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Sodium isn't so bad after all?
engineerguy posted:
Hi folks,

I just had a epiphany. Some people insist they need added salt in their diet, to feel fine. One woman I know insists that every time her elderly father is put on a very low sodium diet, he ends up in the hospital. And I saw a reference to an article in the New York Times(1) which said:

"One 2008 study(2) the committee examined, for example, randomly assigned 232 Italian patients with aggressively treated moderate to severe congestive heart failure to consume either 2,760 or 1,840 milligrams of sodium a day, but otherwise to consume the same diet. Those consuming the lower level of sodium had more than three times the number of hospital re-admissions — 30 as compared with 9 in the higher-salt group — and more than twice as many deaths — 15 as compared with 6 in the higher-salt group."

I was troubled trying to reconcile this with my belief that low sodium was very healthful.

One item I already knew, from a visit to the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami area, 7 years ago. A nutritionist there explained that when people come to learn the Pritikin lifestyle, usually to address serious illnesses, they usually come from the Standard American Diet, (3400 mg avg), and come to the Pritikin diet, a low sodium diet. In response to the drop in sodium intake, the body makes a hormone change, which reduces the amount of sodium in the sweat. But the hormone change takes about a week to kick in. If the person exercises and sweats a lot, during that first week, he can "get in trouble". He will be exercising and losing lots of sodium in the sweat, because the hormone change has not occurred yet, and he's not taking in sodium. The person can have life threatening heat exhaustion due to being deficient in sodium. Very serious.

I read the reference to the study (2). One essential thing the NYT article did not happen to mention, is that both groups were on very high dose Lasix diuretics. Lasix helps the body remove water, partly by helping remove - sodium - from the body. Lasix also removed potassium and calcium from the body.(2) Perhaps we could have assumed this, knowing that these we patients with moderate to severe congestive heart failure.

But the apparent contradiction becomes clear. Of course, sodium is essential to life. So, if a person is taking a powerful drug which increases the body's loss of sodium in the urine, a very low sodium diet can be harmful!!!

But the article's conclusion was that a low sodium diet might be harmful to anybody. No connection was mentioned about sodium depleting drugs.

Best regards, EngineerGuy(Stacy)



hanawaiman6358 responded:
Interesting article. If I have any added salt my bp spikes immediately. I use non sodium baking powder, home made bread, no salt in oatmeal, etc. Then all is well. My main sodium source is soy milk. Believe it or not, you get used to it. I read here a lot but not much of a contributor. Thank you for all your work.
jc3737 responded:
Good info.....also a potassium iodide supplement is often necessary for those on a low sodium diet.Iodized salt is the main way most people get their daily iodine and without salt can become deficient ( 150mcg supplement.)

Especially necessary since most of us eat a diet high in iodine depleting foods.

I think its likely negative data on a low sodium diet is caused by a lack of iodine in the diet,
engineerguy replied to jc3737's response:
Hi hanawaiman6358,

Thanks for the kind words and frequent visits and great posts. I appreciate it.

Hi jc,

Thanks for your many visits and always thoughtful and informative info.

You are exactly right, that we low sodium folks do need an iodine supplement. I take Dr. Fuhrman's Men's Daily Formula, which contains 150 mcg of Iodine, precisely the amount you mentioned. Great minds think alike. Of course, the iodine in iodized salt, is also a supplement, not a natural source of iodine. So, everyone needs an iodine supplement, whether it is iodized salt or something else.

See if there are any studies showing negative data for low sodium diet, that are not using heart patients and hypertensives, on drugs to increase sodium depletion.

One would think that Sea Salt is a natural source of iodine. I was surprised to learn that Sea Salt is also deficient in iodine.

Kelp is a natural source of iodine, but it is so high in iodine, that one can easily get an overdose of iodine, which is also bad for our health.

Kelp apparently filters iodine out of sea water, and concentrates the iodine.

Best regards, EngineerGuy (Stacy)

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