I’ll Take a Glass of NaCl Water Please! Why Salt is Important to the Body
Salt plays an important role in the function of our bodies. It helps to regulate nerve function, muscle contractions, blood volume, and fluid levels in the body. So, why is it that we are told salt is bad for us and that we should stay away from it? The reality is salt is not bad, but as with everything too much of a good thing can result in an imbalance of the body. This can lead to dysfunction that may result in health issues like high blood pressure. But this does not mean we should be afraid or even avoid salt, it simple means we need to be aware of what type of salt we are consuming (i.e., table salt vs. sea salt) and where we are obtaining it from (i.e., cooking at home vs. processed foods like salty snacks and fast-food meals). Needless to say, we need our salt!
Human Bodies NEED Salt:
Salt contains sodium and the human body requires it for proper function. Sodium is extremely important for without it the human body cannot live. Not to sound all dramatic and such, but it is the truth. We need sodium to help contract and relax muscle fibers (including those of our heart and blood vessels), to transmit nerve impulses, and maintain proper fluid balance (Harvard Medical School, 2006).
Sodium levels fluctuate daily, depending on what you eat, drink, how much exercise, and even what medical conditions one might have. Each body is different when it comes to sodium. Some bodies are more sensitive to sodium, while others require high amounts of salt daily, like those with POTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome), people who do extreme workouts, or live in hotter climates. Because each person is unique, the need for salt will vary; this is the trouble with telling people exactly how much salt they should consume in a day as each person will require different amounts.
So, the question is, what is considered to be too much salt? The CDC/FDA recommends the daily value of sodium to be no more that 2,300mg of sodium, that is roughly around one teaspoon of salt a day. However, this will vary per person especially if someone is required to have a high salt diet based on a medical condition or lifestyle choice that depletes sodium levels quickly (e.g., intense exercising).
But is too much salt bad for you? Once again it is based on the individual person. There have been hundreds of studies conducted to analyze the connection between salt (sodium) intake and blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and mortality. Although there is evidence that suggest high levels of sodium can affect the body and cause dysfunction, the results of many if not all of these studies are flawed according to a Harvard Medical School publication back in 2006. As the scientific world would say, the limitations of these studies are either too short, did not account for real world influences, too small, limited diversity of the demographics, influenced by factors other than sodium, or lack of diversity of the type of salt consumed. All in all, these studies are not fully representative of how salt/sodium affects the body, therefore these studies should be taken with a grain of salt (pun intended)!
The reality is depending on your bio-individual needs, genes, age, medical conditions, and lifestyle, the amount of salt you should consume will be different in compared to another. There is still a lot more we need to learn about salt and the body, but we do know one thing is that it is required for proper functioning.
Salt Is Just Salt…. Or Is It?
The type of salt does matter. For those who claim salt is just salt is misguided in the complexity of the chemical composition of different salts found across the globe. Depending on where the salt is, or how it is made will determine its chemical composition.
For example, at Salty Jack™ we do not recommend Table Salt. Why, you ask? Well, Table Salt is processed salt that is stripped of all of its trace minerals with chemicals, later to have anti-caking additives (some being known carcinogenic), iodine, and fluoride added to the salt. Whereas, Rock Salt, Desert Salt, and Sea Salt for the most part are unprocessed with their chemical composition intake. Unrefined salt contains sodium but also a variety of trace minerals that help provide electrolytes and improved bodily systems, different flavor profiles, and salts different colors. This is why the type of salt does matter, even if the nutritional value of sodium maybe the same between processed vs. unprocessed salt, the presences of trace minerals in unprocessed salt enhances its benefits. However, it should be noted that more research between the different salts and their affect on the human body need to be conducted to understands more of salts impact on the body.
Getting Your Salt – Salty Jack’s™ NaCl Packets
For the most part, people typically get their salt through food. However, for some it is not enough and obtaining salt has to come in other ways including drinking it or taking it as a salt tablet. It is because of that need, Salty Jack™ has developed NaCl Water Enhancer packets! For those who are unaware, NaCl is the chemical composition of salt (sodium + chloride).
Salty Jack’s™ NaCl Water Enhancer is our naturally flavored drink mix that is added to water to help increase sodium levels and electrolytes in the body. Specifically created using Pink Himalayan Rock Salt because it is mineral-rich and contains 84 different trace minerals compared to other salts that contain around 60 trace minerals. Minerals that are present include potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. NaCl packets are made with simple and clean ingredients that are non-GMO and have no added sugars, chemicals, or preservatives.
NaCl Water Enhancer was developed because a dear friend was recently diagnosed with POTS and dysautonomia. Their doctor prescribed a high salt diet which included drinking salted water using Pink Himalayan Rock Salt. When they told me about this new diet of theirs, we had a good laugh because they had mentioned to their doctor about me being a salt researcher/maker and joked that now I would become their “salt dealer.” Because this friend had to stay away from sugars and preservatives, sports drinks were out of the question. Salt tablets, also known as salt pills, were on the table as the last resort because they are not ideal due to the type of salt they are made out of and how harsh they can be on the stomach. It was at that moment the concept of me designing a salt drink emerged. Something that had flavor and tasted good, and could be consumed by those who need to have large amounts of salt daily. This also includes those who are physically active or in the heat for extended periods of time and need to replenish their electrolytes and stay hydrated. Additionally, there are popular claims about drinking Pink Himalayan Salt and its benefits which include having better sleep, better hydration levels, aid in weight management, and stress reduction.
Because NaCl packets contain higher levels of sodium (580mg and 1,160mg), these are not intended for those who are required to be on low salt diets or have medical conditions that could be affected by higher salt levels. As always Salty Jack Salt Co. NaCl Water Enhancer Packets are not intended to treat or cure any medical conditions. If you have any chronic health conditions or have other health concerns, make sure to check with your doctor before using. And although we love salt, always be conscious of your salt intake as too much of a good thing can result in an imbalance of the body.
Until next time - keep it salty!
-Alyssa aka the Salt Woman