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Copyright Ā©2006 by Edith Gaylord

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Low-sodium levels can kill you!

A few years ago, an internist told me that no one in America suffers from too-low sodium. I'm sure she based that opinion on people who eat fast food or lots of processed food. But, if you don't eat junk food or fast food, then you may find your body's low on sodium. Also, if you've been told that too much salt causes high blood pressure and have reduced your intake of this mineral, you may be doing more harm than good.

Diuretics remove more than water
Do you have relatives or friends who take diuretics in order to relieve hypertension? It's THE "go-to" drug to relieve excess pressure of fluid-filled tissues on blood vessels. The diuretics aren't particular what they wash out along with the water. In the water being released are various life-sustaining minerals that are literally being flushed down the toilet...sodium, potassium, magnesium and a host of essential trace minerals. I've already written about potassium (Low potassium causes hypertension, constipation, heart problems & more!), and most doctors are aware of the debilitating effects of low potassium. But, like the doctor I mentioned earlier, very few give sodium a second thought. They wrongly assume that everyone over-salts their food or eats salt-laden processed food. That's why a doctor rarely advises you to add salt, even if you suffer from an obvious sodium deficiency!

Even if you don't take diuretics, you could still lose more sodium than is healthy. For instance, drinking a lot of water (especially at one time) could remove too many minerals from your body. If you're low on sodium, your body may start preserving whatever sodium remains in the cells and start flushing out potassium in order to maintain a proper balance. Sodium is essential, and your body will do whatever it takes to make sure sodium is retained.

Low sodium can cause high blood pressure - even death!
Sodium is in your blood. When you receive an IV, it's a saline (salt) solution. One of sodium's more surprising benefits is that sodium helps your body maintain a normal blood pressure level. Sodium also helps keep your blood from clotting as it runs through your body, makes sure the correct volume of blood is maintained and helps maintain the correct pH of your body. Also, sodium prevents stomach acids from burning your stomach lining. It even helps your body respond better to carbohydrates by producing more insulin. An important fact for diabetics!

It's essential for proper muscle and nerve action. Your heart is a muscle, and low sodium levels could result in arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). The other muscles in your body can also show signs of sodium depletion, such as cramps. If you tend to suffer from leg cramps or "charley horses," it might be time to increase your salt intake.

If you don't have a lot of energy, your sodium levels may be so low that your body cannot convert food to energy. While causing fatigue, it further depletes your muscles.

Symptoms typical of a sodium deficiency or too-low sodium levels include swollen ankles or legs, confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, high blood pressure, weakness, trouble concentrating and memory problems. If your sodium levels are too low for too long, serious complications can occur, such as water intoxication. In that case, an abnormal amount of water enters your cells and they swell up. This makes you feel fatigued and apathetic. Also, your muscles will have spasms. If you don't get an immediate infusion of sodium, potassium and other essential minerals, you could have seizures, go into shock and die.

Good salt, bad salt
It would be foolish to think that eating salt-filled processed or fast foods will solve a sodium deficiency. Of course, you'll get enough sodium, but you'll probably cause other health issues that aren't as easily resolved. Sodium occurs naturally in some foods, such as milk, cheese, meat, fish and a few vegetables, but not enough to prevent sodium deficiency. Your best bet for increasing dietary sodium is by adding salt to your food. Not just any salt, of course!

Regular table salt found in most homes and restaurants isn't the best type. The best is RealSalt. It's plain sea salt, but it's not superheated, as most mined salt is. RealSalt comes from a Jurassic-era dried seabed that was covered in volcanic ash. The ancient seabed was discovered in Utah, and the salt is now being extracted and sold under the brand name of RealSalt. No matter what brand or type of salt you've tried, you will be surprised at the wonderful flavor of RealSalt. You'll get 580mg of sodium from a 1/4 tsp. (Morton Salt has 590mg per 1/4 tsp.). I'm guessing that RealSalt has slightly less sodium because it also contains natural trace minerals.

If you can't find RealSalt in your town, order some through the link below.



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I am not a doctor and have no medical training.
The information in this blog is not intended
to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Statements made on this blog
have not been evaluated by the FDA.
Consult a healthcare professional before using any products,
treatments or exercises mentioned on this blog.


"Let food be thy medicine and
medicine be thy food" - Hippocrates

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