The Power of Rumor
Do you remember in high school how often a rumor would get started and be repeated over and over again until it became “well, everybody knows…”? Before long, the rumor becomes fact even though there is nothing to it.
Obviously, we have all seen this happen many times. However, it also happens in many other areas – including educated circles of the media, politics and even science! It has also happened to salt. As it turns out, salt has gotten a bad rap for decades.
We have been hammered for decades with the mantra that excess salt causes hypertension and high blood pressure. This leads to heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular ailments. Right? Sound familiar? I have said “bunk” for years.
As it turns out, all this was based on only two “studies” that have very little to do with good science. One was simply an observation that some populations that used less salt had little hypertension. However, there were also many other foods, notably rich foods, missing in their diet also that would explain it.
The second study used rats that were given 60 times more salt than the average American uses. Good study. Even back then researchers admitted the evidence was “weak and inconsistent”. However, the media picked it up and the rumor was repeated so much it became cemented in as fact – even in academic circles!
Low-salt “experts” are now panicking as excellent new studies have come out. The best of the studies are led by no less than one of the world’s foremost blood pressure and heart disease doctors, Jan Staessen MD, PhD. He heads the Dept. of Cardiovascular diseases at the U. of Leuven, Belgium.
In a study of 6,250 subjects, they found that higher salt intake did not translate in higher risk for either high blood pressure or blood vessel disease! In fact, death rates got progressively worse, up to 56% worse, as salt intake went lower.(1)
Another study compared subjects from 52 international research centers and found no relationship between sodium intake and the rate of hypertension! In fact, the people that ate the most salt had lower medium blood pressure than those that ate the least.(2)
The FDA wants to mandate restricting salt to 2,464 mg per day. We need just the opposite according to S.A. Morell, head of the Weston Price (Science) Foundation. Morell says we need about 3 times as much! “Anything less triggers a cascade of hormones to recuperate sodium from the waste stream, hormones that make people vulnerable to heart disease and kidney problems.”
The Real Truth about Salt
“Without salt, we couldn’t exist.”
-Tonia Winchester – Naturopath
In fact, low salt intake can lead to loss of insulin sensitivity, a true major factor in blood vessel inflammation, arteriosclerosis and heart disease. Low salt can also lead to insufficient digestive enzymes, leading to poor absorption of vitamins and minerals. These are things that can, definitely, lead to heart and blood vessel disease – as well as developmental problems with nerves, muscles and bones in children!
Refined and Unrefined Salt – Does it Make a Difference?
Most people do eat too much of the wrong kind of salt
– that is, refined salt.
Refined salt is processed at high temperatures, removing most of the trace mineral benefits.
Unrefined salt is either fresh dried from the sea or mined from ancient ocean beds without high temperature processing. It has much more trace minerals in it and is what our body is programmed to use. Any will work, we use Celtic Sea Salt.
The Answer: Get rid of refined table salt and use unrefined salt whenever possible. (Cutting down on fast food is an additional bonus.)
1. Journal of the American Medical Association, “Fatal and nonfatal outcomes, incidence of hypertension, and blood pressure changes in relation to urinary sodium excretion.” 2011: 305(17): 1777-1785.
2. Scientific American, “It’s Time to End the War on Salt.” July 8, 2011.