Salt and its Effect on Arthritis and High Blood Pressure


Controversy rages on about high sodium diets.

As noted in the excerpt published below, a high sodium diet wreaks havoc with the body’s immune system.

don Penven

Don Penven
Freelance Writer

Salt (sodium chloride) is getting a bad rap, so say many health care researchers. Those folks with high blood pressure (hypertension) are cautioned to limit salt intake. But recent research indicates that this may be bad advice.

As I’ve indicated in several posts on this blog, I am not in the least way involved in the health care profession, nor am I affiliated with any drug manufacturers. Yes… I am a patient receiving regular health checkups, but I am a frequent researcher of health matters.

Lately we are hearing about an alternative to salt in our diets—Sea Salt. And you will be hearing much more about what many health experts consider as a viable alternative. I plan to post much more information on sea salt, so be sure to visit this blog often.

The following text is from an Email just received from my good friends at Blue Heron Health News. Blue Heron has been my regular source of reliable, well-thought out health matters reporting. Please pay close attention to what they have to say about the EVIL OF EVILS—FAST FOOD! 

High sodium diets are frequently pegged as the culprit for people who have high blood pressure. But does excess salt cause other problems as well?

In studies from 3 different universities, researchers set out to see if there was any relationship between salty, processed diets and the occurrence of autoimmune diseases like arthritis, but what set them on the path to begin with was a surprise finding.

In a study out of Yale School of Medicine looking at people with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, researchers stumbled upon the finding that people who frequented fast food restaurants and ate a lot of processed foods had higher rates of autoimmune diseases.

This got them looking at diet as a key factor in not only risk, but cause-effect relationships with inflammatory foods.

Studies out of the Broad Institute and Harvard worked on similar research, finding that high amounts of salt may overstimulate receptors that are responsible for regulating how the immune system functions.

The studies showed that overloading on salty, processed foods not only caused multiple sclerosis in mice, but also seemed to interfere with genes’ abilities to manage immune response.

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks some part or system of the body. Examples are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus. Instead of just fighting foreign invaders and disease-causing microorganisms, the immune system perceives the body’s own tissues as a threat and attacks them.

Depending upon the disease, tissues attacked can be muscles, bone, connective tissue, organs, nerves or a combination of any of those. Typically, once developed, there is no cure for the disease, and only symptom management has been available.

The discoveries with how salt affects the genetic response to immunity offer new areas of research in not only prevention, but also possibly cures.

Here’s some recent research I collected about Sea Salt:

What’s the difference between sea salt and table salt?

 Answer: from Katherine Zeratsky, Registered Dietician, Mayo Clinic

 Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value, despite the fact that sea salt is often marketed as a more natural and healthy alternative. The most notable differences between sea salt and table salt are in their taste, texture and processing.

Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes, usually with little processing. Depending on the water source, this leaves behind certain trace minerals and elements. The minerals add flavor and color to sea salt, which also comes in a variety of coarseness levels.

Table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is more heavily processed to eliminate minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping. Most table salt also has added iodine, an essential nutrient that helps maintain a healthy thyroid.

By weight, sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium.

Regardless of which type of salt you prefer, limit total sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams a day — or 1,500 milligrams if you:

Are 51 or older

Are black

Have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease

 Sea Salt Vs. Table Salt: From the American Heart Association

Sea salt has some health benefits – but won’t lower your sodium content one bit.

Sea salt has boomed in popularity in restaurants and supermarket aisles across the country.  Many gourmet chefs say they prefer it over table salt for its coarse, crunchy texture and stronger flavor. Manufacturers are using it in potato chips and other snacks because it’s “all natural,” and not processed like table salt. And some health-conscious consumers choose it because it contains minerals like magnesium.

Each of the above-mentioned characteristics may set sea salt apart from table salt, but in one other very important respect there’s absolutely no difference between the two: sodium content.

Sea salt and sodium content

Both sea salt and table salt contain about 40 percent sodium. Unfortunately, many consumers haven’t gotten that message. In an April 2011 survey by the American Heart Association, 61 percent of respondents said they believed sea salt is a low-sodium alternative to table salt.

“It’s very important for people to be aware that sea salt has as much sodium as table salt,” said Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., an AHA spokeswoman and the Bickford Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont.

“One of the keys to maintaining a heart-healthy diet is to control your sodium intake,” she said. “If you’re consuming more sea salt than you otherwise would because you think it has less sodium, then you may be placing yourself at higher risk of developing high blood pressure, which raises your risk of heart disease.”

What’s the difference?

Sea salt is obtained directly through the evaporation of seawater. It is usually not processed, or undergoes minimal processing, and therefore retains trace levels of minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium and other nutrients.

Table salt, on the other hand, is mined from salt deposits and then processed to give it a fine texture so it’s easier to mix and use in recipes. Processing strips table salt of any minerals it may have contained, and additives are also usually incorporated to prevent clumping or caking.

While these attributes may make sea salt more attractive from a marketing standpoint, Johnson says there are no real health advantages of sea salt.

“The minute amounts of trace minerals found in sea salt are easily obtained from other healthy foods,” Johnson said. “Sea salt also generally contains less iodine than table salt. Iodine has been added to table salt since the 1920s to prevent the iodine-deficiency disease goiter.”

The next time you find yourself choosing between sea salt and table salt, remember that it’s probably mostly a matter of letting your tastebuds decide.  But whichever option you choose, keep in mind that both contain the same amount of sodium, and remember that the American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to no more than 1,500 milligrams a day.

Reduce Salt and Sodium in Your Diet – National Institutes of Health

 A key to healthy eating is choosing foods lower in salt and sodium. Most Americans consume more salt than they need. The current recommendation is to consume less than 2.3 grams (2,300 milligrams[mg] ) of sodium a day. That equals 6 grams (about 1 teaspoon) of table salt a day. The 6 grams include ALL salt and sodium consumed, including that used in cooking and at the table. For someone with high blood pressure, the doctor may advise eating less salt and sodium, as recent research has shown that people consuming diets of 1,500 mg of sodium had even better blood pressure lowering benefits. These lower-sodium diets also can keep blood pressure from rising and help blood pressure medicines work better.

Quick Facts on Salt

  • Most sodium is consumed in the form of sodium chloride which is table salt. Other forms of sodium are also found in food, so watch out for salt AND sodium.

               Try to have less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day — that’s the same as 6 grams of salt a  

              day, or about 1 teaspoon 

  • That includes ALL sodium and salt — what’s in the product, and added in cooking and at the table
  • Processed foods account for most of the sodium and salt consumed
  • Check food labels — sodium is in some foods you might not expect, such as soy sauce and some antacids
  • Kosher salt and sea salt are just that — salt. Don’t forget to include them in adding up your sodium intake for the day
  • Reducing salt in the diet can lower blood pressure

So SALT by any other name is still SALT!

If you are like so many other senior citizens plagued by high blood pressure, take a moment to visit my blog on this subject:

Curing High Blood Pressure Naturally

I also urge you up visit:

Blue Heron Health News



 Posted by at 9:02 am