One common refrain that is heard around the world in many doctor’s offices, often said with the best of intentions is “lower your sodium to keep your blood pressure down”. While it is true that excess sodium causes an increase in our blood pressure, that is not the whole story. What usually is left unsaid is that sodium increase, without a corresponding increase in potassium and magnesium, is what is responsible for a corresponding increase in blood pressure.

In the 90s, a nation-wide study in Finland was performed where a balanced electrolyte salt was used on the Finnish population for several years, and the results on heart disease deaths were examined, based solely on this intervention. It resulted in an almost 60 percent drop in the rates of death due to heart disease and stroke in both men and women, and an increase in life expectancy of 6 to 7 years. Similar results were achieved in both Australia and Taiwan when these salt substitutes were used.

The most common type of salt substitutes on the market are those that are a 50/50 mix of sodium and potassium salts. However, if magnesium and lysine are also added, blood pressure will be stable and mortality rates due to heart disease will decrease.

That brings us to the intervention. Salt substitutes containing sodium, potassium and magnesium are the most ideal, but hardest to find. If you can only find either the 50/50 sodium/ potassium mix, simply take magnesium citrate powder before bed, while salting your food with the aforementioned mix. When these electrolytes are present in balanced amounts in your diet, water retention, stroke and heart attack risk will all go down.

Tune in next week when we’ll talk about Niacinamide and Osteoarthritis.

Be Well and Be Zen



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Karppanen H, Mervaala E. Adherence to and population impact of non-pharmacological and pharmacological antihypertensive therapy. J Hum Hypertens. 1996;10(Suppl 1):S57–61.

Chang HY, Hu Y, et al. Effect of potassium-enriched salt on cardiovascular mortality and medical expenses of elderly men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(6):1289–1296.

Champagne CM. Magnesium in hypertension, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and other conditions: a review. Nutr Clin Pract. 2008;23(2):142–151.

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