The Salt Lick

Salt has been villainized for far too long and it’s time to take a step back and look at the science behind why this essential element deserves so much more.

In order for us to understand that salt is a precious thing, let’s look at the chemical properties and how that transcends into what it does for us every single day.

Keep in mind, medicine is not a one sized fits all approach. Individualization is imperative in the health and healing process.

Talk to a certified professional who is willing to research information that is not easily digestible for them to tolerate. We do not know everything. Every single person gets to where they are by researching. Research does NOT stop once you have a few letters after your name.

How Stuff Works

This is going to get a bit technical, but it’s vital to understand just how important salt is, even at the cellular level.

There is something called the sodium-potassium pump in our body. This mechanism is found in the membrane of all animal cells. The reason for this is that it is the basis of creating energy.

This can get convoluted, but once energy is created in the form of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), three sodium molecules go out of the cell and two potassium molecules go into the cell.

That difference results in one single net positive charge per cycle. Meaning that is a check and balance system our body uses at the cellular level to create and maintain energy.

It is a very delicate balance and this even helps regular the cellular size and health. If it is off, cells begin to shrivel and die and this causes functional issues in our body like dehydration.

Sodium has a big role in the transportation of other nutrients across the sodium gradient of the cellular membrane, like amino acids, glucose, and other proteins.

It also plays a large role in neuronal activity (neurologic system), cardiovascular conduction (making the heart itself pump), regulates our blood pressure and volume, prevents kidney failure, heart failure, liver failure, keeps the muscular tone, and prevents seizures or even death.

The impact that sodium has on our body is vast and without it, we suffer some serious and life-threatening consequences.

With anything in life, there has to be balance. Remember the sodium-potassium pump we discussed earlier? That helps create balance and allows homeostasis or normalcy in our body. Three goes out, 2 goes in. That creates a net neutral transaction (on the cellular level) because of the positivity charge and natural gradient.

What all that mambo jumbo means is that salt is literally the essence of life for animals (humans are included in that).

Without salt, we will die. With too much salt, we will die.

Sex, Lies, and …..Grains?

Balance is the key to sustainability. Unfortunately, our society is so caught up in indemnifying salt and stripping it of its molecular basis for our convenience that we forgot just how vital it is.

All the designer sea salts out there or the pink Himalayan sea salts are commercially removing the sodium molecule of iodine. Thus, rendering it really ineffective for our body’s mechanics.

Our thyroid needs sodium, and most importantly iodine comes along with sodium in the form of sodium iodide or potassium iodine.

Mortons and/or Redmans are great examples of salts that add the iodine molecule to help keep our thyroid functioning appropriately. If we have little iodine in our diet, we run the risk of developing goiters on our thyroid and that can lead to thyroid cancer.

Iodine is needed to make some of our thyroid hormones effective and aids in the conversion of the hormones.

Now, many people have been brainwashed by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) that salt is the devil and we need more healthy grains to keep super safe.

<Insert eye roll>

We have to be okay with understanding that the government doesn’t always have our best interests in mind. It tends to favor the populous over the individual. Even then, their basis of information is politically motivated and guided.

Kellogg was a big influencer at the beginning of the industrial age when grains started to become mass-produced and for pennies on the dollar with large profit margins. His beliefs were based on the Seventh-Day Adventist church.

They followed the thought process that vegetarianism was the basis of human existence and is next to godliness.

In fact, Corn Flakes were created as a bland grain to curb sexual desire and to avoid the “evil” of masturbation. This grain has been heavily processed, genetically modified, and mass-produced for the public.

Kellogg was a practicing physician with a hidden motive that was politically and religiously motivated.

The reason behind that long story was to show you that there is bad science out there with political and religious gains. NOT science-based and not unbiased.

The Beginning of Time

For literally decades, policymakers have been trying to urge the FDA to limit and regulate the amount of sodium manufacturers can use in producing foods.

But why?

Lots of “scientific studies” out there have correlation studies that help support their ideology or agenda. It foundationally lacks the scientific method of double-blind, placebo randomized control studies.

This all stemmed from something a french physician correlated back in the early 1900s when he noticed a few of his patients who were hypertensive were also labeled as “salt fiends.”

That, first of all, is not science. Second, a few patients do not count as a good study size. Lastly, what constitutes a “salt fiend?”

In the 1970s there was a scientist called Lewis Dhal that claimed he had found “unequivocal” evidence that sodium causes hypertension, which leads to heart disease.

He induced high blood pressure in rats by giving them 500 grams of sodium in a day. A human’s daily consumptions of sodium are 3.4 grams in a day. Already, we can see the ratios are greatly off.

This “scientist” also looked at correlations between geographical incidences and disease patterns. For example, he noticed that people of Asian descent often had high blood pressure, heart attacks, or strokes because of the foods they were consuming that are rich in sodium.

The American Journal of Hypertension had pretty bad results with that “correlation” and suggested that genetics or other environmental factors may be more closely related to those incidences.

Despite that bad science, the United States decided they need to follow suit with a wild accusation and cut sodium from people’s dietary recommendations by 50–85%. Again, this was based on Dhals “correlation.”

What’s even more comical is that many REAL studies have tried to find causative factors related to high sodium intake and mortality to no avail. The Cochrane review concluded that there is little to no evidence that there is long term benefit to reducing salt intake in managing hypertension.

<mic drop>

The American Journal of Medicine concluded that same. European Journal of Epidemiology found that same.

What we are going off of is all hearsay and politically driven. Science is cold, hard facts.

The science does not support the claim.

Want some real freaking science? Check this little diddy out. When sodium is restricted (like in low salt diets) the body responds by releasing renin and aldosterone, both are released to increase blood pressure.

Renin mediates the volume of extracellular fluid and arterial vasoconstriction. Meant to increase blood pressure.

Aldosterone is a steroid hormone. Its main role is to regulate salt and water in the body, thus having an effect on blood pressure.

Science makes me freaking happy :)

The Truth is Out There

So let’s tie all this crap together and make some sense of it all.

Salt=good. Low salt=bad.

Next, think to yourself…why would the government want to push a low sodium diet?

Is it in our best interest?

Negative ghost rider.

Who lobbies to the policymakers?

People with money. Who has money?

Large corporations like Big Pharma and Kellogg (Big Food).

Why would they do that?

TO MAKE FREAKING MONEY!!

When our blood pressure is “high”, we have ingrained in our health care practices to place the patient on a medication and lifestyle modifications tend to fall to the wayside.

Not because lifestyle doesn’t work. Because a pill is an easy fix. The pharmaceutical company gets their money. The insurance company gets their money and Big Food gets their money because the patient can continue to eat their highly processed grains and be merry.

Is this cycle making sense yet?

Medicine needs to get back to the foundational process of helping people. We have become really freaking good at acute or life-threatening illnesses or traumas.

We have lost our way with preventative interventions or management of chronic diseases.

LIFESTYLE. That is the fix to almost all disease processes out there.

It pains me to see my highly educated colleagues conform to what has been fed to us based on political or user bias, instead of scientific models.

Please, eat your salt. Limit your refined carbohydrates. Go outside and do something active that you enjoy. Eat real foods. Look at the big picture.

Be strong. Be brave.

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Scott Braver

Scott Braver

Fascinated with bettering myself and others

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