Salt potassium imbalance - is there a risk?

by Mike
(NJ shore)

QUESTION:

I had apparently been chronically dehydrated for many years. And now, after being on Dr. Batmanghelidj's suggested "water cure' regimen for six months, I believe I am finally returning to "normal."

However, I have read that too much salt in one's diet can be risky if there is not enough potassium in the diet. Is this still true when a person is drinking a lot of water?

I am currently drinking approximately 128 ounces per day, with 1/4 teaspoon of unrefined sea salt per quart (32 oz).

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your research and experience here!

ANSWER:

The water, salt and potassium balance is important for proper hydration at the cellular level, as well as overall health.

Thus, it is important to get all three in one’s diet—by drinking enough water, consuming small amounts of natural salt AND eliminating all refined salt from the diet, and getting potassium from the food we eat.

Some of the best sources of potassium include most leafy green vegetables (especially beet greens, spinach and kale), bananas, dried fruit (especially apricots, raisins and dates), salmon, avocadoes, mushrooms, potatoes and sweet potatoes, orange juice, white beans, tomatoes, clams and yogurt.

I do not recommend taking potassium supplements unless advised to do so by a medical practitioner. Too much potassium supplementation can also be risky.

Remember, both sodium and potassium are TRACE minerals. We need just a small amount of the trace minerals in our daily diet.
However, a lot of people are deficient in trace minerals because they are eating too many processed foods and not enough fresh fruits and vegetables.

So, to answer your question, too much salt in your diet can be risky if there is not enough potassium. However, this is rare and would most likely be caused by someone getting way too much refined salt in their diet and not enough water.

If you are not consuming a lot of refined salt in your diet through table salt and processed foods (i.e., hidden salt) and you are only adding ¼ tsp of unrefined sea salt per quart of water AND you eat one or more of the potassium-rich foods noted above at least 2 to 3 times a week, you should not have a salt potassium imbalance.

Of course, there are always exceptions. For example, if someone is sick and loses a lot of water through vomiting or loose bowels, or if one is active outdoors in hot weather for long periods of time, then the body will lose many of the trace minerals and will need replenishment of electrolytes.

As far as adding unrefined sea salt to drinking water, I believe it is a curative approach for reversing chronic dehydration. I think it is beneficial to do when someone is significantly increasing their daily intake of water. However, it is not something I necessarily promote for long-term use.

As long as one is drinking filtered water that has not had the minerals removed (via reverse osmosis or distillation) and as long as one is adding small amounts of natural sea salt to the diet (along with kelp seasoning on occasion, for iodine – since natural salt is not iodized), I do not think it is necessary to drink sea salt in water every day.

Further reading . . .

Electrolyte Deficiency - Causes, Symptoms and Solutions

Salt Water for Dementia – Water, Salt and Potassium Balance in the Body


References:

Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2006.

Healthalicioiusness.com; Top 10 Foods Highest in Potassium

Return from Salt Potassium Imbalance to Water and Salt

Return to Water and Salt.


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