Eat less salt. We have heard this for decades now. But is it necessary? Is salt really bad for you?
Salt used to hold great value and was even used as currency. Prior to refrigeration, salt was used to preserve food. The word “salary” comes from the Latin word for “salt,” being that soldiers in ancient Rome were actually paid in salt. You’ve likely even heard someone saying that something is “not worth one’s salt.” As you can see, salt used to have a much better reputation!
Today, salt is frequently viewed as something evil. Bad Boy Salt has actually been attacked and blamed for causing high blood pressure and heart disease since the early 1900s. A French doctor at this time based his findings on a handful of his patients who consumed large amounts of salt and also had high blood pressure. The salt fear continued in the 1970s with a study conducted by the Brookhaven National Laboratory when the investigator, Lewis Dahl, fed rats what is the equivalent of 500 grams of sodium a day in humans. The rats developed high blood pressure. Keep in mind, however, that the average American consumes about 8.5 grams of salt per day. That’s a long way away from 500 grams!
So, is salt bad for you? It’s a great question, and the research continues.
Recently, a meta-analysis of seven studies which consisted collectively of over 6,000 participants with both normal and high blood pressure found no real evidence that cutting back on salt reduces your cardiovascular risk when it comes to heart disease, stroke or death. This study was published in the American Journal of Hypertension.
A European study also shows the opposite of what we’ve been told about salt. Remember the push for cutting back salt to reduce risk from dying from heart disease? The research, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed the opposite--the less sodium excreted from urine, which was indicative of salt intake--the GREATER the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease! That can’t be right. . .can it?
A large study examining sodium intake’s relationship with blood pressure, which was published in 1988, included participants from 52 international countries. No relationship was found between high sodium intake and hypertension. Quite the opposite was discovered, actually. Populations that consumed about 14 grams of sodium per day had lower median blood pressure than those consuming half that!
A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Medicine compared sodium intakes to cardiovascular mortality risk in 78 million Americans over a span of 14 years. This would be considered an extremely large study as well as a long-term study. Sodium consumption was not found to increase risk of heart disease. In fact, the study discovered that the more salt a person consumed, the opposite occurred--a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
For every study that you can find stating that salt is bad for you, there’s a study showing salt’s benefits. Keeping sodium balance in your system is essential for optimal health--too much or too little might be the key as well as the type of salt in your diet. Processed foods, commercial salt---that’s not going to improve your health. Be mindful that there are different types of salt available. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 2,300 mg a day is the higher limit, and adults should ideally not consume more than 1,500 mg of salt per day.
Sodium is an electrolyte, and it has important functions in the body, responsible for helping with nerve signaling and muscle function as well as regulating fluids throughout your system which impact your metabolic and cardiovascular health.
Low sodium diets can actually be unhealthy, leading to a condition called hyponatremia, meaning too little sodium in the blood. This can affect multiple systems. A low salt diet may result in the body releasing enzymes and hormones, such as renin and aldosterone, that are known to increase blood pressure.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to salt intake, and everyone’s body is different in how they respond to sodium intake. A 1989 study published in the Journal of Chronic Diseases demonstrates exactly this. In the study, some participants experienced blood pressure drops while on a high salt diet whereas others experienced spikes in blood pressure. Some experienced no drop and no spike--their blood pressure simply remained the same!
It’s important to remember that salt is a mineral and it plays a role in the body. Minerals can serve as catalysts for enzymes to carry out important functions necessary for health and wellness. Be certain to mineralize your body!
Magnesium, for example, is a mineral that serves as a catalyst for over 300 bodily functions. It is also responsible for maintaining homeostasis and supporting cardiovascular health. Interestingly, magnesium deficiency may increase blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease!
In a meta-analysis of 34 studies, which were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled and totaling more than 2,000 patients and ranging in length from three weeks to six months, participants taking between 240 and 960 milligrams of magnesium showed the following results:
Individuals taking 368 mg of magnesium daily for three months had a 2 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 1.8 mmHg reduction in diastolic.
It is thought that one of magnesium’s mechanism of action in reducing blood pressure has to do with its ability to prevent blood vessels from constricting, also known as vasodilation, which increases blood flow.
Our Optimum Magnesium contains two forms of bioavailable magnesium: Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Malate. Both forms are also gentle on the digestive tract.
We use a blend of Albion’s TRAACS Magnesium Lysinate Glycinate (mineral amino acid chelate) AND Albion’s chelated Dimagnesium Malate—BOTH formulated for enhanced absorption. - Malic acid (from di-magnesium malate) is active in the Krebs cycle and provides nutritive support for normal, healthy muscular energy. Malic acid may support antioxidant systems by enhancing glutathione and antioxidant enzymes.
Magnesium Lysyl Glycinate Chelate, a mineral amino acid chelate delivers a complex with higher absorption rates. Since the body can efficiently absorb dipeptides (two amino acids linked together), Albion’s TRAACS magnesium lysyl glycinate is an optimum delivery system for magnesium. Albion TRAACS patented mineral amino acid chelates are resistant to competitive minerals, do not lessen effectiveness of vitamins, and pose a lowered risk of overdosing.
Di-Magnesium Malate, also within Optimum Magnesium, contains 69% malate (malic acid). Malic acid is utilized because it enhances magnesium. Magnesium and malate play crucial roles in energy production under aerobic conditions or when decreased oxygen levels are present. Malic acid is known to show protective benefits by binding aluminum.