Is Salt Dehydrating You?

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Is Salt Dehydrating You?

Written by Dr. Sandra Miranda, ND

The short answer is no. Dehydration is net water loss from the body, and consuming salt does not cause this condition. Let me explain.

I want to start by confirming that there is no doubt that too much sodium in your diet can be unhealthy, but skipping salt altogether isn’t necessarily the solution.  Sodium is a critical electrolyte that, along with potassium and chloride, helps to deliver water to your body’s cells. This means a diet that’s too low in sodium can actually increase your risk of dehydration…. Confused yet?

If you eat a salty bag of chips, you’ll get thirsty…yes. But this doesn’t mean you are dehydrated.  Rather, you end up thirsty because your body recognizes that your blood sodium levels are rising.  Drinking water balances that out.

The biggest source of sodium for most people is processed foods.  Many health-conscious people have made the smart move of ditching processed foods but in addition, they have also stopped cooking with salt due to misinformed guidance around sodium.   This can lead to not getting enough sodium in their diets.  This problem is exacerbated if in addition, they are exercising a lot and sweating (we lose salt during perspiration).  They can have symptoms of dehydration even if they are drinking enough water.

What are the main symptoms of low sodium?   Brain fog, fatigue, weakness, and muscle cramps.  Many will try drinking more water when they feel like this but this ironically just worsens the issue.

Keep these tips in mind:

  • There are obvious reasons to avoid sodium – if your doctor has told you to do so or if you have been diagnosed with hypertension.
  • It is ok to ditch your processed foods but consider still cooking with a healthy unrefined salt.
  • The better unrefined salts are Celtic Sea salt or Himalayan pink salt.  These still have a good amount of sodium but they also have other minerals that help to balance out the sodium – maintaining a proper mineral balance.
  • It is generally recommended to cook with salt but avoid using the salt shaker once your food has been served in your plate.
  • If you are burned out, having a hard time waking up, feeling fatigue and foggy in the morning, and the adrenal burn out has been confirmed with your naturopathic doctor’s testing as having low cortisol on waking – then you may feel better by having some salty water or water with a good electrolyte powder in the morning.
  • During your moderate to strenuous exercise (especially if you are the type to sweat), then also consider drinking water with a good electrolyte powder to give you more energy during the workout.

If you are feeling brain fog, fatigued, weak and muscle cramps, call us to get a thorough hormone and nutritional evaluation done.  905-239-3900 We are happy to help get to the root cause of your problem.

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