Salt/Sodium as a performance and health enhancer?

Thread starter #1
I searched and didn't find much here. I'm rather new to the idea of the American Heart Association's recommendation for sodium intake is extremely low. Here is one good video on the subject:
The short version is that the AHA is recommending low sodium because of the small minority of people who will develop high blood pressure because of high sodium in the diet. But sodium is necessary and has 74 minerals and elements in it. It should offer much more benefit than creatine if someone is taking in much less than about 3g.

I've also seen videos by a couple of different doctors saying the same thing. I haven't delved into it deep enough to hear any criticism of what Stan Efferding has to say, other than the possible high blood pressure. Are any of you in opposition to this?
 
#2
Personally I do not limit my salt intake, but I don't add to with processed foods. I do get Labs regularly and my sodium levels are always in a good range. I do know though if you have higher sodium levels you will retain more water. Which will lower your sodium levels because of increase water weight. So if you do not retain water, I would think it's okay to add salt to your food, of course don't overdo it.
 

Cataceous

Well-Known Member
#4
Prior to TRT I used to supplement with quite of bit of salt in the summer months. I'd describe it as more of a poor-performance preventer than performance enhancer. I'd come to realize that I naturally would not retain sufficient fluid—perhaps something related to aldosterone and such. My sodium losses were significant and as summers went on I would start feeling pretty horrible. The causality seems obvious in hindsight, but it took me a while to figure it out, in part due to brainwashing about the supposed evils of salt. TRT and maybe the accompanying higher estradiol made the supplementation much less necessary. I still take some salt as a precaution when doing a lot of long bike rides in the heat, but in general TRT has resolved the underlying issue.
 
#5
I agree, will give this a try this week.

I have to wondered and have for awhile in the salt/sodium restriction with the Iodine as he mentioned toward the end and the proliferation of HypoThyroid.
 

DragonBits

Active Member
#6
I searched and didn't find much here. I'm rather new to the idea of the American Heart Association's recommendation for sodium intake is extremely low. Here is one good video on the subject:
The short version is that the AHA is recommending low sodium because of the small minority of people who will develop high blood pressure because of high sodium in the diet. But sodium is necessary and has 74 minerals and elements in it. It should offer much more benefit than creatine if someone is taking in much less than about 3g.

I've also seen videos by a couple of different doctors saying the same thing. I haven't delved into it deep enough to hear any criticism of what Stan Efferding has to say, other than the possible high blood pressure. Are any of you in opposition to this?
I would object to the idea that sodium has 74 minerals/elements in it. Sodium is an element and salt is sodium chloride. No other minerals at all.

Without listening to the video, no doubt they are talking about some sort of sea water with a lot of other minerals in it.

In most diets it's hard to avoid salt since it's in a lot of foods. So depending on what you eat, you get plenty of salt. I get why they say to avoid salt for many people.

But I don't avoid salt and use it when I want to, usually eggs, popcorn or salads, and eat foods with fish sauce / soy sauce which tends to have salt in it. I eat quite a varied diet and likely get whatever mineral/elements i need from that.

IME it's wise to avoid or at least be very careful with high potency anything, any supplement that labels itself as high potency.

In my 30s I use to take mineral supplements, they gave me a kidney stone, so as a consequence of that learning experience the only mineral I ever supplement are boron, magnesium and I eat a few Brazil nuts for the selenium.
 
Thread starter #7
I had figured out the sodium I get in my diet, and it wasn't even the AHA recommended amount. I only got some extra sodium from peanut butter, cheese and maybe bread. I don't know what people are eating with all of this salt. So I started putting a sprinkle in water here and there, but it didn't do anything. After learning a lot more last week, I put about an 1/8 teaspoon in water, protein, and fiber drinks during the day. I hate the taste, but I've gotten more used to it. It's been making a difference--more than any supplement I've taken. I've never been a water retainer.

I'm sure I misspoke (miswrote?) about it having 74 minerals. Dragon would be correct in that it would be sea salt, not sodium.

Dragon, I'm still considering Magnesium. What's the benefit for you? I wish it wasn't so expensive.
 
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DragonBits

Active Member
#8
Magnesium is a key mineral, if you search the forums you will see several threads on it.

For me the key is preventing muscle cramps. It's very obvious if I don't take magnesium, I used to get muscle cramps all over my body, not just legs.

Magnesium in general is very cheap.

But it depends on which form you take. IMO people do make to much to do about bioavailability. MgO2 is cheap but not highly bioavailable. Most versions of Mg you need to take with food. I take 500 mg triple mag complex which is MgO2, Mg citrate and Mg aspartate in one pill, it was fairly cheap.

Then I also take Magtein, which is expensive, but it's the only form that crosses the blood brain barrier and is highly bio-available. I usually only take 1-2 even though it recommends 3 because I already take 500 mg of the complex.

If I have a hard cardio run, I sometime take a hot bath in epson salts (Mag sulfate) which does a lot to relieve short term muscle pain. Also cheap, and it is absorbed through your skin. I experimented with drinking epson salts, it works but is yucky and tends to not be very bio-available.

I also take Boron (6 mg) which seems work synergistically with magnesium and both tend to be deficient in the soil/diet.
 
#9
A few tidbits:

- Low potassium is a much bigger issue for most people than high salt, and with much greater consequences. Sodium and potassium must be balanced.
- Low sodium can cause high blood pressure. Suppversity has posts on this I believe
- The reduction in BP from restricting salt is a rounding error in comparison to the reduction that comes from major fat loss and resolution of CVD drivers (e.g. high, blood sure, high insulin). It is also not clear that the mechanism by which lowering sodium reduces BP is of value.
- The book The Salt Fix is a good read for people interested in the history of salt, and there are many free podcasts available with the author.
- Upping one's salt intake when heavy sweating is expected (e.g. sauna, outdoor labor in the heat) is worth investigating
- High salt is unlikely to kill you but low salt definitely will. I seem to remember reading that heat stroke deaths are actually due to low salt. Worth investigating if this is a risk for you.
- It is fairly easy for an active person eating Paleo to get too little salt/sodium. I was in this camp before I discovered that I was at serious risk of low salt intake.
 
Thread starter #10
As far as magnesium, I think I'm getting enough in my diet. As far as type, I'm looking at glycinate because it's supposed to help with anxiety and sleep--two issues of mine. I never get cramps. Maybe I should look at a less expensive form.

Regarding potassium, I'm eating about a banana a day now, spinach, and am drinking milk, in addition to other fruit, and whatever else, so I would think I'm getting enough of that, but I haven't figured it out exactly.

I believe Stan Efferding talks about The Salt Fix, and I think I've heard the author speak in an interview. Thanks for the comments.
 

captain

Active Member
#12
I know from experience Magnesium can cause changes on an ecg. At that point your doctor goes off the rails and creates a ton of bills over nothing.
 
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