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  • Sarah Holgen MS, CNS

Salt can CURE SUGAR CRAVINGS... and help with chronic illness - Why you may need more salt.

Updated: Oct 14, 2019

What if I told you adequate salt cures sugar cravings and actually lowers blood pressure instead of raising it? Have I got your attention? Keep reading...


Currently, the type of sugar in refined foods is toxic. An ultra concentrated poison that can directly damage the intestinal cells. Damaged intestinal cells (or enterocytes) leads to myriad of gut disorders like Crohns, celiac’s, and general IBD. These precious cells are made to reabsorb salt and water from the bowel and when they can’t = low salt. 


Errrrrrrybody is drinking caffeine in one form or another whether in coffee, tea or energy drinks and I hate to break it to you, but caffeine is a diuretic which means it increases not only water loss, but salt loss from the kidneys too. Plus adrenal stress from caffeine also causes sodium loss, a double whammy = low salt.


It’s ghastly how many people are vaping these days, let alone smoking actual cigarettes.  And because of this worldwide nicotine habit, this causes an inhibition of antidiuretic hormone which causes salt to be excreted in the urine more readily = low salt.


You may be deficient in sodium if you have or fall into one or more of these categories as they cause increased salt excretion or decreased sodium reabsorption:

🔹Diabetes 

🔹Recurrent infections, fungal and bacterial

🔹Osteopenia-osteoporosis

🔹Professional athlete (high volume sweating)

🔹Depression / Anxiety / Chronic stress

🔹Dehydration (induced from caffeine or nicotine, low water intake, or chronic diarrhea)


All those mentioned above CAUSE low salt in the body, but the reverse is coming up. Conditions that are CAUSED BY low salt intake relative to your needs:


🔹Body raises insulin as a protective mechanism for low sodium, leading to weight gain and potentially insulin resistance and diabetes. (Yes, low salt can cause diabetes and diabetes can cause low sodium levels. P.s. almost 50% of ya are diabetic. MORE SALT, LESS SUGAR!)

🔹Hypothyroidism

🔹High blood pressure can be caused by low sodium diets and not high! 

🔹Increase risk for addiction to sugar or other drugs.


Let’s talk about that last one, the salt-sugar-addition relationship... your body has a natural salt thermostat in the part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens which causes you to crave salt when you’re overall low. When you have low sodium and that salt craving is quenched, it can produce feelings of greater reward or a “high” like that of a dopamine hit from sugar or drugs. This may mean that our sugar cravings are secretly overriding this salt pathway and acting like a drug based reward system in the brain. Basically meaning that if we get enough salt in our daily intake it can essentially shunt the addictive pleasure seeking/reward center in the brain...BYE BYE SUGAR CRAVINGS!


And lastly, when our body reaches optimal sodium intake our craving signal is naturally switched off and we actually do not experience as much enjoyment but rather a natural satiety with salt whereas sugar can be an endless bottomless pit (and waistline).

Now... since everyone on earth fits into one of the categories above, we are all salt-depleted freaks, including myself. However, we can overcome with more high quality salt! (And it’s easy! *thank God*


Lets continue our discussion below...


Even if we were to overdo our salt intake per se, it’s it much easier for your kidneys to simply allow the sodium to flow out of the urine and signal the intestines to decrease absorption. Whereas in low salt intake your kidneys are having to work incredibly hard to filter out and reabsorb every last bit of salt they can to keep blood volume normal!! Does this makes sense now?!?!?


Last thing:


The current standard recommended daily intake is roughly around 1,500 mg of sodium for a completely healthy person with absolutely no issues whatsoever. That’s what the definition is, right my fellow clinicians?! So if we are sick, imbalanced, chronically ill, dehydrated or depleted...??? WE NEED MORE! The same goes for nutrients but salt is getting the spotlight right now!


Dr. James DiNicolantonio, a Doctor of Pharmacy and cardiovascular research scientist, recommends from 2-4,000mg per day and start by taking 1/2 tsp Himalayan, Celtic, or Redmond salt right into your mouth and washing it down with a glass of water. This is also my favorite method, my second one being to slowly nibble 1 pink Himalayan crystal at a time (like the ones that haven’t been ground up yet, they are so flavorful and fun to roll around the tongue).

[Don’t drink a whole glass of mixed salty water - it tastes like sweat... you’ll thank me later.]


You can also add 2-3 pickles, a small handful of olives or use salt in your food intake over the day if you don’t wanna do the chug method!

#nutritionforthepeople #sarahcns #functionalmedicine #salt 




Sources:

DiNicolantonio, J. 2017. The Salt Fix

DiNicolantonio, J., S. C. Lucan. 2014. Sugar season: it’s everywhere and addictive. New York Times.

Johnson, R. J. 2012. The fat switch.

Simpson, F. O. 1990 The control of body sodium in relation to hypertension. J Cardiovasc. Pharmacol 16: s27-s-30.


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