SALT: WHY DO WE FEAR IT?
The table salt that you have become used to - That white table salt that is sodium chloride is the most dumbed down version of what we could possibly come up with for our definition of salt.
- Zach Bush
Thru the decades we have developed a fear of salt. Yet here, in the page in front of you, is an incredible array of color of our original rock salts. If you would walk to a market place in ancient Egypt or ancient China, the marketplace would have had rock salt with all different colors representing an incredible different mix of mineral salt from around the world.
Rock salts come in all different contexts of macro minerals and minor minerals that are critical to human biology. The white and gray salts that are more typical of the sea and water sources also can be extremely rich sources of trace minerals. The table salt that you have become used to, that white table salt that is sodium chloride is the most dumbed-down version of what we could possibly come up with for our definition of salt. But unfortunately in our experience that remains the predominant mind set of the word salt.
To understand salt at the biochemistry level (CI) and (Na), Cation being the positive charge mineral and the Na ion being the element that bonds to it with its negative charge. The mineral in the case of table salt with sodium chloride that is positively charged is the sodium, attached to it is the chloride. And when you put those in water, that complex crystal structure that develops these cube -like structures suddenly dissipates, it dissolves into the water as the H2O molecule offers up new binding capacities with both the sodium and the chloride. The hydrogen in the water being positively charged when it’s let go can leave the oxygen negatively charged, so that the oxygen can now combine with the sodium and likewise the hydrogen can combine with the chloride. This is an ethereal event that happens at the quantum physics range of reality. So, every millionth of a second, water is releasing a hydrogen and exchanging for sodium and chloride is binding temporarily to the hydrogen for a millionth of a second. This amazing mix of salt water is the most extraordinary quantum physics event that happens. In its simplicity of sodium chloride, you have a combination of those 4 elements.
But If you take that gray sea salt and dissolve it in water you find you have liberated 64 different minerals and elements there that are interplaying in this salt relationship in the biochemistry of the positive and negative charge. So gray sea salt, something like Keltic sea salt has 64 trace minerals. What happened over course the 20th century is that we went from that rainbow of colors of rocks that would have been offered up in far flung market places of a thousand years ago got dumbed down to that single sodium chloride molecule largely for its biological function. Sodium is the most predominant salt on earth, the most predominant mineral found in most salts. The Himalayan rock salt or the ocean sea salt, both will have a predominance of sodium but behind sodium are the important ones: the chlorides, the potassium, the calcium, the phosphorus, the magnesium - these are all critical major minerals that are necessary for human biology or any multicellular organism to function such as an earthworm. We need these minerals to allow for a whole array of physiological functions and if deleted from our diet have vast implications. When we started to distill our thoughts into a simplified sodium chloride instead of the grey sea salt, we lost this cascade of important nutrient sources in the salts that would not just be perhaps represented in our food but also in our water systems and the like. We have dumbed down this mineral capacity down to sodium chloride in the pursuit of the neurobiology of sodium chloride.
Sodium is really needed for proper fluid balance pathways, specifically around nerve transmission and muscle contraction. In that nerve transmission, sodium is very good at, when released from salt, triggering a druglike response in the body. But when your table salt no longer has a potassium chloride element to it such as potassium hydroxide, you lose the capacity for some of that nerve transmission balance, the muscle contraction and fluid balance pathways. Calcium is not just for the classic bones and teeth but also for muscle relaxation, and subsequent contractions, and the muscle metabolism for the recovery from exercise. All these are really dependent on calcium salts . Phosphorus has a major input, not just to get into your skeleton system but critical for maintaining acid base balances at the kidney tubule. Your ability to detox your body really depends on how much phosphorus you are getting. Ultimately your ability to make energy at the cellular level – at the mitochondrial level, of turning ATP to ADP, which is the final step to releasing light energy within your cells - is again dependent on the presence of phosphorus. So, from skeleton to muscle metabolism to the extraordinary generation of energy within mitochondria, phosphorus is critical. We have eliminated that phosphorus from the rock salts and sea salts spectrum; Insead we went to the distilled sodium chloride version of table salt.
Magnesium is one of the most deficient elements that we have in our diet today. Magnesium is the most critical nutrient that we have for the neurological system ability to induce sleep. It is rarely talked about when you look at this chart of minerals. Before you develop magnesium deficiency adequately enough to get a muscle cramp, you have started to undermine your brain’s ability to go into deep relaxation, in the parasympathetic mode. Similarly, magnesium is critical in movement of insulin across the cell membrane. Your ability to move sugar into the cell and therefore into the mitochondria to produce energy is highly dependent on magnesium. As you become insulin resistant to the accumulation of fat due to the accumulation of fat in your liver or otherwise, you start to crank through your magnesium faster. As the obesity epidemic sets in, we all become more and more deficient in magnesium for the amount of insulin that is being pumped into our body to try to manage the ever-increasing resistance to that critical hormone. We could look at magnesium deficiency as a public health-crises in the globe at large because of our loss of manganese input in the distillation of that salt experience in that simplified sodium chloride.
Beyond those macro minerals, we get into the trace minerals and this is where a lot of common diseases we see in clinics today stem from. We lost our mineral contact with things like iron and specifically zinc as well as selenium, manganese, and chromium. These are compounds you will never see like the back of a label because we underestimate the importance of these trace minerals in biological functions. We increased our propensity for cardiovascular disease and damage when we lost the selenium input into that whole entire cascade. Similarly, manganese and zinc are critical for all the enzyme processes in your body.
Enzymes are complex protein structures that come from the genetic translation of a gene into a protein and the protein falls into 3 - dimensional structures that have machine-like mechanistic properties. One of the classic ones is glutathione for example. Glutathione is a complex protein that looks like “pacman” in this 3- dimensional structure. It can grab a positively charged inflammatory compound and combine it with a negatively charged antioxidant to reduce inflammation. So glutathione charging through tissues can eat through much of the inflammation quickly when there is zinc and manganese present. .If you are missing those critical minerals at the center of that protein folding, you get a dysfunctional enzyme. As we eliminate the complexity of all the mineral salts that we should have been exposed to, we start to lose the very mechanisms of vitality within our bodies. Again and again, you’ll find that both micronutrients and the macro nutrients pointing back towards the neurological system as the big epicenter.
When you eliminate trace minerals, you start getting into immune dysfunction, insulin deficiencies, and a cascading problem of metabolism energy production. Almost inevitable in the elimination of trace minerals in the diet is obesity and diabetes. If in every single meal, a diabetic gets salts with high amounts of selenium, chromium and zinc; a radical reduction in their blood sugar excursion happens after the meal. So, you can improve the diabetic effect in a single meal, not with chronic diabetic meds but by just giving these mineral salts back. Again, the combination of selenium, zinc, and chromium can be an extremely helpful cascade of events to improve the pancreatic function and the metabolic capacity of that diabetic patient in a single meal, and just minutes from the reintroduction of the salts, the healing of the patient’s baseline biology starts.
The ramifications of salt as a whole as you start looking at kidney tubules for example, is loss of water regulation. With the loss of water regulation in a single cell or kidney tubule, you start to lose the body’s ability to detox. The best solvent in your body to clear the body of toxins from herbicides and pesticides and other toxins is to increase the water available in the cell. Water is the method of detoxing. Hydration within the cell is the critical element. You have to clear those toxins from the insides of the cell as you go through the process to produce energy.
Why did we fear salts?
By eliminating all the salts we have lost the very underpinnings of biology that produces a vital human being.
It turns out that when you just take sodium chloride rather than the 64 minerals from sea salt you get much more stimulation which stimulates the dopamine response. By actually simplifying the experience to sodium chloride, It sold more and more food. This again comes down to the critical feature of each of those mineral salts and then getting better and better, cheaper and cheaper at extracting just sodium chloride from these complex mineral substrates that we so relied on for our health before. When you take straight simplified sodium chloride vs 64 minerals in your salt, you get a much more potent stimulation into the center of the neurological brain which stimulates the dopamine response, the pleasure response to the food.
So in the 1940s and 50s when we went through the journey of all processed food that one of the most potent ways to increase consumption of commercial products was to add purified sodium chloride. If you then added with it a fat source and sugar, you got a drug like effect that mimics cocaine. If you do a functional MRI looking at blood flow patterns in the brain, a cocaine dose is going to trigger the exact dose experience of a simplified sodium chloride with a sugar fat combination. As we developed the fast food “Happy Meal” in the 60s and beyond it was emblematic of a whole journey into tv dinners and wonder bread and all that processed foods. We were maximizing the drug effect of our foods for consumers to behave in a certain way. We were leveraging the human response of the human brain to more and more purified versions of nature in our food system. Therefore, we moved to sodium chloride.
Reduce sodium chloride intake.
Eliminate processed meats, reduce commercial cheese intake. Increase the use of gray sea salt or rock salts.
Water is the best delivery method, drink it, bathe in it.