What is the difference between refined and unrefined salt? More importantly, is salt really responsible for destroying our quality of health? Is it really as evil as we have been led to believe?
Why is this salt issue so controversial? I always thought we needed salt. The following article will explain how sea salt compares to table salt. If you follow the facts, there really is no comparison.
Is salt really public enemy number one? Is it really higher up on the list of substances we need to avoid then alcohol, fats and sugars? Really? What if the opposite were true and we were actually harming ourselves by restricting salt.
I'm sure you've heard that when you consume more salt, your body retains more water right? Is that a bad thing? Don't we need water too? If we had the required amount of sodium in our blood and body fluids, would the kidneys still be as obsessed with holding onto that extra water?
My mother is on a salt restricted diet. Why? Is she healthier because of it? Not from what I can see. This article will help remove some of the confusion by explaining how sea salt compares to table salt. To start things off, a quick tip about how important salt is and then a little bit of salts long history.
Salt is an essential element for life. It ranks up there with oxygen and water. That's a pretty substantial ranking. Take away any one of these 3 and life could not endure. In fact, salt has been used as a valued commodity throughout history. Salt is even referenced in the Bible 32 times.
God gave over to David and his sons, the kingdom of Israel by a covenant of salt. Wars were fought over and financed by salt. During the American civil war, part of the union armies strategy was to cut off the south's supply of salt. Without salt, they were unable to preserve foods needed to feed their armies. Governments were even financed with salt taxes.
Before the age of refrigeration, salt was used to preserve foods prior to shipping. It is still used today as a preservative for many foods. In the early 16th century, Paracelsus wrote, “The human being must have salt, he cannot be without salt. Where there is no salt, nothing will remain, but everything will tend to rot." Homer referred to it as a divine substance. Plato described it as especially close to the gods.
Early settlements in the history of human evolution relied on salt. Nations were built on salt. Salt deposits were critical in the decision about where to build. Animals instinctually knew where to find salt licks crucial for their survival. The animals were certainly not looking for "Morton's" salt licks.
The more you read the more you will come to condemn table salt. How sea salt compares to table salt is a moot point. It's like trying to compare something that is alive to something that is dead. Refined salt is dead, unrefined salt is alive.
Unrefined salt has been a revered medium of exchange for thousands of years, rivaling gold as one of the most sought after commodities in human history. Salt has also been used in religious sacrifices and offerings.
Remember the reversal of bad omens by casting a pinch of salt over your left shoulder? Every society on the face of the planet has utilized salt either in their food, as a medicine, for political influence, religious practices and as a way to boost economic activity. Salt was used in place of money. It was literally worth its weight in gold. Wars were fought over salt. Salt was hoarded, violently sought after and highly coveted.
So why is salt now marketed as our supreme nemesis, fetching the blame for serious health related issues including hypertension, heart disease and stroke?
What is the difference between refined and unrefined salt anyway? You could probably answer that one yourself. Believe me, there is a monumental difference. Refined salt has been stripped of all its vital minerals. Refined salt has been mechanically harvested and its moisture has been mechanically evaporated. After all that fun stuff they treat the salt with chemicals, anti-caking and conditioning agents. Nice.
With refined salt, the water is evaporated under high compression and high heat. This process disrupts the molecular structure of the salt. Trust me, that is not a good thing. It's never a good thing when molecules get rearranged. They then very pleasantly add in anti-caking, free flowing conditioners including: ammonium citrate, sodium ferrocyanide and aluminum silicate. Nice again.
Refined salt is essentially a dead, devitalized, worthless and lifeless product. Being a dead and devitalized, lifeless product ensures it an infinite shelf life. That's good for the profits of the food manufacturers and the local grocery store chains. But what about you? How does that profit you?
Refined salt is also bleached to give it that pristine, virgin white color. The bleach gives it a greater eye appeal and it also increases its saleability. Not only that but, the salt can be obtained from polluted areas, the refining process ends up removing any toxic residues.
Unrefined salt on the other hand contains all the essential minerals necessary for life. One of the problems with unrefined salt is that it is not a very attractive or saleable color. It cakes and clumps and it doesn't accommodate the traditional salt shaker. Unrefined Celtic Sea Salt is typically a light gray color. Other unrefined salts can even have a slightly reddish or greenish cast. Would you buy salt that looked like that?
Unrefined Celtic Sea Salt is harvested by hand without the use of machinery or explosives near the northwestern coast of France. These deposits are millions of years old. All this extra care keeps the salt and its life enhancing minerals from being contaminated.
Celtic Sea Salt is then channeled through a series of clay lined ponds where the sun and the wind evaporate the ocean water leaving a mineral rich, mineral intact, brine.
They use wooden tools to gather the salt by hand where the salt crystals begin to form. Utilizing this gentle hand extraction process protects the valuable mineral content of the salt. Like I always say, the closer we can get to God's original packaging the better. We need to keep mans hands out of it as much and as often as possible.
Another first class unrefined salt is Redmond's Real Salt. Redmond's is mined from ancient salt deposits near Redmond, Utah. The flavor of Redmond's Real Salt is exceptional.
It is in our best interest to know the details about how sea salt compares to table salt. It would be nice to put this controversy to sleep and get on with feeling better.
Unrefined salt has over 60, some say over 80, vital minerals necessary for great health. Refined salt is primarily sodium and chloride along with a tasty blend of toxic chemical additives. Unrefined salt is considered a whole food product totally bioavailable and utilized by the body.
Not only is refined salt toxic to the body, it contributes to a poorly functioning immune system. It promotes acidity in the body and initiates and accelerates your chances of chronic disease and other afflictions.
Minerals are mandatory. Minerals are one of the most alkalizing agents in the body. Your body has to have minerals in order to keep your pH in balance. Refined salt is acidic and lacks the necessary minerals to re-establish and maintain a balanced pH.
Low salt no salt diets are promoted and recommended to help control hypertension and protect against cardiovascular disease. At least that seems to be the longstanding, popular belief. It's so hard for anyone to admit they were wrong, even when doing so could affect millions if not billions of lives.
There are many contradictory studies proving this longstanding belief not to be true. Has your doctor ever admitted that they may have been wrong? What if your high blood pressure was the direct result of the exact opposite of what you've been led to believe.
The results of a study of nearly 3,000 hypertensive patients on a salt restricted diet revealed a 430% increase in heart attacks compared to the high salt intake group. That wasn't supposed to happen. The medical establishment doesn't want to look stupid, they don't like to have their feathers ruffled let alone admit they might have been wrong.
Low salt/no salt diets have even been shown to increase LDL, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Insulin levels and insulin resistance are also known to increase in a low salt no salt diet. Hmmm. A low salt diet will also cause the body to increase certain hormones. These hormones stimulate the kidneys to retain more sodium.
These elevated hormone levels can cause an increase in cardiovascular events. It's not a good thing when the body is forced to compensate because it is lacking something so necessary to its survival.
More recent research has shown patients with heart disease that reduced their salt consumption also increased their risk of death. Your body is trying its best to tell you it needs the salt, why are we so obsessed with denying it?
Part of the no salt low salt stigma stems from experiments conducted in the past where excessive amounts of refined salt were given to animals in an attempt to produce a significant rise in blood pressure. The amounts given were 10-20 times greater than the recommended dosages for these particular animals. Some say the levels administered were even higher then that.
The effects after removing these excessive amounts revealed a significant lowering of blood pressure. Duh! These results were then erroneously linked to more or less having the same effect in the human population. Sadly, this distorted conclusion has since been accepted as the law of the land.
Imagine giving a flea a 2 inch line of cocaine, what might happen to that fleas blood pressure? Probably go through the stratosphere right? Now, take that line of cocaine away. It's a miracle, the fleas blood pressure reading was suddenly and miraculously reduced. Such wisdom, all we need to do now is restrict or deny the cocaine. I think we all could have figured that one out.
The surgeon general even issued a report based on these ridiculous experiments claiming salt as the primary cause of high blood pressure and hypertension. It has obviously gained momentum and this hypothesis is now supported by the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, the majority of conventional doctors, medical schools, government agencies, dieticians, the FDA, the USDA and the general population.
Further testing and more current research has been done by other agencies to determine how sea salt compares to table salt. Why haven't we read about these other studies?
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) I,II,III and IV found that inadequate mineral levels was the best predictor of high blood pressure and, that a low/no dietary salt intake actually increased blood pressure levels.
Quote from the British Medical Journal (2002):3
“Lowering sodium intake may have adverse effects on vascular endothelium through stimulation of the renin-angiotensin system and on serum total and low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. In cohort studies, lower salt intake in people with hypertension has been associated with higher levels of cardiovascular disease and in general populations with greater all cause mortality.”
Quote about the NHANES III study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine (2008)4
“Observed associations of lower sodium with higher mortality were modest and mostly not statistically significant. However, these findings also suggest that for the general US adult population, higher sodium is unlikely to be independently associated with higher CVD or all-cause mortality.”
It's astounding to me the amount of blood pressure medications being prescribed. Many people I know are on more than one, my brother and mother included. Many patients cannot tolerate hypertensive medications and sadly experience and live with the many adverse side effects: tired all the time, brain fog, low energy and a non-existent libido. I'm sure a great many have no idea that these chemical medications are contributing factors in their current state of ill health.
The sad part is that the effects of salt restriction in hypertensive patients is dismal at best. Typically a 3-5 mm Hg drop in systolic pressure and a 2-3 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure. Not very impressive but it keeps the ruse alive and thriving.
Water and salt in the body are irrevocably linked together. They are crucial for detoxification, metabolism, transportation of nutrients and the proper functioning of the nervous, hormonal, endocrine and immune systems. They both play a starring role in our bodies.
Sodium is an electrolyte, it regulates the electrical charges throughout our body. Low sodium levels will obviously disrupt these electrical signals. The brain is especially sensitive to changes in sodium levels. Besides sodium and water, minerals play a very critical role in nerve conduction too.
Your entire body is reliant on its messaging system. Imagine what happens to your body when communications break down. If you're married you can relate to that. Ha!
You know how frustrating it is when you have a bad connection on your cell phone. Now think about that same distorted connection and static signal between your brain, your cells and your organs. How do you think that affects your metabolic processes?
The brain is reliant on sodium and water to transmit nerve impulses. A lack of this mandatory messaging and balance can result in seizure disorders. Many patients have experienced relief from their seizure disorders simply by introducing water and unrefined sea salt, with its bounty of essential minerals, back into their daily diet.
A Dr. Batmanghelidj, author of the book, Your Body's Many Cries For Water, refers to the two oceans in the body. The intracellular and extracellular oceans. The extracellular ocean (outside of the cell) contains red and white blood cells along with vitamins and minerals. The intracellular ocean also contains minerals and the interior organelles of the cells.
These two oceans are in a constant state of flux and communication. Metabolized waste products are released from the interior of the cell into the extracellular ocean for elimination by the kidneys. A lack of either one of these vital elements will result in cellular decline and or cellular death. A salt restricted diet also puts more stress on the kidneys as they are in a continuous battle to retain more sodium.
Sodium concentrates in the extracellular ocean while potassium concentrates in the intracellular ocean. Potassium helps to hold onto water in the interior of the cell. Other minerals like calcium and magnesium help the two oceans communicate with each other effectively.
Without these important minerals, the interior of the cell can become dehydrated. Through osmotic pressure, refined salt will actually draw water out from the interior of the cell. Drinking more water will not solve the problem. Minerals must be present to complete the transaction and properly rehydrate the cell.
As the cell becomes more dehydrated, metabolic waste products begin building up increasing an acid state within the cell. This creates acidosis and acidosis initiates the onset of disease and other immune system abnormalities.
Adrenal & Thyroid Glands
I don't know if anyone you know has ever mentioned adrenal exhaustion as a possible cause of your current condition. Your adrenals glands are responsible for maintaining energy, blood sugar/blood pressure levels, muscle strength, water and salt distribution and many more endocrine functions through the secretion of certain hormones.
I'm sure you've heard of a few: Testosterone, DHEA, Estrogen, Progesterone, Cortisol, Aldosterone and pregnenolone. The adrenals also manufacture and secrete epinephrine, the fight or flight hormone. Pretty important hormones don't you think? I think it would be fair to say that they are absolutely necessary to our continued survival.
You can't get around the bodies need for minerals. With refined salt creating an acid state within the body and cells, the body will naturally seek out whatever minerals are available to re-adjust and correct the problem. This creates even further mineral deficiencies.
It's an ongoing and persistent process. The less these minerals are available to the body, the greater the cases of adrenal exhaustion, thyroid dysfunction and the list goes on. It's no wonder adrenal exhaustion and thyroid disorders have reached such epidemic proportions.
If you are suffering from fatigue, low energy, sexual problems, thyroid issues, fibromyalgia, arthritis, immune or autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue, migraines, cancer or any other affliction, you may be suffering from the effects of adrenal exhaustion.
Without adequate unrefined salt and all the essential minerals, hormone production is greatly disrupted and diminished. It's not hard to imagine and to feel what happens to the body when these functions decline. Sodium levels are responsible for hundreds of vital functions in the body.
If the adrenal glands are not functioning well, your thyroid gland will also be affected. Your thyroid gland is very sensitive to imbalances in the body. The adrenal and thyroid gland are very closely related. Proper adrenal function is crucial for the thyroid's conversion of the inactive T4 to the active T3 hormone.
Unrefined Celtic Sea Salt or Redmond's Real Salt with its proper balance of minerals will help nourish, re-vitalize and replenish the adrenals and the thyroid gland. It doesn't happen overnight. You desperately need to start the process as soon as possible.
I know this goes against everything you thought you understood about salt but, sometimes you have to rely on your own best instincts. Don't believe everything you hear, especially when somebody is profiting from what you are hearing.
If you're still not exactly sure how sea salt compares to table salt and your still on the fence trying to determine whether or not you need to flush your low salt no salt diet down the toilet, here is a brief summary of the facts:
1. Salt is actually essential along with the required amounts of water in the proper regulation of blood pressure.
2. Salt is vital for balancing blood sugar levels and is critical for diabetics.
3. Salt is a very powerful antihistamine. Try drinking a glass of water and putting a pinch of unrefined salt on your tongue next time your allergies start acting up.
4. Salt can prevent gout and gouty arthritis
5. Salt on the tongue will stop persistent dry coughs and help induce deep sleep
6. Salt aids in the absorption of nutrients through the intestinal tract
7. Salt is vital for maintaining sexuality and libido
8. Salt helps to clear mucous and sticky phelgm from the lungs. Very beneficial for asthmatics, COPD and people suffering from cystic fibrosis
9. Salt is essential for the prevention of muscle cramps and fatigue
10. Believe it or not a lack of salt contributes to a double chin. I won't go into it here but it's true.
11. Salt is crucial for the proper functioning of the adrenal glands which also affects thyroid function
12. Bladder control and unintentional leakage can be helped by adding unrefined salt to the diet.
13. Lack of unrefined salt and water is a major contributor to osteoporosis
14. Your bones require salt to remain firm
15. Lack of salt and water contributes to erectile dysfunction
16. Muscle cramps and joint pain are many times the result of water and salt deficiencies
17. Your allergies can be linked to a lack of water and the minerals in unrefined salt.
18. Depression and other emotional disorders are many times linked to water and salt deficiencies.
19. Salt helps to regulate water levels in the body
20. Salt helps to regulate body pH by assisting the body in the removal of acidic debris
21. Kidney function will greatly improve using unrefined salt and water.
22. Salt can help regulate irregular heartbeats by putting a pinch of salt on the tongue and letting it dissolve.
23. Salt can help alleviate varicose veins.
24. Salt is necessary to balance the mineral exchange between the intracellular and extracellular fluids surrounding our cells.
25. 27% of the salt in your body should be in your bones
So many people suffering so many different quality of life stealing afflictions. So many of these afflictions are reversible with the addition of unrefined sea salt along with proper vitamin and mineral supplementation. Refined foods, refined sugar and refined carbohydrates need to be eliminated as often as possible.
Here are a few stories of patients that were helped by adding unrefined salt back into their diets. Everyone's situation is different, everyone's genetic disposition also plays a role. Find an integrative doctor willing to consider stepping outside of the box.
A patient with a history of being allergic to just about everything she ate was miserable. She was willing to try anything. She was advised to remove all refined, processed junk foods and refined table salt from her diet. She was also advised to monitor her pH regularly and to add water, vitamins and minerals along with the appropriate amount of unrefined salt to her diet. She soon thereafter discovered that when she was able to keep her pH elevated above 6.5, her allergies simply went away.
Another patient, age 63, was having his high blood pressure maintained by 2 different prescription medications. He claims that ever since he started taking the prescription medications he was always tired, he had no energy, he couldn't think straight and he was unable to spend any quality time in the bedroom.
He was told by his doctor to avoid salt at all costs. Even looking at salt would cause his blood pressure to rise. He was then put on a regimen of unrefined sea salt, vitamin and mineral supplements and water. After only 2 months he was able to stop his blood pressure medications completely. His energy soon returned, his mind began to clear and his problem in the bedroom went away.
A young fitness instructor found she could no longer exercise with her clients because she hurt so badly afterwards. She always payed strict attention to her diet. She was very well informed. She ate well and avoided salt religiously.
She had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, elevated blood pressure & heart palpitations. She despised refined foods and salt. She was up for just about anything. She was then prescribed a natural glandular support supplement, unrefined sea salt along with the proper ratio of water, minerals and vitamins.
Within 4 months she was completely recovered. No prescription medications were necessary. She sought after and addressed the cause instead of relying on something to suppress her symptoms.
So many people trying to get by in life maintaining a low/no salt restricted diet. Trying to get by without a crucial electrolyte (sodium) and without the proper balance of vitamins and minerals.
They are relying on synthetic medications that contribute their own list of uncomfortable side effects. We need to reassess our allegiance.
Aren't we really just trying to trick our bodies? I mean, we certainly are not addressing the underlying cause of our conditions. It's like patching a leaky hose on your car with a piece of duct tape, it's working for now, it's not leaking but, the tear is still there, it's just being hidden below the surface temporarily. What does that do for your confidence level? Are you okay with that?
I hope you are not. I hope that what you just read changes the way you think and ultimately the way you feel. That's my goal. I hope it at least raises your curiosity. Once you better understand the facts, it's easier to make an informed decision.
You'll still catch a lot of naysayers. So many people are completely closed off to even considering the other side. They are comfortable in their neat and tidy little boxes, how dare we even consider stepping outside of it.
In conclusion, I hope you do decide to step outside. It has the potential to change the quantity and quality of your life in a profound way. They say we learn something new everyday. I hope you did. That saying wouldn't still be around if it wasn't true. Sometimes the truth is the new thing we learn, make it count...