mportance of Salt in our Diet – Part 1
Daily intake of salt, required to efficiently operate the human body, is approximately 5.0 grams (1
teaspoon) per day. If, your Serum Electrolytes show marginally low or below normal sodium (Std. Ref.
Range = 135 to 145 mmol/L) and chloride (Std. Ref. Range = 98 to108 mmol/L) levels, it is time to wake
up, and take immediate corrective action. Sodium and chloride levels tend to go below the normal range
if one purposefully and / or fanatically abstained from taking dietary salt or engaged in low sodium diets
under the false notion that “salt / sodium is totally harmful for the human body.”
If you have landed up deficient in serum sodium and / or chlorides you can make amends by taking ¼
teaspoon of natural salt to lime / lemon juice or just to warm water first thing in the morning on waking
up. You can do this once more in the late afternoon / evening if required. Do this for a few weeks at a
time and monitor your serum electrolyte levels and bring them to the midpoint of their respective
Standard Reference Range. Serum electrolytes should be measured only after discontinuing all sodium
supplements (extra intake of salt) for a minimum period of 7 days. This is done to ensure you have
determined the true retained value of sodium and chlorides in the body.
* Serum Electrolytes
Sodium 136 to 145 mmol/L 142 mmol/L
Potassium 3.5 to 5.1 mmol/L 4.5 mmol/L
Chlorides 98 to 107 mmol/L 104 mmol/L
* Serum electrolytes values can be falsely elevated in case of any kidney insufficiency, reflected by serum uric acid, creatinine well
above the optimum values. In cases of a serious dietary protein deficiency leading to a N2 imbalance (low BUN), the renal profile
will be inconclusive.
Table 1 - Optimum Serum Electrolyte Levels
Like sodium, chlorine is also very important for the proper functioning of the human body. There is no
richer source of chlorine in our diet than the “chloride” found in sodium chloride. This source of chlorine is
what allows our body to generate hydrochloric acid in order to digest food in our stomach. Here
hydrochloric acid enables the absorption of iron to prevent anemia; helps to break down proteins for
further digestion; and numerous other functions. The low pH of the stomach’s hydrochloric acid also
destroys ingested bacteria and other microorganisms.
If you have abstained from eating salt for many years, you can be sure that you have poor levels of
hydrochloric acid and are “wasting / excreting” the already scarce nutrition available in the food you eat.
This causes ill health in addition to the rapid aging of the body. Prescription drugs that cause GI
disturbances and / or suppress the flow of gastric acids also contribute to rapid aging the body by
depriving the body from receiving nutrition from our daily diet. Conditions such as anemia and poor
ferritin levels often result from such deprivation. Healthy stomach acid helps kill disease-causing
microbes and parasites routinely found in food you eat.
To determine if the hydrochloric acid produced in your stomach is at an optimum level, a gastrin
hormone blood test (Fasting and PP) should be performed. Gastrin (Standard Ref. Range Fasting = < 90
pg/mL) is inversely proportional to hydrochloric acid levels in your stomach. Try to maintain your body to
stay at the lower end of the gastrin standard reference range - at approximately < 25 pg/mL (Fasting and
Fasting Up to 90 pg/ml < 15 pg/ ml
2 hours after meal
Up to 250 pg/ml < 25 pg/ml
* Gastrin is inversely proportional to HCl levels
Table 2 - Optimum Gastrin Levels
Again, iodized salt (elemental iodine ≈ 50 mcg/gram) is our primary source of iodine to operate the body.
It allows the body to maintain a high rate of metabolism by allowing our thyroid gland to function properly.
Improper functioning of the thyroid gland, due to iodine deficiency (less than 150 mcg/day of elemental
iodine per person), leads to hypothyroidism, weight gain, increased body fat and poor cardiac health.
Abstinence from dietary salt, for numerous years, can cause severe iodine deficiency resulting in goiters,
which were rampant in many parts of the world about a hundred years back. We are once again seeing
the reemergence of goiters today due to abstinence from salt in our diet.
There is not much merit to the age old theory that salt results in weight gain and high blood
pressure. There are many other safer methods to naturally lower high blood pressure without
exposing oneself to the damaging effects of dietary salt abstinence. As a matter of fact the lack
of iodine from iodized salt can result in hypothyroidism and weight gain.
For instance, lowering sodium levels in the body to lower hypertension, can also be achieved by
increasing potassium intake. After all, it is the ratio of sodium to potassium that is important for the
smooth operation of the human body. Increasing potassium intake is easier and has less harmful effects
on the human body. The kidneys strive to maintain the sodium / potassium equilibrium in the body at all
times. Again, magnesium is very effective in naturally lowering high blood pressure and has very low
chances of causing any toxic effects. Excess magnesium is quickly excreted by the body. Again,
magnesium is also utilized for building of bones which is a very slow process. Therefore, it normally
takes six to twelve months to replenish depleted magnesium levels in the body when therapeutic doses
of magnesium are administered.
For more information on use of intracellular magnesium therapy for the treatment of primary
hypertension (high blood pressure) please go to: http://www.space-age.com/HighBloodPressure.pdf
Avoiding salt is therefore, one of the worst and the most damaging methods of high blood
pressure control and is definitely not recommended for people pursuing a long healthy life with
anti-aging as a goal.
Digestion Begins in our Mouth
In humans, digestion begins in the oral cavity where food is chewed. Saliva is secreted in large amounts
(1-1.5 litres/day) by three pairs of exocrine salivary glands (parotid, submandibular, and sublingual) in
the oral cavity, and is mixed with the chewed food by the tongue. There are two types of saliva. One is a
thin, watery secretion, and its purpose is to wet the food. The other is a thick, mucous secretion, and it
acts as a lubricant and causes food particles to stick together and form a bolus. The saliva serves to
clean the oral cavity and moisten the food, and contains digestive enzymes such as salivary amylase,
which aids in the chemical breakdown of polysaccharides such as starch into disaccharides such as
maltose. It also contains mucin, a glycoprotein which helps soften the food into a bolus.
The gastrointestinal tract starts in the oral cavity (i.e. mouth) where your teeth grind and chew food,
breaking it into smaller manageable pieces. This chewing process, known as mastication, is dependent
upon powerful muscles (i.e. masseter and temporalis), as well as smaller muscles that permit fine
control; they move the mandible (i.e. lower jawbone) against the upper jaw and enable the crushing of
relatively hard food. Mastication causes exocrine glands under the tongue and in the back of the mouth
to secrete a water-like liquid called saliva which performs two essential functions. It moistens and
compacts the chewed food so your tongue can roll it into a ball (i.e. bolus), pushing it to the back of your
mouth for swallowing and easy passage through the pharynx and esophagus. In addition, saliva contains
digestive enzymes (eg. salivary amylase or ptyalin) which initiate the breakdown of carbohydrates.
Mastication and saliva secretion work in harmony: chewing increases the surface area of foods which
helps to accelerate the breakdown of starch molecules into simple sugars by the digestive enzymes.
Almost no protein or fat digestion occurs in the mouth, except for the release of lingual lipase an enzyme
secreted by Ebner's glands on the dorsal surface of the tongue.
In addition to ptyalin, saliva has an enzyme called lysozyme that digests bacterial cell walls, thus killing
certain microorganisms. Saliva also has a cleansing action as its constant flow helps to dissolve and
remove food particles from the teeth.
The actions of the teeth and tongue prepare food for swallowing. After swallowing, the food enters the
esophagus, the next stage of the digestive tract.
Micronization of Food
In order to derive the full nutritional value of food and experience its therapeutic effects, it is necessary to
understand the process of micronization.
Normally, grains are made into flour for ease of making dough for breads (e.g. rotis). Here the particle
size is quite large, restricting to some extent the bioavailability of nutrition from the food we eat. It also
prevents us from experiencing the therapeutic effects food has on the human body.
During micronization, food particles are reduced to micron size and we approach closer to the cell wall to
extract the nutrition in a more complete manner. The assimilation and retention of nutrition and other
phytochemicals present in food is much higher in the case of micronized food.
This is very important today, as the nutritional value of produce from farmlands has steadily declined to
an alarming low level of approximately 25%. This is due to the extensive use of synthetic fertilizers and
over cultivation of land during the last 50 years.
Today, farmlands are over cultivated and the soil is almost entirely depleted of nutrition. This has led to
a host of chronic ailments such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiac diseases, and hypothyroidism.
Under these circumstances, it was imperative to innovate the concept of micronization of food; so that
the bioavailability of nutrition could be enhanced and optimized to ensure that the human body did not
easily develop these kinds of chronic aliments which have become rampant today. These ailments have
been wrongly classified as chronic diseases when they are really symptoms of severe nutritional
deficiency. These “chronic diseases” or shall I say symptoms, are fully reversible in nature by
implementing therapeutic doses of nutrition synergistically administered at the intracellular levels.
“Let thy food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be thy food”.
Hippocrates, Circa 400 BC
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the
human frame, in diet and the cause and prevention of disease”.
Copyright 2009 - 2013 SpaceAge . All Rights Reserved.
Importance of Salt in Digestion – Part 2
The important thing to understand is that the process of mastication causes the
production of small particles. This is known as micronization and is untimately
responsible for the enhanced release of nutrition from the food we eat.
The mouth essentially serves like a kitchen “wet grinder” and enables the micronization
of the food we eat.
It is well established that, when we want to draw out the nutrients from the food we eat,
we have to go as close as possible to the cell wall. Chewing one’s food thirty-two times
before swallowing is therefore emphasized.
Salt or sugar in the diet enables the enhanced release of saliva which allows our “wet
grinder” to efficiently micronize the food. While salivary amylase (ptyalin) can break
down carbohydrates, the micronized food readily releases proteins and fats for
digestion once the food travels past the esophagus. If it was not micronized in our
mouth, the nutrition received by our body would be deficient and would contribute to the
rapid aging of our body.
It is therefore appropriate to say that 50% of our digestion occurs in the mouth and it is
necessary to eat food slowly, without distraction, and not to hastily swallow improperly
chewed food. Chewing food thirty-two times with adequate stimulus to enhance the
flow of saliva therefore makes sense. Ayurveda talks about the six tastes required in
our daily diet and essential to operate the body: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and
It is more important to understand the essential role that salt plays in digestion,
beginning with our mouth. Salt enhances the flow of saliva and enables our “wet
grinder” to function more efficiently to micronize our food for further digestion in the
Salt and sugar are therefore important and essential for the operation of the human
Ask most culinary pundits, and they will tell you that salt helps to “draw out the flavor in
our food,” Flavor increases the flow of saliva to enhance the digestion of food in our
mouth and increases the flow of gastric juices (acids) to enhance the digestion of food
in our stomach and the consequent absorption of nutrition vital to good health.
It is time to bid goodbye to the widely prevalent theory that salt (sodium) harms
our health and must be avoided at all costs by hypertensive and obese patients.
Importance of Hydrochloric Acid in the Stomach
Hydrochloric acid helps digest food by breaking up fats and proteins. The low pH of the stomach’s
hydrochloric acid also destroys ingested bacteria and other microorganisms. Adequate levels of HCl are
necessary for adequate absorption of protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and iron.
Healthy stomach acid is needed for a healthy digestive tract. If you have low stomach acid, even foods
with high level of nutrition cannot be properly digested. If you are unable to absorb nutrients properly, this
can lead to chronic health problems. Healthy stomach acid helps kill disease-causing microbes and
parasites routinely found in food you eat. If you have low stomach acid, these infecting invaders may not
be destroyed in your stomach. They can then lead to many types of infections.
Common Symptoms of Low Hydrochloric Acid
Bloating or belching, especially after eating
Burning in the stomach, especially after eating
Fullness or heaviness in the stomach after eating
Nausea after eating or taking supplements (especially vitamins and minerals)
Diarrhea or constipation
Itching around the rectum
Weak or cracked fingernails
Dilated blood vessels in the cheeks or nose (rosecea in nonalcoholics)
Skin break-outs or acne
Chronic intestinal parasites
Undigested food in the stool
Chronic candida (yeast) infection
Diseases Associated With Low Hydrochloric Acid
Sjogren ’s Syndrome
Low Stomach Acid
For many people, as they get older, the parietal cells in the stomach lining produce less and less
hydrochloric acid. This is especially true of those who eat: 1) heavily cooked foods (which have no live
enzymes), 2) difficult-to-digest foods such as red meat or fried foods, 3) chemicalized foods, such as
those containing artificial preservatives and additives, 4) soft drinks, which contain high amounts of
phosphorus, white sugar, and immune-stressing chemicals and 5) barbequed foods, which cause high
digestive stress. (The blackened areas of the food contain carcinogenic [cancer-causing] agents.)
People Over Age 60
Over 50% of the people over age 50 have low stomach acid. By age 70, 75% have low stomach acid.
Healthy stomach acid is crucial to digest food properly in order to maintain good health. Hydrochloric
acid is one of your body’s first line defenses against disease-causing microbes. Weak stomach acid
allows infecting organisms (that would normally be killed by the acid) to get past the stomach and set up
infections in other areas. They can cause food poisoning and dysbiosis of the intestinal tract (abnormal
overgrowth of unhealthy intestinal microbes).
For people aged 50, over 20% have bacterial overgrowth in the intestines. Over age 70, the percentage
increases to 40%. This abnormal bacterial overgrowth is also common in younger people. It is linked to
low stomach acid as well as eating a nutrientpoor diet, using antibiotics or pain killers, drinking excess
alcohol and other factors. Thus, healthy stomach acid is a critical part of maintaining healthy intestines.
Getting The Minerals and Vitamins In
Adequate hydrochloric acid is necessary to absorb vitamin B12. B12 deficiency can cause muscle
weakness, fatigue and many nervous system problems. Healthy stomach acid is also required to absorb
many minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper and most B-complex vitamins. Those
with poor stomach acid typically have low vitamin C levels.
Exhausted Stomach Acid
Adequate amounts of stomach acid are necessary to break down protein. That’s why overeating meat,
especially cooked red meat, is hard on the stomach -- it uses up the stomach’s acid and enzymes
very quickly. Eating red meat day after day can exhaust the stomach’s ability to build up sufficient
amounts of hydrochloric acid. Your best bet is to limit or eliminate red meat in your diet. Instead, enjoy an
excellent, high quality vegetarian protein sources – mushrooms, beans, lentils and pulses.
Red meats are difficult to digest and contains arachidonic acid which encourages inflammatory byproducts
which can lead to joint pain, fatigue and osteoporosis.
Low stomach acid can cause indigestion. Believe or not, too little stomach acid is the most common
cause of an acid stomach, not excess acid. Some people take antacids to relieve the uncomfortable acid
feeling in their stomachs (common after eating high protein or high fat meals). But the vast majority of
those with an “acid stomach” suffer from not enough acid. They simply can’t digest what they’ve eaten.
For some, an antacid may temporarily relieve a queasy stomach, but in the long run, regular use of
antacids makes the problem worse.
Naturally Increasing Stomach Acid
Be sure you have adequate daily salt intake (from natural sea salt). The chloride fraction in salt is
essential for your body to make hydrochloric acid. That’s why a low-salt diet commonly leads to poor
digestion over time.
Notes – Observations from Clinical Studies:
The daily requirement of salt is about 5.0 gram for an adult weighing about 150 lbs. (70.0Kg).
Again, this requirement will change depending upon the room temperature, body sweat,
humidity, summer, winter, how much water you drink daily, etc. So one person may be OK with
3.0 grams per day and someone may require 5.0 grams per day because they exercise a lot and
also sweat a lot.
The body knows how to excrete excess salt when taken within limits. So you do not really need
to weigh the actual salt daily and take it like a tablet or a capsule. Just adding salt to enhance the
taste of the food is enough control. You really do not need to fanatically avoid salt in peanuts or
pistachios or cashews or potato chips or French fries or butter. Adding salt to drinking water on
a hot summer day when you are sweating is also OK.
Also I would avoid eating canned food full of sodium preservatives. This is normally sodium
citrate and does not provide chlorides (chlorine) to produce hydrochloric acid. I would eat only
What has happened in the last two decades, and we are seeing this in the patients that come to
us, is that patients have stopped eating salt or salty food for a number of years (because they
were told it is bad for health). Subsequently, their blood reports show extremely low sodium and
chlorides and consequently high gastrin levels (at the upper end of the Standard Reference
Range) indicating poor hydrochloric acid supply (stomach acid to help digest food and absorb
nutrition from food and supplements). Many times the sodium and chloride levels are
dangerously well below the lower end of the Standard Reference Range and need immediate
Holistic Educator &
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1. McCarron DA. Importance of dietary calcium in hypertention. Letter. J Am Coll Nutr 17(1):97-9, 1988
2. Midgley JP et al. Effect of reduced dietary sodium on blood pressure. A Meta-analysis of randomized
controlled trials. JAMA 275(20):1590-7, 1996.
3. McCarron DA. Role of adequate dietary calcium intake in the prevention and management of saltsensitive
hypertension. AM J Clin Nutr 65 (suppl): 712S-6S, 1997.
4. Staessen JA et al. Salt and blood pressure in community-based intervention trials/ Am J Clin Nutr 65
(suppl): 661S-70S, 1997
5. Egan B. Nutritional and lifestyle approaches to the prevention and management of hypertension.
Comprehen Therapy 11(8):15-20,1985;
6. Luft FC. Salt and hypertention at the close of the millennium. Wien Klin Wochenschr 110(13-14):459-
7. McCarron DA, reusser ME. The integrated effects of electrolytes on blood pressure. The Nutrition
Report 9(8), August, 1991;
8. Preuss HG. Diet, genetics and hypertension. J Am Coll Nutr 16(4): 296-305, 1997
9. Sowers JR. Dietary cation (micronutrient) effects in salt-sensitive hypertension. Abstract. J Am Coll
Nutr 12:594, 1993
10. Egan BM, Stepniakowski KT. Adverse effects of short-term, very-low-salt diets in subjects with riskfactor
clustering. Am J Clin Nutr 65 (suppl): 671S-7S, 1997
11. Effects of Low-Sodium Diet vs. High-Sodium Diet on Blood Pressure, Renin, Aldosterone,
Catecholamines, Cholesterol, and Triglyceride (Cochrane Review)
Niels A. Graudal1, Thorbjørn Hubeck-Graudal2 and Gesche Jürgens2
American Journal of Hypertension (2012); 25 1, 1–15. doi:10.1038/ajh.2011.210
12. Salt, Blood Pressure, and Human Health
Michael H. Alderman
American Heart Association Journal, Hypertension. 2000;36:890-893. doi: 10.1161/01.HYP.36.5.890
13. Dietary sodium intake and cardiovascular mortality: controversy resolved?
Alderman MH, Cohen HW.
Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris
Park Avenue, Bronx, NY, 10461, USA, email@example.com. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2012
For further Reading:
1. Reversing Hypertension – Primary & Secondary
Improving Cardiac Efficiency
Download complete paper with numerous case studies (done without restricting salt intake) and
a refresher course in undergraduate and post graduate Orthomolecular Nutrition with special
emphasis on magnesium and vitamin D which play a very important role in cardiac health:
2. Salted, Mark Bitterman, 2010, ISBN 978-1-58008-262-4
(A manifesto on the world’s most essential mineral, with recipes)
3. Salt Block Cooking, Mark Bitterman, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4494-3055-9
(70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing, and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks)
4. More information on Himalayan Salt is at:
Himalayan Salt – The Purest Salt on Earth
Himalayan salt was created 250 million years ago during a period of pristine environmental
integrity. Sourced from deep within the remote Himalayas, it is free of impurities – unlike
table salt or salt from our today’s polluted oceans.
Copyright 2009 - 2013 SpaceAge . All Rights Reserved.
Himalayan Salt - Analysis
Below is a spectral analysis of Himalayan pink salt. The list shows all the trace minerals,
electrolytes, and elements contained in Himalayan salt.
Hydrogen H 1 0.30 g/kg DIN
Lithium Li 3 0.40 g/kg AAS
Beryllium Be 4 <0.01 ppm AAS
Boron B 5 <0.001 ppm FSK
Carbon C 6 <0.001 ppm FSK
Nitrogen N 7 0.024 ppm ICG
Oxygen O 8 1.20 g/kg DIN
Flouride F- 9 <0.1 g/kg Potentiometer
Sodium Na+ 11 382.61 g/kg FSM
Magnesium Mg 12 0.16 g/kg AAS
Aluminum Al 13 0.661 ppm AAS
Silicon Si 14 <0.1 g/kg AAS
Phosphorus P 15 <0.10 ppm ICG
Sulfur S 16 12.4 g/kg TXRF
Chloride Cl- 17 590.93 g/kg Gravimetrie
Potassium K+ 19 3.5 g/kg FSM
Calcium Ca 20 4.05 g/kg Titration
Scandium Sc 21 <0.0001 ppm FSK
Titanium Ti 22 <0.001 ppm FSK
Vanadium V 23 0.06 ppm AAS
Chromium Cr 24 0.05