As you already know, your body is made up of complex systems that work together in clearly defined ways. Everything you put into your body(and those things that you deprive it of) has an impact on your body’s function and on your health. In this section, you will learn about the role that salt plays in your body and how some of the specific minerals it contains can impact your health. More specifically, you will learn why Himalayan Salt is the best salt to use in order to preserve your health.
BALANCING BODY FLUIDS
When you think of hydration, you probably think of water. What you may not realize, however, is that salt also plays a key role in keeping your body hydrated. More specifically, salt plays an important role in keeping the fluid balance both inside and outside of your cells. So, while drinking water is essential for good hydration, if you do not consume natural salt as well you could end up with a fluid imbalance, which could lead to health problems including hypernatremia.
The concept of fluid balance in the body relates to the ratio of water intake to water loss – in order to achieve balance, the amount of fluid you take in each day should be equivalent to the amount of fluid your body excretes. The average adult male requires about 3.7 liters of water per day while an adult female needs about 2.7 liters per day. Food consumption contributes to between 0.5 and 1 liter of water per day and the rest comes from drinking water.
The major aspect of fluid excretion, or loss, during the day in urination – the average person urinates about 4 times per day. Other methods of fluid output include perspiration (sweating), respiration and, in females, vaginal secretions. The rate of fluid output is regulated by certain hormones in the body – these hormones include ADH (antidiuretic hormonde) and aldosterone.
In terms of fluid balance, salt comes into play in conjunction with electrolyte levels. Sodium is the main type of electrolyte found in extracellular fluid, and it plays a major role in maintaining both blood pressure and fluid balance in the cells. As you sweat, your body loses electrolytes which can impact your overall fluid balance. Thus, you need to consume salt in order to replenish your electrolyte stores and to restore fluid balance in the body.
SALT AND MAGNESIUM
Magnesium is one of many essential minerals found in Himalayan Salt and it provides very significant benefits for the body. One of the main constituents of living matter, magnesium helps to regulate the activity of more than 300 different enzymes in the human body.
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to a number of health problems including the following:
- High Blood Pressure
- Decalcification of bones
- Rapid weight loss
- Heart Disease
- Irritability and mood swings
So what exactly does magnesium do in the body?
Magnesium is a type of mineral that has a charge of plus 2 when broken down in the body – that makes it a divalent. The main role of this cation is to regulate enzyme function. It is a cofactor that allows chemical reactions to take place in the body without damaging the surrounding tissues with heat or acid production. If magnesium were not present to regulate these reactions, they could wreak havoc on the body and cause very real damage.
Magnesium is also an important element in the production of energy in the body. ATP, adenosine triphosphate, is the type of energy your cells use to reproduce, to synthesize proteins and to transport substances. Without magnesium, units of ATP could not be efficiently metabolized and used for energy. This is why magnesium deficiency often leads to the calcification of bones and tissues as well as muscular symptoms like cramps and spasms.
In reference to the previous section, magnesium also plays a role in fluid balance within the body. In order to achieve proper fluid balance, the concentration of magnesium must be high inside the cell and low outside the cell. Magnesium also plays a role in balancing sodium-potassium levels, as discussed, having adequate levels of magnesium in your body is very important – particularly in conjunction with sodium and potassium levels. Himalayan Salt contains magnesium at a concentration of 0.16 g/kg.
SALT AND POTASSIUM
Potassium is one of several macro minerals found in abundance in Himalayan Salt and it is very important for your health. More specifically, the balance of sodium and potassium in your body is essential for cardiovascular health. If your diet is too high in sodium without complementary amounts of potassium, you could experience a number of health problems including high blood pressure and various forms of heart disease.
The mineral potassium serves as an electrolyte in the human body along with sodium and chloride. An electrolyte is an atom that carries an electrical charge and transmits that electricity to create muscle contractions and to facilitate nerve communication in the brain. While chloride has a negative ionic charge, both sodium and potassium are positively charged. The difference is that sodium is more highly concentrated outside the cells (extracellular) while potassium is highly concentrated in the cells (intracellular). When the concentrations of the these ions are balanced inside and outside the cells, it facilitates the smooth flow of electrical currents and fluid.
As you already know, fluid balance is essential for good health. When your sodium and potassium levels become imbalanced, your body may start to retain water in an effort to maintain fluid levels. This, in turn, increases your blood volume which leads to an increase in blood pressure. The latter, then, affects the pumping of your heart. Over time, excess sodium intake without adequate potassium intake to balance it can lead to chronic high blood pressure which will increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Using a natural salt like Himalayan Salt(available at SALTPUR-JOHANNESBURG-SOUTH AFRICA) that contains potassium, rather than table salt which has had its potassium content removed, can help to maintain the balance of sodium and potassium in the human body.
THE IMPORTANCE OF IODINE
Iodine is a mineral that tends to collect in oceans and brine pools – this explains its presence in Himalayan Salt.
This element is incredibly important for human health and deficiency can lead to a number of severe problems including the following:
- Mental deficiency
- Stunted growth
- Slowed metabolism
- Certain forms of cancer
The most important function of iodine is to regulate the production of hormones in the thyroid gland. These hormones are responsible for controlling your metabolism as well as the growth and development of your bones, brain, and tissues. The hormones produced by your thyroid are essential for controlling the production and utilization of energy in nearly every cell of your body, so you can see why it is so important.
Iodine deficiency is a very serious problem and one that is on the rise all over the world. Discoveries about iodine deficiency are what prompted the addition of iodine to table salt during the 1920s. Unfortunately, the type of iodine added to table salt (a synthetic form called iodide) is not as easily utilized by the body. Himalayan Salt, however, contains natural iodine which the body can use easily in the production and transport of hormones.
You may find it interesting to learn how iodine deficiency affects certain tissues in your body.
Below you will find a chart relating the symptoms of iodine deficiency in certain types of tissues:
|Tissues||Symptoms of Deficiency|
|Brain||Reduced cognitive function and alertness, lowered IQ|
|Muscles||Pain, Fibrosis, Fibromyalgia, Scar tissue, formation and nodules|
|Skin||Dry skin, lack of sweating|
|Salivary Glands||Dry mouth, inability of produce saliva|
To prevent iodine deficiency, you should take the time to learn how much iodine your body needs. The human body is capable of holding up to 1,500 mg of iodine at any given time – the thyroid itself can hold up to 50 mg. Up to 20% of the iodine in your body is contained in your skin while 32% is stored in your muscles. According to the USDA, adult men and women have recommended daily allowance for iodine around 150 mcg. This number increase to 220 mcg for pregnant women and to 290 for women who are lactating/breastfeeding. Himalayan Salt contains iodine at a concentration of around 0.1 g/kg.
a.) Iodine and Selenium
In the human body, the minerals iodine and selenium are closely linked. In fact, Selenium is a necessary cofactor for a certain type of enzymes called iodothyronine deiodinases. The enzymes are responsible for the activation/deactivation of thyroid hormones. Given the link between these two minerals, it makes sense that selenium deficiency can exacerbate or mimic the symptoms of iodine deficiency. Luckily, Himalayan Salt contains both of these minerals – an iodine concentration of 0.1 g/kg and a selenium concentration of 0.05 ppm.