The importance of salt

This article, originally titled ‘The Benefits of Himalayan Salt’, was written by Skip Franzsen and first posted on my website 26 Nov 2015 (updated 16 Feb 2016).

What is it? Where is it? How do I find it?

Pink Himalayan crystal salt was discovered by Alexander the Great in India when he passed through the Punjab. His horses licked a pink stone found in the area and perked up quickly. Even his sick horses recovered, quickly becoming healthy. The mine has been producing Pink Himalayan salt ever since. You can get it on your supermarket shelves in various forms. Dischem in South Africa also sells it in economy-sized (large stone) packs; it can be purchased from supermarkets or health food stores in Australia and other countries.

Benefits of Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan crystal salt (sometimes called ‘mountain salt’) appears to resolve most things that Banters face. In effect, it acts as a natural mineral supplement. Make sure that you use enough salt in your diet. Banters who start out may need to rehydrate if they detox, but you also require good minerals and nutrients for effective nutritional ketosis. Some with urgent needs are often advised to simply put some under your tongue. Most attest to the benefits related to stomach cramps, nausea, muscle cramps, light headedness, dizziness, fatigue or low energy, constipation and even heart palpitations may indicate a need to rehydrate and replace essential nutrients in the body.

You are also advised to supplement your diet with bone broth (see page 64 of the Real Meal Revolution for a basic bone broth or pages110, 113, 116 and 178 for other broths), also recommended by Dr Stephen Phinney. A product called ‘Cramp Ease’ may offer immediate relief for those with more urgent rehydration, electrolyte and mineral requirements. In a tablet form, it contains higher dosages of salt, magnesium, potassium and calcium.

Dr Phinney’s talk ‘Optimising Weight and Health with an LCHF Diet – Part 1’ (go to the 50 mins point for a discussion of mineral management) explains the need for people on a low carbohydrate diet to increase their salt intake when they are in nutritional ketosis because the kidneys accelerate the excretion of salts. He recommends taking 5g of sodium per day or more if you are active. If you use less than this, you may experience some of the symptoms highlighted above. Dr Phinney also makes special mention of the need for magnesium and uses bone broth, freezing it as ice cubes, using a cube as required as part of long-term minerals management.

What is in Pink Himalayan Salt that makes it so useful for Banters?

A spectral analysis of pink Himalayan salt shows that it has abundance of trace minerals, containing almost all the elements contained in the atomic table (many in very small amounts) except those in a gas form. For the recommended daily allowances of nutrient elements, see the Dietary Reference Intakes.

94 percent of the total weight of pink Himalayan salt is sodium chloride or other forms of naturally-formed salt and the remaining 6 percent is made up of other minerals. The main elements and mass per kg are given below:

  • Hydrogen 0.3g/kg. In our bodies, hydrogen functions as an antioxidant, helping to prevent cell damage and inflammation.
  • Lithium 0.4g/kg. Lithium ‘works to stabilize mood and reduce extremes in behavior by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain’ (Lithium Carbonate, WebMD).
  • Oxygen 1.2g/kg. Oxygen is a building block for life.
  • Sodium 382g/kg. Some sodium is needed by your body to maintain the correct balance of fluids, to help transmit nerve impulses and to assist with muscle contraction and relaxation. The amount of sodium stored in the body for optimal health is balanced by the kidneys. When your body sodium is low, your kidneys essentially hold on to the sodium. When body sodium is high, your kidneys excrete the excess in urine (Mayo Clinic).
  • Magnesium 0.16g/kg. Magnesium is a very important essential macro mineral. It is involved in several hundred enzymatic reactions, many of which contribute to the production of energy and cardiovascular function. Drinking soft water decreases magnesium intake, while diuretic drugs, alcohol, caffeine and sugar cause magnesium loss. Decreased blood and tissue levels of magnesium have been shown to be related to high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart disease and, particularly, heart attacks due to coronary artery spasm (magnesium helps relax and dilate coronary arteries). The recommended daily dose for an adult is 420mg per day. Some experienced Banters supplement magnesium. You can get it naturally from a good balanced diet and supplementation with bone broth. See the Basic Bone Broth recipe on page 64 of the Real Meal revolution book.
  • Sulfur 12.4g/kg. Sulfur is a chemical element that is naturally present in the human body. It is necessary for the synthesis of two essential amino acids (cysteine and methionine) that are aligned to the effective functioning of ketones.
  • Chloride 590g/kg. Chloride is an important electrolyte in your blood to ensure your body’s metabolism is working correctly. Your kidneys control the levels of chloride in your blood. When there is a disturbance in blood chloride levels, it is often related to the kidneys. Chloride also helps the acid and base balance in the body.
  • Potassium 3.5g/kg. Potassium is a mineral that is crucial for life; it is necessary for the heart, kidneys and other organs to work normally.
  • Calcium 4g/kg. Nearly all the calcium in our bodies is stored in our teeth and bones where it supports their structure and provides their characteristic ‘hardness’. Calcium regulates muscle contraction, including the heartbeat. It also plays a key role in normal blood coagulation (clotting). Calcium also plays a role in the release of hormones and enzymes, as well as helping blood vessels move blood around the body.

References

Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies, ‘Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Elements’, http://iom.nationalacademies.org/~/media/Files/Activity %20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/New%20Material/6_%20Elements%20Summary.pdf, accessed 15 Nov 2015.

Haas, Elson, ‘Minerals: Magnesium’, http://www.healthy.net/scr/article.aspx?ID=2060, accessed 15 Nov 2015.

Mayo Clinic, ‘Sodium: How to tame your salt habit’, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy- lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/sodium/art-20045479, accessed 15 Nov 2015.

Noakes, Tim; Creed, Sally-Ann; Proudfoot, Jonno & Grier, David (2013). The Real Meal Revolution – Changing the World One Meal at a Time. Quivertree Publications.

Phinney, Stephen (2014), ‘Optimising Weight and Health with an LCHF Diet – Part 1’, Presentation at Low Carb Down Under on 25 Nov 2014 at Epworth Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

The Meadow, ‘Minerals in Himalayan Pink Salt: Spectral Analysis’, http://themeadow.com/ pages/minerals-in-himalayan-pink-salt-spectral-analysis, accessed 15 Nov 2015.

Volek, Jeff & Phinney, Stephen (2011). The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living. Beyond obesity, LLC, Charleston, SC.

WebMD, Lithium Carbonate, http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-5887-795/lithium- carbonate-oral/lithiumcontrolled-release-oral/details, accessed 15 Nov 2015.

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