The Great Salt Debate

When New York City Mayor Bloomberg started enforcing lower salt limits on New York City restaurants and other institutions, I started buying up salt and caching it in a safe place. That’s because I’m a low-sodium person, one who actually needs to eat good amounts of salt, in order to stay healthy. Most people apparently have the opposite issue of having to watch their salt levels.

For years, most health organizations have preached cautiously limiting daily dietary sodium requirements to 1,500-2,300 mg/day, but a new study highly questions these guidelines. This new study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, followed over 100,000 people for more than three years. It found that respondents who consumed less than 3,000 milligrams of sodium per day suffered a +27% higher risk of death or serious health issue relative to those who consumed 3,000 to 6,000 milligrams of salt daily. Actually, the study proposes that both too-high and too-low sodium levels (over 6,000 and below 3,000 milligrams/day) can cause health problems.

The report has set off a flurry of controversy and disagreement among many health experts. Agreement on appropriate daily-sodium-intake will continue to be tested and debated.

The issue of too-high-sodium levels is extremely serious for many people suffering from areas, such as hypertension and high blood pressure, however, this report is also waking us up to the fact that there may be a dangerous lower limit to sodium intake, as well. As usual, and in with the keeping of Living Medicine principles, the issue of sodium levels is really individual. It is a matter of individually finding your own right balance of daily sodium intake. What a novel idea: taking individual responsibility for one’s right balance of health.

Sodium intake is extremely important, as it helps to maintain the electrical connections of the body. Salt is involved with controlling body water retention and stimulating muscle contraction. Not only that, it also produces hydrochloric acid, which lines the stomach walls and helps the body to digest food. So, salt is NOT the enemy.

Just like with Goldilocks & the Three Bears, too much salt is not good and too little is just as bad. But when you find the right balance for you, everything sets in “JUST RIGHT.” That’s called Living Medicine.

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