at all; that is not to say that I do not ingest the SALTS via the plant kingdom that are essential to life. None of these are Sodium Chloride.

              • Belief persists even among healthcare professionals that the human body requires some daily salt intake for health. This belief is false and dangerous. Although the human body requires sodium as a micronutrient, which is available naturally in sufficient amounts in unsalted food, it has no need for any sodium chloride whatsoever. Salt is not a nutrient.
                “Discussion over” ok, if you say so!

              • Thank you sincerely for your last post, it doesn’t have a “reply” box beneath, so from your earlier post….

                As I believe that NaCl from any non industrialised source is still virtually 85% Sodium Chloride (and any remaining minerals can be found in plant source) I do not recommend any form of Sodium Chloride at all. I prefer the real tastes and flavours of vegetables and other foods.

          • So, still pontificating, but you haven’t contacted Yale to see if your earlier castigations were true or purely self serving conjecture.

            As for salt licks, that old chestnut never stood up to scrutiny. Animals don’t die if they don’t consume sodium chloride, neither do humans.

  22. Although that seems like a sound range to remain within, what about when you add regular water (I consume about 4-7 L of low sodium reminaralized water p/day) consumption into the mix. At which point, aren’t you pushing your supply out of the body?

  23. Hi Chris, good work i must say, but my concern here is this; is it the raw uncooked salt added to food or both the cooked and uncooked salt. Help cos i crave for salt like an addict.

  24. Could I try taking 600 mg sea kelp (natural iodone) capsules along with my 100mcg Levothyroxine since I am working out and sweating a lot and still have low adrenal symptoms?

    • Iodine for working out is a yes. I came across research after reading about iodine in Life Extension magazine and found research that said an exercise session uses about 130 mcg of iodine and heavy sweating does about the same. Both of these are very close to the RDA for iodine. I noticed a better recovery from my long runs after going to 1000 mcg of iodine per day. In Japan some sea food rich areas eat 13.6 mg of iodine on an average day!

  25. The difference in the two diets is in the amount of SUGAR consumed in the West, not the salt. It’s the fructose, white flour, and other sugars that are raising blood pressure.

  26. Hi

    The study you got your facts from claiming anything below 3mg a day is bad for cardiovascular health was done using over 25 000 people with high diabetes disease or cardiovascular disease. You can not infer these results to the normal well population.

    Here is a more recent larger study of interest showing lower sodium diets to have no consequence.

    http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1326

    For the public : please to your own research from at least 20 sources on a topic before you make a judgement on what information May or may not be correct.

    • Lisa, the link you shared says the exact opposite of what you quoted it to support. Here is the conclusion section:

      “High quality evidence in non-acutely ill adults shows that reduced sodium intake reduces blood pressure and has no adverse effect on blood lipids, catecholamine levels, or renal function, and moderate quality evidence in children shows that a reduction in sodium intake reduces blood pressure. Lower sodium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke and fatal coronary heart disease in adults. The totality of evidence suggests that most people will likely benefit from reducing sodium intake.”

    • Lisa, the article you link to says the exact opposite of the point you cited it to support.

      Here is the conclusion section of the study:
      “High quality evidence in non-acutely ill adults shows that reduced sodium intake reduces blood pressure and has no adverse effect on blood lipids, catecholamine levels, or renal function, and moderate quality evidence in children shows that a reduction in sodium intake reduces blood pressure. Lower sodium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke and fatal coronary heart disease in adults. The totality of evidence suggests that most people will likely benefit from reducing sodium intake.”

      • Hi Holly, I think you have just re-quoted the very point Lisa was referring to. Low sodium intake can be a beneficial lifestyle for those not metabolically challenged.

        • Samantha,

          No, Lisa’s comment and the article she cites to support it say opposite things.

          Referring to the need for studies on the normal well population, Lisa writes, “Here is a more recent, larger study of interest showing lower sodium diets to have no consequence.”

          However, the study says “The totality of evidence suggests that most people will likely benefit from reducing sodium intake.”

          So she cites the article to support the idea that low-sodium diets have “no consequence” for
          the general population , but the study says they are beneficial for that same group. It does not support her point.

  27. I think the research on salt is largely conflicting because cardiovascular disease doesn’t only depend on salt, but rather the balance between different electrolytes like sodium and potassium. When you consider that fruits and vegetables are the foods with the highest amounts of potassium, and then consider that Japan’s population consumes more produce than the West, it comes as no surprise that they seem to be able to handle consuming more salt. Likewise, when looking at large studies in North America, I think the person’s diet will largely affect how their system processes salt. Someone eating a lot of processed foods and little produce will have a very high sodium:potassium ratio and likely be more at risk.

    As for people talking about these salt cravings, I’m sceptical that this translates to the body needing salt. Salt is very much a learned taste, and our taste buds adapt based on our salt intake over a few days. One study fed infants salted food and another group of infants salt-free food, and sure enough the infants that had consumed the salt tended to want more of it, some of them even licking the salt shaker. The salt-free babies didn’t seem to care for it later in life. [1] If you reduce your salt intake over a period of time, your tastes change. You will crave it early on, but once you get over that hump, you stop craving it, and foods with added salt taste even saltier.

    There was a meta-analysis in 2011 of seven randomized controlled trials that found cardiovascular risk wasn’t associated with sodium intake. [2] However, when you remove the already ill heart patients from the analysis, you find a 20% decreased risk of heart attack and stroke with a 2 gram daily reduction in sodium intake. [3]

    Many other studies have found dangers with high sodium intake, independent of blood pressure. [4-8] Sodium has also been associated with kidney disease, [9-10] ulcers, gastric cancer, [11] osteoperosis,[12-13] and autoimmune inflammation. [14-17]

    Given all of the evidence showing negative effects of excess salt intake, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for the health authorities to be promoting salt restriction. It’s easy to cherry pick a few studies that found no connection and say “who cares,” but the bulk of the evidence points to restriction being the best course of action.

    [1] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/95/1/123.abstract
    [2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21735439
    [3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21814179
    [4] Tuomilehto J, Jousilahti P, Rastenyte D, et al: Urinary sodium excretion and cardiovascular mortality in Finland: a prospective study. Lancet 2001, 357:848-851.
    [5] Perry IJ, Beevers DG: Salt intake and stroke: a possible direct effect. J Hum Hypertens 1992, 6:23-25.
    [6] Simon G: Experimental evidence for blood pressure-independent vascular effects of high sodium diet. Am J Hypertens 2003, 16:1074-1078.
    [7] Sanders PW: Vascular consequences of dietary salt intake. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 2009, 297:F237-243.
    [8] de Wardener HE, MacGregor GA: Harmful effects of dietary salt in addition to hypertension. J Hum Hypertens 2002, 16:213-223.
    [9] de Wardener HE, MacGregor GA: Harmful effects of dietary salt in addition to hypertension. J Hum Hypertens 2002, 16:213-223.
    [10] Diets High In Sodium And Artificially Sweetened Soda Linked To Kidney Function Decline. In ScienceDaily; 2009.
    [11] Tsugane S, Sasazuki S: Diet and the risk of gastric cancer: review of epidemiological evidence. Gastric Cancer 2007, 10:75-83.
    [12] Frassetto LA, Morris RC, Jr., Sellmeyer DE, et al: Adverse effects of sodium chloride on bone in the aging human population resulting from habitual consumption of typical American diets. J Nutr 2008, 138:419S-422S.
    [13] Heaney RP: Role of dietary sodium in osteoporosis. J Am Coll Nutr 2006, 25:271S-276S.
    [14] Harmon K: Salt linked to autoimmune diseases. In Nature News; 2013.
    [15] Leslie M: Salty Food May Be a Culprit in Autoimmune Disease. In Science NOW; 2013.
    [16] Yandell K: Salt at Fault? In The Scientist; 2013.
    [17] Kleinewietfeld M, Manzel A, Titze J, et al: Sodium chloride drives autoimmune disease by the induction of pathogenic T17 cells. Nature 2013.

    • Agree with Adam, salt intake might be personal. When I take too much salty food, inflammation is felt, body is puffy. Following the Paleo diet idea, most of the human history and for most people, salt is not readily accessible. Why we have involved to need more?

    • I agree with this as well. I think the series’ recommendations make no sense. If problems with excess salt are mostly lack of potassium, then shouldn’t problems with eating under 3g of sodium *also* be derived from a lack of potassium, since it’s present in either situation?

      Given the pre-agricultural stats, shouldn’t the advice be to salt your food very lightly, avoid sauerkraut, cheese or bacon, and stock up on potassium gluconate powder to reach the 10:1 K/Na ratio?

      Has anyone tried eating 1 gram of sodium and 10g of potassium per day for a month? Has anyone tried observing how well someone with Yanomami Indian genetics in Brazil gets around on a modern diet, to see if they grow taller or live longer?

      It’s also hilarious to even wonder about why humans went to some much effort to create and adopt the salt trade. It’s like wondering why hunter gatherers go through so much effort to gobble up honey in monstrous quantities… It tastes good, and is hard to come by! Isn’t that enough? Humans developed inland, where sodium is hard to come by, and therefore we have a heightened taste for it (like other mammals). Not to mention the preservation of prepared food. By the way, if anyone noticed, potassium chloride salt substitute tastes pretty much the same as salt? Maybe it’s the chloride that we love so much. Not recommending the KCl, btw, I know it has negative effects.

      Another little note is that a lot of people these days look very soft. For the uninitiated, in fitness and bodybuilding circles there’s a term called “holding water”. This is when someone is generally lean, but has a film of water under their skin due to electrolyte imbalances after severe dieting. This makes them look soft. It’s common knowledge that a quick fix to this is to remove salt (cut sodium) and drink tons of water for a very short time, before aldosterone catches up. Could it be that part of this is the K/Na ratio imbalance that people face in a normal diet? Just some thoughts.
      ________________

      Anyway, I will try to be the guinea pig myself here. Will begin to salt super lightly, avoid salty foods and get my potassium up to 10g/d with K-gluconate powder over the course of the day, for a month or so. Then report back in Dec. Stay tuned 🙂

      • Ok, after over a month of eating about a 1:5 Na/K ratio with bare minimum salting and potassium gluconate powder, I…….. really have nothing to report. No changes observed whatsoever.

        Of note is that our brains do lie. I realised my tendency for oversalting food, and have developed a better palate via salt reduction.

        Anyhow, I think the arguments to the series from my earlier post remain. But I’m not going to worry about the subject much either, Funny to see some people here raging about chemicals. I doubt that people’s health would change in any noticeable way if, suddenly, all commercial salt was replaced with the pink Himalayan variety. Sorry.

        • “Funny to see some people here raging about chemicals. I doubt that people’s health would change in any noticeable way if, suddenly, all commercial salt was replaced with the pink Himalayan variety. Sorry.

          Who is *raging* about chemicals? I notice a few sensible people realise that if you remove the neuro-toxins in commercial salt, you will automatically be at an advantage, health wise, as your metabolism wouldn’t have to tolerate inorganic aluminium products, already linked by mainstream medicine to cause neurological diseases. Claiming the removal of these toxins, which people ingest daily, wouldn’t change people’s health, is based on nothing other than the inability to understand metabolic damage from the daily ravages of toxins.

    • Totally agree. When I read this assertion by Chris Kresser I was astounded:

      ” it seems absurd that so much time, energy, and money is spent on trying to reduce the amount of salt that Americans eat”

      “Absurd” Organic Sodium is what the body needs, not salt!
      The majority of salt that Americans eat is a metabolic toxin laced chemicals and devoid of nutrients.

      Are you Chris actually suggesting that the majority of salt Americans eat is of a reasonable quality!

      The very last explanation that any reasoned argument would use on reducing salt intake is that it is absurd. Of course it isn’t, it is an exceptionally sensible approach to sodium chloride addiction. Salt ticks all the boxes for potential addiction.

      • I agree we need sodium, but never salt (sodium chloride). I don’t eat salt at all and the sodium levels in my blood are perfect (142), as of last week. We get enough sodium in the organic vegetables we eat. In fact, when I did eat salt it made me tired and overheated my body at night. I tried Celtic sea salt and immediately got sores inside my mouth and on my tongue that lasted for days. So, I cut out salt entirely for three months now and have never felt healthier.
        Don’t eat salt.

    • I love pink flowers and now they are in florists!

      A pink flower addicts dream come true!

      Pink salt and grocery stores! Wow! A sodium chloride addicts dream come true!

      Whatever next?

    • Yes me too! I have always ran a little low BP and have craved salt from time to time. I do notice I feel much better when I mix a pinch table salt with Himalayan pink salt. My digestion (especially of meats) also seemed to DRASTICALLY improve but I never knew why either.

      Any other recommendations on how to actually keep stable BP other than salt or where it’s rooted? Not everyone has “high” BP

  28. This ariticle doesn’t make sense… higher sodium lowers magnesium and potassium. I believe its not about just the salt intake… its the balance of all these electrolytes. You want proof that salt raises blood pressure? Come to my house and I’ll show you. Then I’ll show you how supplementing magnesium and potassium lowers it when the cause is over load of sodium. Its all about balance.

  29. Another potential hazard of table salt is that it is comprised of half salt and half dextrose. Dextrose is an anti-caking agent that is typically derived from corn in the U.S.. The problem with this is two-fold: much of the corn in the U.S. is genetically modified and, because of the food labeling laws, corn is not listed as a potential allergen on the label of table salt. Plus, due to the excepients law, dextrose is listed on the label of table salt, but not on the labels of other products containing table salt (however, this part shouldn’t pose a problem if you’re eating a non-processed paleo diet).

    What this means is that people with corn sensitivities can easily and unknowingly expose themselves to corn. This was a problem for me when I was healing my arthritis. Discovering corn was an ingredient in table salt and eliminating it from my diet was one step in my recovery. I am now arthritis-free and prefer varieties of sea salt.

    Since writing this, have you learned anything new or definitive about the potential pollution of sea salt?

    • I was just recently diagnosed with arthritis, though they can’t quite figure out which type and what treatment should be. I’ve tried homeopathic remedies to no avail, and just recently began brewing my own kombucha after learning that helped someone extraordinarly. I would love to hear more about your healing process. Trying to learn as much as I can about natural ways to deal with this diagnosis, as I am becoming more symptomatic.

      • Hello, I have had awesome success with serrapeptase from vitamin shoppe 40,000 units enteric coated. There are no side effects . great for inflammation! Please try. Give it a chance. Will take weeks to a month, but will work! I will never stop taking it. Research it. If it works for you pass it on. I think it is a miracle. It calms inflammation .that is where the evil starts

  30. I eat a lot of salt, and unfortunately it’s the bad processed table salt. Yet my blood pressure 99.9% of the time is 90s/60s. Am I an example of how high salt intake is not as detrimental to health as they say? Or does it mean something else entirely?

  31. Hi Chris,
    I’ve looked around for articles on your site and found that you’re obviously not a fan of soy. I’m trying to find an answer to whether or not I should be consuming or avoiding tamari and miso. I guess I’m really hoping that it’s an ok salt alternative, but I’m really not sure if it gets your stamp of approval. I consume it daily. Please help 🙂

  32. I stumbled upon this article while searching on Google for more info on sodium concerns I have been having.

    I’m generally 90 – 95% Paleo but as of late, due to trying to add muscle …I noticed my intake of protein wasn’t coming even close to 1 to 1 or even .8 to 1 grams/protein to lean body mass just eating to satiety (Mark Sission Style).

    So I have been eating in the gray area side of things by using APPLEGATES 100% Grass-fed Beef Dogs & Cold Cuts to help me up my protein intake and that got me to notice how much sodium i’m also taking in by this type of shortcut.

    Example: If i’m throwing 3 slices of turkey in between some lettuce and then eating a beef dog…that’s like 740mg’s of sodium from one meal.

    I suppose this is better than just downing a Whey protein shake but from the article above I think I should be ok?? Considering I’m only doing this once a day generally an the rest of my food is made from scratch. (Beef Stews, Paleo Chili’s etc).

    Thoughts?

    • I think you’re fine, especially if you have no blood pressure issues and you aren’t sodium sensitive.

      • Appreciate the answer Chris.

        Yeah, so far so good in regards to having no blood pressure issues or sodium sensitivity. I suppose I am due for a full blood lipid panel considering I haven’t had one for a couple of years now and also barring that I have gone Paleo since.

        It’s kind of funny, the more and more I learn about the actual science of how we are genetically meant to eat, every once in a while conventional thinking will pop its head out from around the corner and remind you of who used to be boss the past 29 years (my age). Like sodium? NOOOOOOOO! lol

        Whelp, just have to get better at planning out my week in advance and making the best of my meals. 🙂

        Again, Thanks Chris…

        ~Mike

      • Chris when do you think you will be taking new clients? I have Hashi’s and need some help with a true professional that can read labs.

        • Unfortunately, it may be a while. I have about 60 people on a wait list, and they’ll be given the first opportunity when I re-open my practice. Have you tried the Paleo Physician’s Network?

  33. I’d like to stress the necessity of finding another source of iodine if you eliminate iodized table salt. As someone who suffered from iodine deficiency, I’m surprised that this very real danger only received one sentence in this post. Plus, there weren’t any recommendations on other sources of iodine, which seems like a large oversight. Ocean caught seafood & sea vegetables can be great sources, or you can supplement iodine through the use of Iodoral or Lugol’s Solution under the supervision of a professional.

  34. Cool article Chris, I especially liked the recommendations section. With all of the different brands out today and all of the marketing its tough to know what is good and what isn’t!

  35. Nice article. I am glad you did all that research on better types of salt to eat. I suspect that most people when eating healthy can follow their taste buds to know how much salt is best for them. Your body will let you know if you need more with cravings. And if you add too much, your body will inform you it tastes too salty. You have salt taste buds for a reason so let them work for you. Salt is an ancient food and our body knows how to regulate it properly. Processed foods do have a lot of salt but I suspect the main prob with processed foods is not the salt but all the other crap in them. Or if you have kidney probs, you may have probs with salt but then the real question is what caused the kidney probs in the first place? (I bet it wasn’t salt..)
    -Eva

  36. Hi Chris,
    I was hoping you’d mention “Wright Salt”, formulated by Dr. Jonathan Wright of the Tahoma Clinic. It is a “reduced-sodium salt formula based on the novel salt used in Finland – the nationwide use of this
    salt was associated with a 60% decrease in deaths from stroke and heart disease in a 1996 study.” Controlled studies in Taiwan and Australia have shown similar results. 1/4 tsp (1.5 g) has 324 mg
    sodium and 54 mcg iodine and is a “proprietary blend of Sodium chloride, Potassium chloride, Magnesium sulphate, Lysine hydrochloride, Silicon dioxide, Zinc chloride, Copper glycinate, Selenium and Potassium iodide.”
    Read more at: http://www.tahomaclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/WrightSalt-1.pdf

    Would like to know your thoughts on “Wright Salt” with it’s lower sodium / potassium ratio.

  37. A month ago I was asked by my health practitioner if I perhaps was restricting my salt intake. I did, and had for a few years already, I never thought my cravings for salt actually meant I needed salt because all I had ever read was that it was best to limit your salt intake.
    At that time, I’ve had ME/CFS for 8 years, with ups and downs and I was suffering from adrenal fatigue and leaky gut, despite being on a strict Paleo diet for 3 years. Of course more measures were needed to heal my gut and reduce stress, and I’m not there yet, but adding some salt to my meals has made a huge difference in my energy levels. This once again proves that listening to your body is key.

  38. Chris I think your teaspoon amounts as equivalent to the milligram amount is not accurate as there are approx. 4000 milligrams per teaspoon or 4 grams

  39. I’m a big fan of celtic sea salt. Taking that has fixed orthostatic intolerance (dizziness on standing) that was part of CFS. Definitely feel more energetic with additional salt added to food. I have been able to avoid taking Florinef long term for this reason (I have low aldosterone which means I have trouble retaining salt – my adrenals are somewhat pooped). I also take Slow K though as I had a test done which showed low potassium in red blood cells. Getting electrolyte balance right is tricky – my muscle strength, energy and BP (both sitting and standing) are all better with added sea salt and the Slow K balancing that out nicely.

    Thanks for this series of articles – I’m going to be taking the previous article and references along to my doc in regards to my Mum who has very low sodium but high-ish BP. Very very helpful as always Chris!

    Really fascinating to see the Paleo community catching up on all things adrenal at the moment too….I first learnt about the important a few years ago in a thyroid/adrenal group – Stop the Thyroid Madness.

    • Allison/Chris:

      I just read in the “Stop the Thyroid Madness” that taking more salt actually lowers aldosterone and sodium. What is your take on this.?

      (I also just joined one of their groups. I have Hashi’s and low adrenal function with bad hypothyroid symptoms. But my TSH has always been normal. I’m debating wether I should try Armour or HC to pick up my energy. At least short term while addressing the Hashi’s.,

  40. I recently had a ComprehensivePlus Hormone Profile which measured among other things mineral secretion in a 24 hour period. Mine results were 278 mmol for sodium (which I think is 5,000 milligrams) and 74 potassium with a sodium/potassium ration of 3.8. I was told that my sodium is too high. Also on the results for aldosterone, it was 3.2 ug, which I was told was indicative of high salt. I was told to cut my salt intake. I only consume sea salt and I don’t think I consume all that much. So is this in line with low risk and it’s just convential medical wisdom saying my results are too high?

  41. I find my taste guides me well with salt intake, especially if the food is relatively simple. Adding some salt to steak for instance tastes great, but bacon usually becomes too salty after a few slices. I believe people on higher carbohydrate diets retain more salt/sodium, so that is something to consider.

  42. Good article, on the topic of how much salt is enough?… Arthur Guyton taught us that salt intake in itself is not a problem, even in high doses i.e. Japanese population; natriuresis under healthy conditions eliminates the sodium the body does not need. To me there are two cases in which salt should be limited and monitored.

    1) Pathophysiological conditions that alter or impair sodium excretion: HTN and diabetes, which are the two most prominent chronic medical conditions, have serious impact on the kidneys and the glomerular filtration rate. This, in turn, leads to sodium retention and starts a cyclical cascade of further increasing blood pressure (water follows salt) –> renal injury –> increasing blood pressure etc. There are also several conditions that can alter sodium excretion by means of altered cellular and hormonal signaling i.e. Cushing’s, Addison’s, etc.

    2) Epidemiological studies have shown that age and race are important in salt consumption. The kidney’s ability to the filter the blood (GFR) is indirectly proportional to a person’s age; therefore the older the individual the less salt they would need to remain euvolemic. Race also plays a large role, especially in the US, where a disproportionately percentage of the African-American population suffers from HTN. Geographically African-Americans evolved in an arid area with little water, therefore water retention became a necessary means of survival, these genes were selected for, and as a result African-Americans have a more active renin-angiotensin system which conserves more sodium. Place this individual in an environment with free access to water and salt and obviously you now have a problem.

    In conclusion, renal function should be the primary indicator as to how much salt one can safely intake daily.

    • And how does one measure renal function for salt intake? The usual BUN and creatine?

      Would not simply measuring serum sodium and chlorine be more direct?

  43. I have thought about salt intake a lot, as I have a health condition that causes me to retain fluid occasionally. Since I converted to Paleo and eliminated all processed foods from my diet well over a year ago, and am pretty active in endurance activities, I have added sea salt to the mix.
    Thank you for writing this series of articles.

  44. I agree with your analysis and thanks for the through series of articles on this subject! Can’t remember using table salt, have always used sea salt, the French fleur the sel and Himalayan pink salt (Trader Joe’s) this is also a great site for salts: http://www.saltworks.us/gourmet-sea-salt.asp Concern is: iodine which can cause a lot of trouble when you don’t get enough. I take Norwegian kelp tablets every day, but wonder if there are other ways to get sufficient iodine?

  45. Chris, what are your thoughts on pure morton canning and pickling salt that is free of any additives? In my opinion, it seems like a viable option since it’s hard to find a salt that is free of contaminants and anti caking agents. For people eating a nutrient dense diet, it seems like additional trace minerals from sea salt are not completely necessary and could potentially contain other unwanted toxic properties.

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