Salt is Good, not Harmful.
Countering False Memes of ‘Harmful’, ‘Dangerous’, ‘Excess’ Salt in Food.
Salt is Anti-Cancer.

Frank McManus on Salt in Food   NEW 95-minute audio chat with Rae West, first uploaded 24 Sept 2017 (stereo mp3 48 MB).

© Frank McManus     First upload 24th February 2014     v. 22 September 2017 01:00

Frank McManus' own website on salt   |   Detailed article by McManus on Salt in Food, with Internal Links (Below)   |   This page is part of

What This Article is About: 'Myths' About Salt in Food

"I think that this is the single most important issue in human health at present. I subscribe to the view that practically all illness is nutritionally related and that poor nutrition results from inadequate salt intake. Salt is the raw material which the body uses to drive all the processes of life. The Human Autonomic System has been designed to cope with pretty much any level of salt intake, and the benefits of high salt intake include improved circulation of blood to the fine capillaries which restores and maintains sight, hearing, touch, taste and feel. My further view is that the 1% p.a. increase in cancer deaths in Australia is entirely because of a reduction in the salt intake of the general population.
    With that in mind, I have the view that is essential to keep the piece cleanly focussed on the physiological purposes of salt in humans and animals."
- Frank McManus  Feb 2014   Email Frank McManus here:

Frank McManus’ public health hypothesis is remarkable and original. Improvements in health have been attributed to a huge diversity of factors: vaccination, water purification, more and better food, hypochlorite disinfectants, cleanliness, fewer fleas, lifestyle changes causing leprosy and scurvy and rickets to vanish, modern medical interventions, the abandonment of old medical interventions. But supply and consumption of salt as the most important determinant of human health is (I think) a new idea, and ought to be borne in mind when considering the history of human well-being. - RW

New England Journal of Medicine on sodium and potassium (Aug 20th 2014) recommends more salt. Note that (unlike this piece) they don't seem to know about the chloride component in salt!
Canadian online new item on the same subject; Andrew Mente the lead author.

July 20th 2016. Frank McManus, looking back: The Due awareness is CERTAINLY having some effect... this can be observed by the numerous recent attempts to dissemble on the topic amongst the well known spruikers. [Unflattering Australian expression]. The anti-salt campaign seems to have taken a major hit since we published on your site. The Irish Times and at least one Australian television channel have published major reports on the importance of adequate salt levels... although both continue to focus on sodium and ignore chloride.   [This page has had 4,405 downloads in that time (AWStats figure, subsequently doubled) - RW]

As an experiment, I emailed this site's address to the websites of Patrick Holford, an alternative nutrition type, and Martin J Walker, an unqualified investigative journalist in health issues. Neither has shown a grasp of the issues; neither has replied—I'm afraid these people are of little use.- RW 15 Sept 2017
[1] Lots of red in their logo.
[2] Absurd 'level teaspoon' photo
[3] Omission of 'chloride'
[4] How does 'too much salt' work?—they don't say!
• From British Heart Foundation 'FIGHT FOR EVERY HEARTBEAT' 2016 Print code: G160 06/16 - RW 06 2017

Summary of Frank McManus on Salt (and Trace Elements) in Diet

As I wrote in my note, my view is that practically all illness is the consequence of malnutrition. And I realise that you have read this fifty or more times now, but I will repeat for the sake of having an email that puts an argument together, we can only be nourished if we digest our food. We can ONLY digest our food if we have hydrochloric acid. We can ONLY have hydrochloric acid if we have salt. Selenium, iron and zinc are actually quite difficult to extract from the food we eat and require a well functioning digestive system. Iodine needs to be supplemented. To bore you further, I have 3 drops of lugol solution each morning. [Iodine in aqueous potassium iodide - RW]. Interestingly you have left off magnesium, which is also best acquired with a few drops of salt "bitterns", a by-product of solar salt production.

So in short, without sufficient salt intake, nothing else you put in your mouth can do you any good. My morning ritual is ten grams of salt, 3 drops of iodine, 3 ml of bitterns and lime/lemon in a glass of distilled water (we have recently had fluoridation poisoning put in our water). I continue with plenty of salt during the day and would typically have an ounce per day. [NB: Frank's hard exercise regime suggests less energetic people would sweat less, and therefore need less, salt. - RW] So important is sea salt to our diet that the human tongue is specifically designed to detect its presence. [I'd say evolved to detect it; Frank does not accept evolution theory. I'm not sure that the tongue detects salt, specifically, but ions; I haven't seen proof that sodium chloride gives a larger response than other ionised compounds. If not, 'salty' is a human naming artefact - RW].

I started doing this about 3 years ago now, having slowly been increasing my salt intake from about the age of 45. I am soon to turn 55. The outcomes have been truly Japanese. I no longer need to wear glasses and can read 6pt print and my remaining 4 senses have improved across the board. I play A grade badminton 4 or 5 times per week and, as a consequence, my ranking in the local competition has sky rocketed. I am mixing it with people 20 years younger than I am, several of whom were ranked no 1 in Australia. The humorous aspect of this is that my friends tell me it is only because I play so much that I am doing well. The problem that they have is that they are physically incapable of staying on the court because of regular injuries. I have not had even the glimpse of illness for four or more years.

As you can imagine, this is influencing the people that I play badminton with. Several started increasing their salt intake one or two years ago and these people are experiencing the same results that I am enjoying. One fellow, now 65, has moved from C grade to A2, much to his delight. His chronic stomach issues have disappeared. He is a plumber that was throwing up on the job and was on a string of medications. The doctors were contemplating exploratory surgery. Many of the people I play badminton with have been openly mocking and their eyes roll when i discuss the topic. However, last night, when I made a breakthrough in the rankings by besting a fellow that I have lost to for the past decade, there was quite a lot of discussion when I announced that I will soon be 55 years old.

I guess that was a long winded way of saying to you Rae that in my view, the ONLY mineral that we CANNOT SURVIVE without is salt PROVIDED that we can find foods that contain the other stuff we need. Iodine we can get from seaweed and there are some magnesium rich foods, but I don't know what they are and I use bitterns. I eat a lot of nuts, so selenium is not an issue.

On the other hand, THERE IS NO NATURAL FOOD SOURCE of sodium and chloride.

-- Added 9 April 2016
Note by 'rerevisionist': On December 24th 2013, my site,, received a comment from 'anounceofsaltperday', who turned out to be Frank McManus, a Briton now living in Australia.

salt and life expectation
He said in effect that human digestion needs hydrochloric acid in the stomach; and that this comes from salt (sodium chloride); with carbon dioxide, sodium in effect forms sodium bicarbonate, giving an alkaline balance to the body which is desirable for the immune system. (Citation: a paper which discusses the effect of pH on the immune system). Salt is essential, and 'populations which enjoy the highest per capita salt intakes also have the longest lifespans ... while the countries with the lowest per capita salt intakes have the lowest lifespans... '
    'Most table salts sold around the world ... contain ... Glauber's salt (disodium sulphate, Na2SO4 and usually either an aluminium-based or cyanide-based anti-caking agent. That being said, my contention is that an increase in the consumption of sodium chloride will result in far better health and life outcomes for all and sundry on the basis of improved digestion (we are not we eat, we are what we digest) and strongly alkaline body fluids.'

My reply was that there must be some way to estimate chloride requirements (some hydrochloric acid must be removed from the stomach along with food; and, presumably, large amounts of absorbent foods and water must remove more than from someone dieting or starving). Mcmanus had said '... a healthy male should produce 3 litres of gastric fluid per day with a pH of 1. The stoichiometry of this requires more than 17gms of salt per day simply to produce the hydrochloric acid to digest food.'

All this interested me: the basic formula NaCl + CO2 + H2O —> HCl + NaHCO3 (with biochemical complications; for example carbon dioxide is in body fluids because of metabolism of carbohydrates) must be approximately right. I asked among other things if he considered that evolution from the sea, ultimately, explained the need for salt supplementation—the blood is salty, and apparently resembles sea water (plus corpuscles, things which clot etc), so, just as we as land animals need water, we need salt? And is there a link with using salt and sodium bicarbonate in water to counter dehydration, typically in hot countries? Presumably sodium bicarbonate and dissolved carbon dioxide (as carbonic acid) make a buffer solution? ... And would he write it up for my site?

Frank McManus declared himself delighted to write this up. 'It seems that this idea is original to me, although I cannot imagine how this could be so. I am also of the view that the astonishing increase in lifespan and reduction in mortality rates coincident with the industrial revolution corresponds to sudden increase in the availability of salt, particularly from Cheshire e.g. Nantwich. With your approval, I shall put the facts together and my views with respect to what this means to the human condition.'

Sounds good; as I'm very accustomed to the idea that there are many mistakes out there, we agreed to go ahead. This does not mean I have an opinion on all the topics hereunder.

His 17 grams a day presumably is best spread thinly between foods, as may be consistent with the evolution of food intake. In fact I wonder whether the retch reflex with salt may be to prevent excessive hydrochloric acid formation.

Possible cancer link: salt raises body alkalinity, which combats cancer–
In the 1930s, there was a widespread claim that "NO disease including cancer can exist in an alkaline environment". Attributed online to Dr Otto H. Warburg, a 1931 Nobel Prize winner. Warburg believed the real cause of cancer is oxygen deficiency in the body, cancer cells being anaerobic. Cancers may be caused by the cell division process being faulty, and, as cell division occurs within a narrow pH range, altering cell pH could prevent cells from dividing. [This is taken from an online account in]. If the original claim about cancer cells is true, increased salt intake making the body more alkaline must have some effect on cancer.

It occurs to me that, if alkalinity is important for cells, evolutionary development would favour excretion of acid. Hydrochloric acid is a strong acid, with raw materials plentiful in seawater. So possibly the evolutionary development of stomachs, which store acid, post-dated excretion of acid from cells: local acid must have had local effects, perhaps raising food levels or diminishing hazards, and so would be favoured by organisms which developed ways which made use of it. – Frank McManus


Stoichiometry is the study of quantities involved in chemical reactions. This was worked out in the 19th century; hence the invented pseudo-classical name. Relevant here is the chemical reaction
NaCl + CO2 + H2O —> HCl + NaHCO3

In English, this means 1 molecule of sodium chloride, plus one molecule of carbon dioxide, and one molecule of water can combine to give one molecule of hydrochloric acid and one molecule of sodium bicarbonate. These quantities can be scaled up in the same proportions. The equation is reversible but biological processes keep the two products apart, hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and bicarbonate in other parts of the body. Stoichiometry deals in weights, which means atomic weights come into the picture. Sodium's atomic weight is about 23, chlorine's is about 35. So that, even though sodium chloride has exactly the same amounts of sodium and chlorine atoms in combination, the percentage by weight is different—about 39% to 61%—which of course can be confusing. A mole is the ludicrously-named molecular weight in (say) grammes; the idea is to standardise chemical quantities by allowing for their differing molecular weights. Another confusion is ions, which are different from their elements (such as sodium) and compounds (such as carbonic acid). Solutions in water add another complication, as water molecules are slightly electrically asymmetrical, so ions tend to attract a shell of water molecules. In other words, salt in water has separate sodium ions, and separate chloride ions, each surround by water molecules. Acidity and its opposite Alkalinity are measured by pH, which is a count of the number of hydrogen ions (H+) in a solution; this is a negative logarithmic scale and the mid-point, neutral ordinary water, is fixed as 7; acids have low pH, alkalis high pH; and gastric fluid with a pH of 1 is ONE THOUSAND TIMES stronger than gastric fluid with a pH of 4. Hyper means high; hypo means low; hyponatremia means too little sodium, the construction being formed from the Latin word nearest to what is now known as sodium, with a Greek prefix. And I haven't mentioned mass for example, or electrons. ...

Note that fats, and complex carbohydrates such as cellulose in plants, contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and rely on the ability of carbon to form long chain molecules. Simple sugars contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Presumably all these chemicals must originate from carbon dioxide and water. (Carbon does not dissolve in water, and is not digested). Carbon dioxide in water must have been part of life from its earliest times.
– 'Rerevisionist'

Frank McManus on Salt in Food:-

The Role of Salt in Human and Animal Physiology
Sources of Salt in the Human Diet
    Meme:   Salt and Blood Pressure
    Meme:   Salt, Indigestion, and Stomach Ulcers
    Meme:   We are what we Eat (in fact, We Are What We Digest)
    Meme:   Water Alone Does Not Rehydrate
    Meme:   Salt and Hardened Arteries
    Meme:   Influence of Salt in Food on Fluoride Uptake
Note on the 'Chloride Shift' within Cells... ... and Cancer.
Note on Iodine

[ Top of page - What this article is about ]


Salt is an essential and highly sought after component in the diet of farm and domestic animals, without which our modern agricultural industry would collapse. The development of feeding regimes which result in higher outputs from farm animals often involve strategies to encourage animals to ingest more salt.

However, if we are to accept the urgings of public health organisations, human consumption of salt should be reduced to that barest minimum required to maintain life, and any more than this can result in the most serious deleterious outcomes to our health. Typical of the more alarming titles is Salt Matters: the killer condiment by Dr Trevor C Beard (published 2007).

These urgings are somewhat puzzling to the author of this note as salt, being 40% sodium and 60% chloride, provides practically the ONLY source of two of arguably the three most important macro-nutrients required by animals, with the third being potassium. What is even more puzzling, dare one say astonishing, is that the recommendations on chloride intake (and therefore salt intake) are made on the basis that if you have an "adequate intake" of sodium, then the amount of chloride received is "considered" adequate. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulfate (2005), page 270:–
The AI [Adequate Intake] for chloride is set at a level equivalent on a molar basis to that of sodium, since almost all dietary chloride comes with the sodium added during processing or consumption of foods. Thus the AI for chloride for younger adults is 2.3 g (65 mmol)/day of chloride, which is equivalent to 3.8 g/day sodium chloride. The AIs for chloride for older adults and the elderly are 2.0 and 1.8 g of chloride per day respectively, equivalent to 3.2 g (55 mmol) and 2.9 g (50 mmol) of sodium chloride per day.
salt and life expectation
One would also expect to see clear evidence that, on a population basis, those populations which ingest the lowest levels of salt would enjoy higher lifespans than those populations which consumed the highest levels of salt. In fact, the reverse is true: populations which have the highest per capita consumption of salt have the highest lifespans (Macau, Japan), while the populations which have the lowest consumption of salt have the lowest lifespans (e.g. the landlocked countries of the African Continent). Even more interestingly, there is a more or less monotonic decrease in life span for a given population as the average amount of salt consumed decreases.

One of most often cited papers on this issue was in fact written not by a doctor, but by an anthropologist, Lillian Gleibermann. I quote directly from her seminal paper Blood Pressure and Dietary Salt in Human Populations, (Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 1973, Vol.2, pp.142-156) on the topic of salt intake in Japan:–
Vascular lesions of the central nervous system, particularly cerebral hemorrhage, constitute the leading cause of death in Japan (Schroeder, 1958a) ... It has been observed that salt intake appears to follow the same geographical pattern as blood pressure and essential hypertension ... An average of 27 grams of salt per day are excreted by farmers in Akita, and maximum values of 50-61 grams per day have reported from this region. ... The Japanese appear to have one of the highest salt intakes in the world."
Ms Gleibermann is clearly shocked and outraged by this horrific set of circumstances. What is amusing about this discussion is that the population of Japan enjoys the second highest lifespan in the world (after Macau) and more than half of the 250-odd people older than 110 live in Japan. One would have thought that a sensible person would conclude that, despite the cited disadvantages of high salt intake, there seems to be a highly beneficial effect on longevity. Furthermore, when public health officials are painting salt as a health risk beyond 2 grams per day, it seems that some Japanese were, in 1972, effectively committing hari-kiri and returning from death on a daily basis.

The purpose of this note is to inform the reader of the metabolic function of salt in humans and to suggest that the correlation observed between high life spans and high salt intake is not coincidental but is causal. While many of the sources cited will be directly related to humans, a considerable amount of data is obtained from animal husbandry sources.

In this note, the author takes a topological approach to the human body by considering the inside of mouth, oesophagus, stomach, digestive track, bowel and anus to be "outside" the body. That is to say, the food that we put into our mouth never gets inside our body directly. It is chewed, dissolved and processed to extract various desirable and undesirable components, but it essentially remains "outside" the body. The digestive track is, topologically speaking, outside the body. [From the point of view of the parietal cells, they are simply extruding hydrochloric acid to the outside world.]

Finally, the author of this paper is a layman that has taken a layman's approach the information provided to him by the world he lives in. This is not medical advice.

The Role of Salt in Human and Animal Physiology

[ Top of page - What this article is about | Start of Article, Ignoring the Introduction ]

Arguably, the three most important macronutrients the body needs are sodium, potassium and chloride. While "health authorities" will provide "adequate intake" (AI) numbers for sodium and potassium (Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulfate (2005)), the "AI for chloride is set at a level equivalent on a molar basis to that of sodium, since almost all dietary chloride comes with the sodium added during processing or consumption of foods" (p270

To the complete astonishment of the author, at the time of writing (5 Jan 2014), the author has been unable to find any study of any kind undertaken to determine the minimum requirements for chloride in the human diet, nor any such study which is underway. Consequently, it seems, the medical fraternity and various health authorities are exhorting the great unwashed to minimise their salt intake on the basis that if we get enough sodium then we get enough chloride, despite the fact that no study has been undertaken of the consequences of restricting the intake of chloride. Moreover, there have been several cases of clusters of infant fatalities and illness associated with chloride deficient (i.e. salt deficient) baby formula. Here is a typical example. The author also points out to any career-reckless medically oriented PhD candidates that there is a wonderful opportunity to study a really interesting area left entirely untrammeled by human minds.

The level of sodium in the plasma is controlled within a very tight range of concentration around between 135 millimoles/litre and 145 millimoles/litre (mmol/L). No other ion or compound is controlled as tightly by human physiology. The average human body is about 57% water, with adult women typically having 55% and adult males around 60%. (How Much of Your Body is Water). This means that amount of sodium contained in the body of an 88kg man is 88 x 0.6 x 0.14 = 7.4 moles of sodium, or the equivalent of 400 grams of salt. In other words, a typical 88kg middle aged man has fourteen ounces of salt in his body.

If the concentration of sodium in the fluids falls below 135mmol/L then the consequences are severe, with death the most common outcome (Treatment of Hyponatremia).

The most common cause of hyponatremia is drinking too much water, not loss of salt. Another common cause is the treatment of postoperative medical patients with hypotonic fluids (i.e. fluids with salt concentrations lower than the body plasma fluids and probably meaning water).

Salt is the raw ingredient used by the parietal cells lining the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid (a key component of gastric fluid) and sodium bicarbonate, the compound which maintains alkalinity in the bodily fluids. To produce 3 litres of gastric fluid per day with a pH of 1, 17gms of salt are processed by the parietal cells. Perhaps not coincidentally, the salt ration in the US Army in WWII was 16gms of salt per day.

For animals, the part salt plays in animal nutrition is well understood. A typical example being Salt Institute on Digestion and Absorption, quoted verbatim below :–
Sodium and chloride are essential for numerous processes in the body including the regulation of osmotic pressure and acid-base balance. Both sodium and chloride also play important roles in the digestion and absorption of several nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract. Absorption of glucose and most amino acids from the small intestine requires an adequate supply of sodium. In cattle, magnesium absorption from the rumen is dependent on sodium. Chloride is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach of simple stomach animals and the abomasum of ruminants. Hydrochloric acid is required for the digestion and absorption of many nutrients. Most feeds are deficient in sodium. Salt is the cheapest and most common source of sodium and chloride in animal diets. A low intake of salt can reduce nutrient absorption resulting in reduced growth and efficiency in animals.
Of course, the quote provided above applies equally to humans who are, despite the affront to our ego, "simple" stomach animals. [Ruminants have stomachs with several compartments, in which cellulose is digested by bacteria].

Note that our bodies are what we digest, not what we eat. In other words, however diligent we are in selecting what we eat, it is only what we digest that can be taken up by the body.

Another essential requirement of salt in living humans and animals, which is the by-product of the production of hydrochloric acid, is the production of sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate in our bodies provides the alkalinity of the plasma "inside" the animal body. In humans, the various autonomous systems (which I shall call HAS hereafter) maintain the internal pH of the various plasmas between 7.35 and 7.45. Below or above this range means symptoms and disease. If blood pH moves too much below 6.8 or above 7.8, cells stop functioning and the patient dies. The ideal pH for blood is 7.4.
    The author has noted that Australian medical students are taught that "neutral" pH is 7.4, even though neutral pH is 7 by the definition of pH. The curious effect of this teaching is that many newly-minted doctors are completely unaware that the human body is alkaline, and often dismiss discussions of maintaining an alkaline system as flim-flam. The author has read many articles which discuss different parts of the body having different pH: e.g. the saliva is this, and the urine is that pH, etc. However, by thinking of the human/animal body topologically, it can be easily understood that internal bodily fluids are alkaline at pH 7.4.

[In effect, concentrated hydrochloric acid in the stomach is counterbalanced by a much larger volume of the weaker alkaline sodium bicarbonate.]

The author of this paper supports the model proposed by many health practitioners that a body with plasma alkalinity at the more alkaline end of the "normal" spectrum (pH 7.35 to 7.45) will not sicken from bacteria, viruses or parasites. A paper which contains hints of this model is A corollary of this model is that–
If you have a health problem, most likely your internal pH is below 7.4. Research shows that unless the body's pH level is slightly alkaline, the body cannot heal itself. So, no matter what type of modality you choose to use to take care of your health problem, it won't be as effective until the pH level is up. If your body's pH is not balanced, you cannot effectively assimilate vitamins, minerals and food supplements. Your body pH affects everything.

Readers of this note may be interested to know that one well-known treatment for cancer is simply to inject sodium bicarbonate in a targeted way to a tumour. For example Dr-Tullio-Simoncini-Cancer-Is-A-Fungus-Bicarbonate-Of-Soda-Treatment. Please note that the author of this paper does not necessarily agree that cancer is a fungus. It has been long known that a cancerous cell is one that has "switched" under environmental stress from the process of respiration to fermentation as its means of producing energy (Otto_Heinrich_Warburg).

Sources of Salt in the Human Diet

[ Top of page - What this article is about | Start of Article, Ignoring the Introduction ]

Contrary to popular belief, adequate quantities of sodium and, more particularly sodium chloride, are simply not available in natural foodstuffs. [Very possibly because most evolution took place in the sea, where the supply was assured.] Typical food sources of salt quoted in the literature are all processed foods, and foods processed with salt such as olives.

Fruit and vegetables and meat simply do not contain enough salt to sustain or animal life without supplementation. The previously cited USFDA Dietary Reference Intakes clearly states this already quoted point when it says "...almost all dietary chloride comes with the sodium added during processing or consumption of foods". In other words, the only sources of sodium and chloride in our diets is the salt added to processed foods or the salt we add to our food at the table.

On the other hand, potassium is abundant in vegetables and fruit.

Meme:   Salt and Blood Pressure

[ Top of page - What this article is about | Start of Article, Ignoring the Introduction ]

The message that I was hoping to get across in this section was that low salt intake results high renin production which increases blood viscosity and blood pressure. Without making a medically oriented comment, I was wanting to draw attention to the obvious conclusion that low salt intake has adverse consequences.. so adverse that a new line of drugs are created and prescribed to deal with the increased renin. - Frank McManus

As noted earlier, the various autonomous systems (HAS) of the human (and animal) body closely regulate the concentration of Na+ (actually it regulates Na+ Cl-) in a very, very close range around 140mmol/L. When a human ingests salt, HAS will use some of it to make hydrochloric and bicarbonate, while the remainder will be brought across the walls of the small intestine and into the plasma i.e. from "outside" to "inside". In order to maintain Na+ at the right concentration, the HAS takes water from its tissues and increases the volume of plasma. This is why blood pressure increases when salt is ingested. However, the net effect of increasing the blood volume is that the viscosity of the plasma is reduced and after a short time, blood pressure returns to its previous level, cet par. This effect can be further mitigated by ingesting potassium rich foods (which means practically all vegetables and fruit).

According to the USFDA Dietary Reference Intakes (chapter 6, p ):–
Sodium chloride consumption is one of several dietary factors that contribute to increased blood pressure. Other dietary factors that raise blood pressure are excess weight, inadequate potassium intake, high alcohol consumption, and a suboptimal dietary pattern (see the following sections). Physical inactivity also increases blood pressure. Increased blood pressure is associated with several chronic diseases, including stroke, coronary heart disease, renal disease, and left ventricular hypertrophy.
As any engineer understands, fluid pressure is more affected by the viscosity of the fluid being pumped than it is to the volume of fluid being pumped.

The author also notes with interest the discussion in the literature on so called "salt sensitivity". This is essentially the view that some people experience a greater increase in blood pressure after ingesting salt than other people. The USFDA study noted that people with "high daily intakes" of salt are "less salt sensitive" than people on "low daily intakes". To the author, this would be the logical outcome of the discussion in the paragraphs above.

What has also been clearly noted in studies is that people on low salt diets have much greater levels of Renin in their blood than people who have higher levels. The author has a favourite quote from the Dietary Reference Intakes previously cited from page 283:–

Some investigators have interpreted the rise in plasma renin activity from a reduced sodium intake as a deleterious response that mitigates the potential benefits of sodium reduction on blood pressure (Alderman et al., 1991). While this concern is theoretically plausible, there is insufficient evidence in support of this claim. Furthermore, in contrast to blood pressure, which is a well-accepted cardiovascular risk factor, there is no such consensus on the interpretation of plasma renin activity and its role in guiding nonpharmacological or pharmacological therapy for high blood pressure.
Of course, there is the strange case of the "Renin Inhibitor" From the wikipedia article:–
It is suspected that essential hypertension, a heterogeneous disorder whose long-term effects can be end organ damage, can involve at least in some cases an overactivity of this system, which several types of medications attempt to counter. Renin concentration in blood plasma tends to be higher in younger people with hypertension when vasoconstriction may be the main reason for high blood pressure. Conversely, renin is lower in older people or in people of African American or African Caribbean ethnicity when salt retention may contribute more to elevated blood pressure. However, the role of plasma renin levels in the etiology and management of hypertension is disputed.

Note: M J Brown on Direct renin inhibition
Note: Moser and Izzo on Plasma renin measurement in the management of hypertension

Meme:   Salt, Indigestion and Stomach Ulcers

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One of the well documented medical myths around is the absurd notion that indigestion, often called heartburn or gastric reflux, is caused by too much acid and should be treated with antacid. The cruel absurdity of this myth is that it leads to tremendous and unnecessary suffering. It seems that the term "indigestion" is too descriptive and if used "would give the game away".

Indigestion is just what the word says, i.e. an actual failure to fully digest what enters the stomach. This causes the valves at the top of the stomach open and gastric fluids are allowed to enter the oesophagus resulting in damage.

The medical condition of too much acid is called hyperchloridia, and is so rare as to be virtually unknown in general medical practice. Such a condition quickly results in the destruction of the oesophagus and rapid death.

The hydrochloric acid in digestive fluid serves several purposes including denaturing proteins ( and destroying fungi, bacteria, parasites and viruses. The lower in pH the digestive fluid is, the more effective it is.

Note that pH is a logarithmic scale (chemistry review of pH) so gastric fluid with a pH of 1 is ONE THOUSAND TIMES stronger than gastric fluid with a pH of 4. So the difference in the effect of increasing salt intake to effectiveness of the digestive system is almost hidden by using pH as the measure, as the actual difference in effectiveness is not four times, it is ONE THOUSAND times.

We all know that dogs can eat carrion and survive without difficulty, while cows etc ingest all sorts of nasties and do not endure stomach illnesses. This is because of their strongly acid gastric fluids.

A Nobel Prize was won by two Australian scientists who established that Helicobacter Pelori, a bacterium found in the stomach of most, if not all humans, is the bug responsible for stomach ulcers. This bug is incredibly resistant to denaturing by hydrochloric, but struggles to exist in a pH 1 environment. In other words, the likelihood of a stomach ulcers increases as the pH of the gastric fluids increase.

This would suggest that the simplest way to cure indigestion is to increase salt intake as this will rapidly increase the body's production of hydrochloric acid. This method certainly worked for the author. The author repeats, however, that this note does not provide medical advice.

However, many people have come to regard table salt as so poisonous that they choose instead to swallow Betaine Hydrochloric Acid capsules.

The further corollary of the discussion above is that the treatments generally available to treat indigestion, namely antacid tablets, must necessarily neutralise stomach acid.

Meme:   We Are What We Eat (in fact, We Are What We Digest)

[ Top of page - What this article is about | Start of Article, Ignoring the Introduction ]

Apart from the more obvious metaphysical and spiritual issues related to this nasty misinforming homily, there is a serious problem with the living-in-the-moment aspects as well. A typical medical textbook of the 1940's would suggest that a human produces about 3 litres of gastric fluid with a pH of 1 (citation needed). More recent medical notes discuss gastric fluid pH of between 1 and 4. Gastric Fluid with a pH of 1 is ONE THOUSAND times stronger than gastric fluid with a pH of 4.

Digestive processes are clearly going to be more efficient when the gastric fluids are strongly acidic. This in turn means that the HAS is going to be able to extract far more of the nutrients it requires from the food that is eaten when compared to outcome of weakly acidic gastric fluid.

The stoichiometric calculation of salt to hydrochloric and bicarbonate conversion is that 17gms of salt is required to produce 3 litres of gastric fluid.

It is interesting to note that US Army "K-2" ration during WWII was 16gms of salt per day.

Readers of this note should bear in mind that the author subscribes to the view that practically all physical illness (and probably mental illness as well) is the result of malnutrition. A properly nourished person rarely falls prey to illness and recovers more rapidly. Proper nourishment does not result from EATING the right foodstuffs, it comes from DIGESTING the right foodstuffs. This explains the commonplace paradox of an overfed malnourished person.

Meme:   Water Alone Does Not Rehydrate

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British newspapers printed articles expressing bemusement that the EU made a ruling in late 2011 that bottled water could not be sold on the basis that the product prevented dehydration:–

Telegraph: EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration.

The standard misdirection of the media is demonstrated in full swing by these articles. Dehydration is the excessive loss of body water

As my earlier discussions have noted, the HAS maintains blood and plasma levels of Na+ within a very tight range around 140mmol/L. The Wikipedia discussion of body water [acknowledges that estimates of the amount of water in the human body vary] contains:–
In Netter's Atlas of Human Physiology, body water is broken down into the following compartments:[4]
• Intracellular fluid (2/3 of body water). Per Guyton, in a body containing 40 litres of fluid, about 25 litres is intracellular,[5] which amounts to 62.5% (5/8), close enough to the 2/3 rule of thumb. Jackson's texts states 70% of body fluid is intracellular.[3]
• Extracellular fluid (1/3 of body water). Per Guyton's illustration, for a 40 litre body, about 15 litres is extracellular,[5] which amounts to 37.5% Again, this is close to the 1/3 rule of thumb cited here.
    • Plasma (1/5 of extracellular fluid). Per Guyton's illustration, of the 15 litres of extracellular fluid, plasma volume averages 3 litres.[5] This amounts to 20%, the same as per Netter's Atlas.
    • Interstitial fluid (4/5 of extracellular fluid).
        • Transcellular fluid (a.k.a. "third space," normally ignored in calculations). Contained inside organs, such as the gastrointestinal, cerebrospinal, peritoneal, and ocular fluids.
What all this means is that rehydration requires salty water. If pure water is ingested by a dehydrated person, then that person is at risk of developing hyponatraemia, a serious and often fatal condition. Recent examples of fatalities of this kind have taken place on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. If the reader continues to be unconvinced of the necessity of salt, please remember that perhaps the most common medical procedure in any hospital is the insertion of an "isotonic" saline drip directly into the patients venous system..

Meme:   Salt and Hardened Arteries

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The view that salt hardens arteries is perhaps one of the most specious of medical views which has become a meme in the general public. Although they carry blood, the arteries, which are actually a 3-layered tube, are maintained by a separate blood supply. As previously discussed, the HAS maintains Na+ levels in the blood within an extremely tight range around 140mmol/L regardless of salt intake. Since salt intake does not result in a variation of the concentration of Na+ (or Cl- for that matter) in the fluid being carried by the arteries or the fluid nourishing the arteries, then salt intake cannot be having any affect on the condition of the arteries.

Meme:   Influence of Salt on Fluoride Uptake

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The following abstract is taken from the paper Influence of Dietary Chloride on Fluoride Bioavailability in the Rat by Florian L Cerklewski, James W. Ridlington and Nathan D. Bills in the Journal of Nutrition (J. Nutr. 116: 618-624, 1986):–
A factorial experiment was conducted with weanling rats fed a purified diet to determine the influence of dietary chloride (0.02, 0.10, and 0.5%) as sodium chloride on fluoride non-availability (2 or 10ppm as sodium fluoride). After 8 wk, rats fed the lowest chloride-containing diets had significant reductions of plasma chloride, urinary chloride excretion and growth rate compared to other chloride groups. Depressed growth occurred in rats fed chloride-deficient diets despite the fact that food intake was similar for all treatments. Fluoride retention was greatest is chloride-deficient rats, which was reflected in enhanced skeletal uptake of fluoride. Fluoride absorption was not inhibited by high chloride intake. We therefore conclude that emphasis on the effect of chloride on fluoride bioavailability should be directed towards an enhancement of fluoride retention by low salt (sodium chloride) diets rather than in terms of a possible negative effect of a high salt diet on fluoride absorption.
The author of this note is content to make no further comment on this topic.

Note on the 'Chloride Shift', an IntraCellular Process...

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The 'chloride shift' by which HCO3- and Cl- interact must be part of this process (though I'm not sure what). My best guess is that acidity and alkalinity, in aqueous solution, as H3O+ and -OH-H(2)O, are manipulated by Cl- and HCO3- with salt and carbon dioxide in solution.

The point is that organisms with a mechanism for handling hydrogen ions, in a way to concentrate them far above ambient levels, have potential survival weapon(s). I presume the chloride shift is part of this mechanism.
– 'Rerevisionist'

I remain forever grateful to you for drawing my attention to the "chloride shift". It turns out that this is perhaps the most important "unknown fact" about salt. Inadequate levels of chloride leads to sub par oxygenation and removal of cell CO2. I have a lot more to update on the topic of salt.
– Frank McManus

... Connection with Cancer

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I think it is a certainty that poor availability of oxygen is the trigger event that leads to cancer. [This is supported by research evidence not quoted here].

Since you have alerted me to the "Chloride Shift", my further reading has confirmed that the more chloride, the body has available, the more effective and efficient the oxygenation cycle operates, all other things being equal.

On the basis of the discussion above, I have concluded that the PRIMARY cause of cancer is salt deficiency, since salt is the only practical source of chloride in our diets.

Equally, I have the view that the "oxygenation" theory is simply an obfuscation of this primary cause, simply because the cells CANNOT be oxygenated without the chloride to facilitate the transfer of CO2 out of the cell and O2 into the cell cancer cells are not killed by oxygen either. They are killed by exposure to bicarbonate solution with a pH in the range 7.4 to 7.45.

Note on Iodine in Food

Added by 'Rerevisionist'

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Iodine is a component of thyroxin, but is a micro-nutrient: it's essential, but only in tiny amounts. If life originated in seawater, this would be unproblematic: seawater doesn't contain much iodine as a percentage, but the whole of the sea has large amounts. On land, it's well established that iodine shortage leads to goitre (goiter = US spelling), the thyroid gland swelling up in the neck to try to collect low levels of iodine. The further from salt water, the more likely this is—unless seasalt is part of the local diet. (There may be other uses for iodine, too).

Iodine, like chlorine, is corrosive. However, at room temperature it's solid, and fairly harmless. It's presumably usually ingested as an iodide, or iodine complex, not as elemental iodine. Frank McManus's investigations lead him to claim that iodine in milk has reduced, because cows, about to be milked, used to have their udders washed in Lugol's solution, which is potassium iodide in water, plus iodine, which it dissolves. This acted as an antiseptic. Now, cheaper substances (antibiotics?) are used instead; the side-effect of reduction in iodine in food having been disregarded. McManus recommends iodine supplementation. (Possibly potassium iodide, sold by Alex Jones of 'Infowars' under the phony pretext of protecting against a fast-decaying isotope of iodine, may in fact lead to better health because of this supplementation).


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Anecdote from Bertrand Russell's Autobiography Vol I:
I had no fruit, practically no sugar, and an excess of carbohydrates. Nevertheless, I never had a day's illness except a mild attack of measles at the age of eleven. Since I became interested in children, after the birth of my own children, I have never known one nearly as healthy as I was, and yet I am sure that any modern expert on children's diet would think that I ought to have had various deficiency diseases. ...
During my early years at Pembroke Lodge the servants played a larger part in my life than the family did. ... there was a French cook named Michaud, who was rather terrifying, but in spite of her awe-inspiring qualities I could not resist going to the kitchen to see the roast meat turning on the old-fashioned spit, and to steal lumps of salt, which I liked better than sugar, out of the salt box. She would pursue me with a carving knife, but I always escaped easily. ...'
Bertrand Russell 1872-1970.
As is always pointed out, salt is an essential nutrient for human and animal health. In the main, the recommendations for humans are quite different to the recommendations given for animal husbandry.

Nonetheless, it seems that public health authorities around the world are encouraging the human population to minimise its salt intake on the assumption that this will result in lower blood pressure. While there is a connection between high blood pressure and increased risk of strokes, there is no direct connection between salt intake and increased risk of strokes. Moreover, there is evidence that reducing salt intake below 2.3gms/day will result in an increase in the levels of renin in the blood which some studies have indicated results in increased blood pressure. Furthermore, the effect of salt increasing blood pressure are mitigated by increased potassium intake, exercise, weight reduction and lower alcohol intakes.

On the other hand, there is significant evidence that chloride deficiency can result in serious adverse consequences for human health. These include the death and illness reported as a result of salt deficient baby formula and the outcomes of the Florian et al study with rats quoted above.

In general, on a population wide basis, those populations which ingest the highest levels of salt enjoy the highest longevity, while those who ingest the lowest levels of salt suffer the lowest longevity..

To this layman, it seems that the benefits of having a low salt diet are rather nebulous, while the risks of having too little salt in the diet are quite serious.

As mentioned in the introduction provided by Rerevisionist, the author has several other speculations with respect to salt. These include:
• That the increase in lifespan and general health coincident with the so called "Industrial Revolution" is attributable to sudden availability of cheap, plentiful salt.
• That the European conquest of foreign lands was largely a result of their relatively high salt diet which made them able to tolerate/resist diseases of the foreign lands. By extension, the natives of the conquered lands that did not enjoy relatively high salt intakes were overwhelmed by the diseases that the invaders brought with them. Similarly, it is said that when Julius Caesar invaded England that one of his first tasks was the establishment of the work of his "Salt Makers".
• That there seems to be no physiological reason why the advice on salt intake provided for animal husbandry is so radically different to that offered by health professionals to the human population.

• Historians might like to explore the hypothesis that salt has played a part in civilisation as great as water and food. And conversely with shortage of salt. Perhaps cities such as Babylon, Alexandria, Peking, Rome and so on, and regions such as Europe, had convenient deposits of salt (inland), or exploitable sea-salt (needing perhaps stone or clay, and sufficient hot sun, and wind). There must be many studies, but perhaps not with the medical perception.

This article mostly by Frank McManus Dec 24 2013 - 23 Feb 2014. HTML and notes on origin of website Rae West First upload 2014-02-13. Still subject to some changes. Most recent additions: iodine, and Frank McManus's summary 2016-04-08. Russell anecdote 14 Apr 2016. Explicit anti-cancer mention 3 July 2016. Frank McManus on the 'chloride shift' 20 July 2016. Small change to reduce a few very long URLs 2016-10-24. A very few typos removed and explanations enlarged 2017-09-22