May 10, 2018

Salt and High Blood Pressure, part 2

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

Following up on the last article on blood pressure and a low sodium diet, we will look at what types of salt you should be eating, how much you can take in and other ways of reducing blood pressure.

There are several types of salt we could use, but only a few should be consumed. Always avoid processed white salt, it is the worst one to eat because it has no balance of other necessary minerals such a magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iodine.

Sea salt is a popular option, but is too has a few negatives. If the salt is made from modern day oceans, you get modern day pollution including plastics and heavy metals. Most people think sea salt has to have good iodine levels, but that is not true, it has almost none. If you buy sea salt it needs to be sourced from an ancient ocean deposit. Dr. DiNicolantonio recommends Redmond Real Salt, which is mined from an ancient ocean salt deposit.  It has good calcium, magnesium, and iodine in it.

Himalayan salt is also a good choice. It is ancient salt, mined from the ground. It has a pinkish color and also contains many other trace minerals, especially iodine in good amounts. It does contain less calcium and magnesium than the Redmond sea salt.

One of the most important ratios to pay attention to for high blood pressure risk is the sodium to potassium balance. Ideally we should eat 5 times more potassium than sodium! Most Americans eat twice as much sodium as potassium. Imbalance in this ratio leads not only to high blood pressure, but to kidney stones, memory declines, osteoporosis, and stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. If you are eating highly processed foods and few fresh vegetables, you are almost guaranteed to be on the wrong side of this ratio.

If the biggest culprit in high blood pressure is not salt, what can be done to lower blood pressure? One solution seems to be optimizing your gut bacteria. Regularly consuming probiotics can relieve hypertension, recent studies show.

You must consume probiotics regularly for several months before the effects will be seen. Probiotics with multiple strains of bacteria seem to work better than single strain products. You should also increase your intake of fermented foods which contain beneficial bacteria.

Another key to lowering cardiovascular risk and high blood pressure is to reduce insulin resistance. As your insulin levels rise it causes blood pressure to increase. High blood pressure is one of the side effects of insulin resistance that drives atherosclerosis by placing stress on the arterial walls.

Feeding and encouraging the microbiome of the gut is the best way to better health. We are finding that immunity from disease and good health is directly related and controlled by the gut. A healthy diet really is the key to healthy survival.