March 2014

This month’s newsletter is a “myth-buster” about the dangers of salt.  Yes, we have all heard it said “Salt is bad for you and causes high blood pressure”.  Most people believe this is a fact and is based on good science.  Unfortunately, the facts about salt consumption have been highly exaggerated over the years.

The type of salt a person consumes is the key to how salt can affect our health.  Most people (even physicians) do not understand the differences between “refined” and “unrefined salt”.  Salt is found throughout the world in two forms: sea salt and rock salt.  Salt is an essential nutrient and human beings cannot survive without an adequate amount of salt.

I recommend to most of my patients that they consume between ½ and 1 teaspoon of sea salt each day.  
Many people find this unusual and want to know why I feel this is important.  The reason is it is nearly impossible to balance the body’s hormonal and immune systems without adequate salt intake. Just as there are differences between the refined and unrefined forms of flour and sugar, there are big differences between refined and unrefined salt. 

Unrefined salt in its natural state contains more than 80 essential minerals including the all-important magnesium (most people are significantly deficient in magnesium due to limited fruits and vegetables in their diet).  The salt manufacturing industry refers to these naturally occurring minerals as “impurities,” which must be removed from the final product.  The process of removing these “impurities” involves dissolving the unrefined crystals in toxic chemicals such as sulfuric acid.  The salt is then put through an evaporation process whereby the excess water is removed.  The heat associated with this process disrupts the normal molecular structure of salt.  The final step of refining salt exposes the salt to oxidizing agents to ensure a bright white color. 

Another disturbing fact about most refined salt is they can contain anti-caking agents such as sodium ferrocyanide, ammonium citrate, and aluminum silicate. 

How crazy is this refining idea!  We have added these dangerous chemicals and taken out most of the truly important 80 essential minerals our bodies need.  And why?  So our salt looks pretty and white and won’t stick together in the shaker!  I think you can begin to see that quality sea salt is looking better and better. 

Refined salt is a devitalized product and can lead to a host of health problems:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Imbalanced pH (acidity)
  • Mineral deficiencies
  • Lipid abnormalities
  • Accumulation of toxic substances in the body

Hypertension Doesn’t Come From Salt
Like most doctors I was taught in school that salt was harmful and would lead to high blood pressure.  Of course, there was no mention of the difference between refined and unrefined salt.  I’m sure now that my professors didn’t know the difference.  We were taught that patients with hypertension must avoid salt.  I have learned since much of what I was taught in school about salt has been proven to be false. 

Most of the research in this area (even dating back to the early 1900’s) has been proven by modern scientific research to be inaccurate.  Most of the studies now show no correlation could be drawn between salt intake and hypertension. Fifty-seven trials reviewed over a 25-year period (1966-2001) showed that in individuals with normal blood pressure, a low-sodium diet resulted in an average decline of systolic blood pressure of just 1.27mmHG and a decline of diastolic pressure of only 0.54mmHG. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published the results of a study of 3,681 subjects for a median of 7.9 years that found death rates actually increased as the subjects ate less salt. Inadequate salt intake can cause hormonal disruptions.  If a shortage of salt occurs, aldosterone, a hormone secreted from the adrenal glands, causes the kidneys to retain more sodium, thereby raising blood pressure.  For most, when refined salt deficiency is corrected, blood pressure falls.  Most hypertensive patients need unrefined salt to replenish low mineral levels. 


  • A low-salt diet has also been shown to result in a significant increase in cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
  • Insulin has also been shown to increase in the presence of a low-salt diet.Elevated insulin levels have been associated with development of diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.
  • Low-salt diets make it difficult for the body to remove toxins such as bromine.Bromine toxicity can cause thyroid problems, breast disease (including breast cancer), and mental abnormalities.                                                              

Salt is an essential nutrient for our bodies.  Unrefined salt should be your salt of choice.  Refined table salt is a very poor food choice! 

Don’t fall for the low-salt propaganda.  There is no good science to back up that claim.  

If you have found this Newsletter helpful in your quest for good health please visit my website at where I have all of my previous Newsletters archived.  You may find a topic there that may be of help to you, a family member, or a friend. You may have received this newsletter from a friend.  If you are not currently receiving my monthly health newsletter and you would like to receive it the first of each month just e-mail me your address (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and request to be added to the list of recipients.

Healthy Transformations
820 W. New York Avenue
DeLand, FL  32720
(386) 956-1668

I am currently accepting new patients for nutritional assessment and dietary coaching. 

Have a Healthy Day!
Dr. Stephen W. Hayman