Salt gets incredibly bad press in our society today. We are bombarded with messages telling us of the evils of salt, that it will cause our blood pressure to skyrocket, leading to heart attacks, and more.
The truth is that our bodies have evolved with salt over thousands of years. In fact, it is incredibly important to our basic survival. I am not saying that the highly refined and purified sodium that exists in excess in processed foods or refined sodium chloride (table salt) are healthy for us. It is true that refined and processed sodium chloride, no matter the source, is bad for our overall health. Salt in its natural form, however, from the sea and with all its 80 plus minerals (in addition to the sodium chloride), is vital to life and the healing of Adrenal Fatigue.
Salt plays a crucial role in metabolic function. The entire body runs on the energy produced by little pumps called sodium/potassium pumps. Hence, the vast majority of chemical reactions—this includes every function you can think of—are dependent on adequate levels of sodium and potassium. Sodium and potassium levels are primarily controlled by the hormones of the adrenal glands.
Our adrenal glands secrete a hormone called aldosterone that controls our ability to hold onto salt (sodium, to be more specific). The stronger our adrenal glands, the stronger our aldosterone levels, and the better our ability to hold onto salt.
In the body there is a basic rule that “water follows salt;” therefore, if we have weakened adrenals, and hence have lower aldosterone, we will have lower salt/sodium. Since water follows salt, we will lose water as well. If we lose water (primarily by making us urinate frequently), we lose most of our blood volume; we can then become lightheaded and chronically dehydrated.
All of these problems that have to do with adequate salt retention cause major stress and dysfunction in the body, because all functions in the body exist in an aqueous medium (approximately 70% water). This means that the body needs water to run all of its enzymes and metabolic processes. When this is not possible, dysfunction occurs on many levels. The simple solution is to consume adequate salt regularly until the adrenal system can perform that function normally.
Why Sea Salt?
As I mentioned before, the type of salt we consume is important. Pure, processed sodium chloride (NaCl), or table salt, is relatively foreign to the body and has only existed in that form for a relatively short time. Salt should be naturally unrefined and should come from its natural source, the sea. There are many good options available.
Unrefined sea salt looks dirty and is colored tan, gray, or even pink, depending on the concentration of all those other minerals in it. Sea salt that is pure crystalline white, such as table salt, has been processed and bleached; therefore, I do not recommend it.