Not Eating Enough Salt Can Increase Your Risk of Death1
By Glenda Warren
We have been taught, especially in the black community, that we need to reduce our salt intake in order to prevent or lower hypertension. But, Dr. David Brownstein challenges this type of thinking. He says that a lower salt intake will not make us healthier and reduce the chance of hypertension, but he believes we should do the opposite and increase our salt intake.
Dr. Brownstein explains that salt is the second most important essential constituent in the human body, with water being the most important. He has been studying the need for good salt in the human diet for more than 15 years and he has found that adequate levels are needed in order for our bodies to function properly. He explains that he has checked the salt levels of every patient he has ever seen and that his findings indicate that most of them do not consume enough salt in their diets.
He writes in his book, Salt Yourself to Life, that lowering salt consumption has not resulted in lower blood pressure readings in patients diagnosed with hypertension.
Salt is made of two ions of sodium (Na) and one ion of chloride (Cl). However, in refined sodium you find toxic additives such as ferrocyanide and aluminum. Dr. Brownstein suggests that unrefined salt is a much better option for salt consumption because it doesn’t contain the toxic additives, but rather, it contains essential minerals that the body needs. He lists Celtic Brand Sea Salt, Redmond’s Real Salt, and Himalayan Salt as the best examples of good salt sources for human dietary consumption.
According to a recent article entitled “Serum chloride is an independent predictor of mortality in hypertensive patients,” it was discovered that a lower intake of chloride was associated with a higher mortality rate, up to 20% higher mortality based on actual chloride consumption. To be more exact, increasing chloride intake by 1mEq/L was directly associated with improving mortality risks by 1.2%. In conclusion, the authors noted, “Low, not high serum chloride is associated with greater mortality risk…”
Chloride, like sodium, is another essential electrolyte in the human body that is needed in order for the body to perform efficiently. And it is, as pointed out earlier, a major component of salt. Salt, in essence, is the best way to get the needed intake of both the sodium and chloride that the body needs.
According to Dr. Brownstein, a daily dose of one teaspoon of unrefined salt is needed in the human diet. However, he cautions those suffering from kidney failure to watch their salt intake.
Glenda Warren is an experienced marketing and communications professional that provides social commentary, self-help tips, and reports news of events that matter to African Americans.