Apr 28, 2015
Are You Salt Sensitive?
Howdy, friends. I have a confession to make to all of you and, in particular, to my SOS-free readers. An admission, if you will…
I can pass on the sugar and oil, but there is something about salt that has been very hard for me to omit from my diet. I’ve been plant-based for about three years now and “everything has been going fine” with my health. At least I thought it was.
After I did Dr. Fuhrman’s 6-Week Plan, as laid out in his book Eat to Live, I saw dramatic, literally miraculous, changes in my health. See My Nutritarian Journey for the full story. Anyway, the recipes I’ve been creating and sharing with you sometimes use a little soy sauce or miso here and there. No big deal, right? NOT if you’re “salt sensitive.” More on this subject in a bit…
Over the course of the past several months, I’ve actually been sneaking in a little added salt to my foods here and there. Not a lot, mind you. I’m talking a pinch. I would even sometimes add a pinch to the oatmeal I cook in the morning as well as in the brown rice I cook. Then a few grains on top of the dish. Shhhh…. don’t tell my body! Well, as Dr. Michael Klaper says in his fantastic video, Salt, Sugar and Oil—The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, “YOUR BODY IS NEVER NOT LOOKING!” I highly, highly recommend that video. It’s full of well-presented, documented facts on the subject.
Well, I decided to measure my blood pressure this past Friday. I hadn’t in so long. I knew that after doing the 6-Week Plan, which of course does not allow for any added salt, that my blood pressure had dropped substantially to relatively healthy levels. I assumed it would just continue to fall and I would be in the clear of ever having a heart attack or stroke. Apparently all those “pinches” added up. I can’t tell you how absolutely STUNNED, horrified and actually frightened I was when I saw the numbers. It was as though I had never done anything to support my cardiovascular health. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go:
But what about “sea salt” and “Himalayan pink salt” you ask? Aren’t those supposed to be healthy? The relationship between dietary salt intake and the development of hypertension has been the subject of passionate and continuing debate for decades. And despite abundant epidemiological, experimental, and interventional observations demonstrating a link between salt and blood pressure, skepticism remains. However, there are a myriad of reported results of studies in normotensive (normal blood pressure) and hypertensive subjects using increases in dietary sodium content and classifying the subsequent elevated blood pressure responses 1-16.
Healthy salt-free trails,
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- Sullivan JM, Ratts TE, Taylor JC, Kraus DH, Barton BR, Patrick DR, Reed SW. Hemodynamic effects of dietary sodium in man: a preliminary report. Hypertension. 1980;2:506-514. FREE Full Text
- Campese VM, Romoff MS, Levitan J, Saglikes Y, Fredier R, Massry SG. Abnormal relationship between sodium intake and sympathetic nervous system activity in salt-sensitive patients with essential hypertension. Kidney Int. 1982;21:371-378.
- Koolen MI, Bussemaker-Verduyn E, den Boer E, van Brummelen P. Clinical, biochemical and haemodynamic correlates of sodium sensitivity in essential hypertension. J Hypertens. 1983;1(suppl 2):21-23.
- Skrabal F, Herholz H, Newmayr M, Hanberger L, Ledochowski M, Sporer R, Hortnagl H, Schwarz S, Schonitzer D. Salt sensitivity in humans is linked to enhanced sympathetic responsiveness and enhanced tubular reabsorption. Hypertension. 1984;6:152-158. Medline
- Dustan HP, Kirk KA. Relationship of sodium balance to arterial pressure in black hypertensive patients. Am J Med Sci. 1988;295:378-383. Medline
- Sowers JR, Zemel MB, Zemel P, Beck FWJ, Walsh MF, Zawada ET. Salt sensitivity in blacks: salt intake and natriuretic substances. Hypertension. 1988;12:485-490.
- Sullivan JM, Prewitt RL, Ratts TE. Sodium sensitivity in normotensive and borderline hypertensive humans. Am J Med Sci. 1988;295:370-377. CrossRefMedline
- Rocchini AP, Key J, Bondie D, Chico R, Moorehead C, Katch V, Martin M. The effect of weight loss on the sensitivity of blood pressure to sodium in obese adolescents. N Engl J Med. 1989;321:580-585. CrossRefMedline
- Sharma AM, Schattenfroh S, Kribben A, Distler A. Reliability of salt sensitivity testing in normotensive subjects. Klin Wochenschr. 1989;67:632-634. CrossRefMedline
- Hollenberg NK, Williams GH. Sodium-sensitive hypertension: implications of pathogenesis for therapy. Am J Hypertens. 1989;2:809-815.
- Falkner B, Hulman S, Kushner H. Hyperinsulinemia and blood pressure sensitivity to sodium in young blacks. J Am Soc Nephrol. 1992;3:940-946.
- Ferri C, Bellini C, Carlomagno A, Perrone A, Santucci A. Urinary kallikrein and salt sensitivity in essential hypertensive males. Kidney Int. 1994;46:780-788. Medline
- Overlack A, Ruppert M, Kolloch R, Gobel B, Kraft K, Diehl J, Schmitt W, Stumpe KO. Divergent hemodynamic and hormonal responses to varying salt intake in normotensive subjects. Hypertension. 1993;22:331-338. Abstract
- Sullivan JM. Salt sensitivity: definition, conception, methodology, and long-term issues. Hypertension. 1991;17(suppl I):I-61-I-68.