Dr. David Brownstein, M.D
Dr. David Brownstein,  editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

Tags: sodium | salt | unrefined | cholesterol | potassium

Sodium Deficiency Triggers Stress

David Brownstein, M.D. By Wednesday, 21 January 2015 04:17 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

It is as simple as this: Reducing sodium intake to the level recommended by the American Heart Association (less than 1,500 mg/day) does not supply the body with enough sodium to function optimally.
Ingesting that little sodium would trigger a stress response by the adrenal glands, releasing hormones such as renin, angiotensin, and aldosterone. These hormones help the body absorb more sodium from the diet and also enable the kidneys to reabsorb more sodium from urine.
What happens when these stress hormones are released? Cholesterol and triglyceride levels increase and blood pressure goes up.
Insulin levels also rise.Of course, there are many drugs available to treat elevated levels of renin and angiotensin, and there are also plenty of drugs to treat high cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels.
Maybe the powers that be have other reasons to recommend low-sodium diets.
The average American diet contains about 5 grams of salt per day. There is no need to reduce salt intake below this level unless you have kidney disease.
In fact, because 9 to 18 mg of salt can be excreted by the kidneys each day, up to 100 grams of salt per day might not even be too much. However, I don’t recommend eating that much salt.
I do suggest using natural, unrefined salt that has a full complement of minerals.
Salt comes in either refined or unrefined form. Refined salt contains 99 percent sodium and chloride, with a small amount of iodide added in. It also has toxic additives such as ferrocyanide and bleaching agents to make it bright white.
Unrefined salt is much lower in sodium and chloride — only about 93 percent. The rest is made up of more than 80 trace minerals, including potassium. Unrefined salt is a much better food source than the refined type. In fact, there is no place for refined salt in anyone’s diet.
In my opinion, most people should ingest at least a teaspoon of unrefined salt per day. If you exercise a lot or simply tend to sweat more, you may need more than just one teaspoon.
If you are deficient of salt, you are likely to experience muscle cramps, particularly in your legs. When this happens, I tell my patients, “Keep taking more salt until the leg cramps go away.”

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Reducing sodium intake to the level recommended by the American Heart Association (less than 1,500 mg/day) does not supply the body with enough sodium to function optimally
sodium, salt, unrefined, cholesterol, potassium
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 04:17 PM
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