Is Pink Himalayan Salt All It's Cracked Up to Be?
When it comes to hydration, we often think of drinking plain water, sports drinks, or even flavored water. But have you ever considered adding unrefined sea salt to your water? Not only can it add a delicious salty flavor, but it also provides a range of health benefits that you may not have known about. However, is pink Himalayan salt the best option?! If not, what is?
In this article, we’ll cover why as a hair tissue mineral analysis practitioner and functional health practitioner, I don’t recommend putting pink Himalayan salt in your water. We’ll also explore how to make the mineral-rich sole water without pink Himalayan salt, as well as why it’s important to consider mineral imbalances if you have a chronic health condition.
First, let’s dive into the benefits of putting mineral-rich sea salt in your water, as well as misconceptions about sodium.
The Benefits of Putting Sea Salt in Water
Sodium is essential to all of life. Without sodium, we would literally die. It’s one of many minerals that are in various types of unrefined sea salt.
It’s important to keep in mind that sodium needs to be well-balanced with other minerals within the body. A natural, high-quality sea salt does not just contain sodium, but it contains a wide array of other essential minerals that our bodies need to optimally function.
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Drinking tap water that has been filtered by your city or county cannot be relied upon. Check out the EWG website to enter in your zip code to see what’s been found in your water. It’s not adequate for human consumption. I’m sorry, but it’s just not.
So, we must filter our water ourselves or buy high-quality filtered water. The filtration methods called reverse osmosis (RO) and distillation actually remove many beneficial minerals as well as harmful microbes, heavy metals, and chemicals from the water, but they also remove beneficial minerals. If we choose those types of water filters or choose to buy filtered water from elsewhere that uses RO or distillation then we have to add minerals back into our drinking water.
According to research, adding salt to your water, whether it’s filtered or not can have some benefits. One reason being that it can also help to improve your hydration status. Salt helps to regulate fluid balance in the body by actually getting water INTO the cell. This is beneficial for any human being, not just those that are physically active. Sea salt also helps to improve the function of your cells, allowing them to better absorb oxygen and nutrients, and excrete waste.
Misconceptions About Sodium
A common misconception about sodium is that all salt is detrimental to health, contributing to conditions such as hypertension and heart disease. The truth, however, is more nuanced.
The primary concern arises from the excessive consumption of table salt, highly processed and stripped of other beneficial minerals. Table salt is a refined salt, whereas sea salt is an unrefined salt.
Table salt, ubiquitous in processed foods, contains additives, and anti-caking agents, and is almost purely sodium chloride.
This high sodium content in table salt, when consumed excessively, contributes to an imbalance in our bodies, leading to health problems.
It’s true what doctors and other health experts say: excess sodium is NOT good for you. Excess sodium from table salt is usually the problem and will cause imbalances which will lead to health issues.
However, our bodies desperately need sodium for proper adrenal and thyroid function, but it needs to come from natural, unrefined salt. Sea salt that is low in heavy metals contain a balance of minerals, including sodium, and can contribute to a healthy diet when appropriately used.
In his book, The Salt Fix, Dr. James Dinicolantonio’s provides a run down of the nitty gritty details about salt. It’s an informative read that dispels the myths surrounding salt and debunks common misconceptions.
Understanding the source and type of salt you consume is key to maintaining healthy sodium levels. As a mineral practitioner, I actually don’t recommend Himalayan pink salt, but I do believe it is better than refined salt. Keep reading to find out why.
Heavy Metals in Pink Himalayan Salt
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room – pink Himalayan salt. The hype around this particular type of salt has been going on for quite some time now. While it may seem like a healthier alternative to table salt, there are a few reasons why I don’t recommend using it in water or even added to your food.
Pink Himalayan salt is collected from rock crystals that have been mined from areas near the Himalayan mountains.
These rocks sit for a long period of time before the salt is collected. The natural minerals inside these rocks actually rust, creating a pink color. The primary mineral that rusts within these rocks is iron oxide. Rusty iron oxide is not the best thing to be putting inside of our bodies.
Pink Himalayan salt, despite its numerous proclaimed benefits, is also known to contain trace amounts of heavy metals. These include lead, arsenic, mercury, and radium, albeit in relatively minimal concentrations.
These elements, even in small quantities, can present health risks if consumed in large amounts over time. Mercury and lead, for instance, are neurotoxic and can affect the nervous system, while arsenic is known for its carcinogenic properties.
Compared to other unrefined sea salt, pink Himalayan salt has been shown to have the highest amount of lead which is a major reason that I recommend avoiding Himalayan salt.
Other types of salt also contain heavy metals. To get the full run down, check out this well-written article.
How Harmful Are The Heavy Metals in Pink Himalayan Salt?
It’s hard to say for sure, but as a practitioner that assesses heavy metals in my client’s bodies via hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA), I can tell you that any level of heavy metal is NOT beneficial for the body.
While the concentrations of heavy metals in pink Himalayan salt are low, it’s important to still consider that any amount of heavy metal in the body can cause damage or dysfunction.
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If we are also adding heavy metals to our bodies from the salt we are consuming on a daily basis, then is that necessarily a good thing, even in small amounts? If we can choose better salt alternatives that are lower in heavy metals then shouldn’t we?!
What's a High-Quality Sea Salt Brand?
When looking for a high-quality sea salt that contains less heavy metals, I’d suggest contacting the companies to ask for their NSF certification and Safety Data Sheet excerpt. This should show you the concentrations of heavy metals found in their salt.
In this article, I’ll just focus on one common heavy metal found in salt…lead.
Some Himalayan salt brands and Celtic sea salt brands have documentation to show that their salts contain 500+ ppb of lead. That’s a hefty amount, particularly if you salt all your food with it everyday as well as put some in your water.
Jacobson Salt Company also shared that a September 2022 analysis showed that their Pure Flake and Kosher salt options contained under 20 ppb of lead. However, no 3rd party testing has been shared on the company’s website as of the publication of this article. Jacobson Salt Company harvests their salt off of the Oregon coast.
These two sea salt options contain some of the lowest amounts of lead, however, there might be even better ones out there.
I used to recommend Redmond Sea Salt, but I’m not pleased with the amount of lead that their salt supposedly contains (~200 ppb). That amount is according to their website as of the publication of this article.
It’s advisable to do your own research and reach out to these companies yourself. You can also look on their websites to see if they already readily provide the information you are looking for or simply email them. Any of these salt companies might have updated information on the testing of the quality of their salt. Take everything mentioned in this section with a grain of salt and do some digging yourself.
Is It Safe to Drink "Salt Water"?
Our bodies desperately need and crave minerals in order to survive. Minerals should be in our drinking water. They have been since the beginning of time. Now, we don’t want to be going to the ocean and drinking a bunch of salt water. However, we can safely add some unrefined sea salt to our food and natural, unrefined saltwater in order to meet some of our mineral needs.
Sea salt is rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium, each of which is essential for various bodily functions. Magnesium, for instance, aids in nerve function and muscle contraction, potassium manages fluid balance and nerve signals, while calcium is critical for bone health.
All the minerals need to be well balanced. By adding minerals to your water, as well as your food, and by eating nutritious, organic whole foods, you are making some positive steps towards eating a well-balanced, mineral-rich diet.
How to Make Sole Water
Some people like to add salt to their water. I did this for years before moving on to sole water. Just a pinch of a natural sea salt added to a water bottle or a glass of water is all most people need. However, I’d encourage you to consider consuming sole water instead of adding a pinch of salt to your water.
Sole water is a simple recipe that involves dissolving sea salt in water. By doing so, the minerals in the sea salt will be more readily used by your body when you drink it. Sole water is an electrolyte-dense brine that is fully saturated with minerals.
To make sole water, simply add one cup of sea salt to a quart-sized glass jar. Add enough water to fill the jar about three-quarters full.
Cover the glass jar with a plastic lid (not metal) and shake it well to dissolve the salt. After 24 hours, check if there is any undissolved salt at the bottom of the jar. If there is, the solution is saturated, and you have successfully made sole water. Store at room temperature.
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How to Consume Sole Water
To enjoy the benefits of sole water, the general recommendation is to start by adding a teaspoon to a glass of water and drink it each morning on an empty stomach before breakfast. Do this for a few days to see how you feel. Always adjust the amount if you don’t feel well after trying a teaspoon a day.
You can also drink a little extra as a natural electrolyte replacement during and after exercise, or as a way to support your body during times of stress or illness.
Maintaining fluid balance and replenishing electrolytes when your body is experiencing stress of any sort is critical. You’ll feel extra fatigued and weak if you don’t maintain your fluid balance while under stress.
The Importance of Consuming Enough Minerals
Minerals are essential nutrients that are required for many of the body’s basic functions. They play a role in bone health, muscle function, hormone regulation, and much more. Unfortunately, many people are deficient in essential minerals due to poor diets, stress, and environmental toxins.
Adding sole water to your daily routine is an easy and effective way to increase your mineral intake. The minerals in this sole water can help support your body’s natural functions, and may even improve your overall health. Additionally, because most sea salts are unprocessed and free of additives, it is a healthier option than regular table salt. Ditch that table salt for good and you’ll be way better off!
Of course, eating a mineral-diet also goes a long way in helping you restore mineral balance in your body. Consider getting a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) to see which minerals might be imbalanced in your body so that you actually have a plan of action in knowing which minerals to focus on consuming or supplementing with in order to provide balance in time.
Do you have chronic fatigue? Do you have poor digestion on a regular basis? Do you have chronic headaches or joint pains? What about issues with sleep? Do you have excess body fat that you just can’t lose? You may want to consider that a mineral imbalance might be the cause.
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Minerals need to be consumed in the right balance in order for your body to function properly. Consuming too much of one mineral can lead to imbalances in others, and can even be toxic in high amounts.
If you’re concerned about mineral imbalances, it’s best to consult with a health professional to determine the right amount of salt to add to your water.
A blood test can be a useful tool to look at mineral levels, however, a blood test is more of a snapshot in time of your mineral levels. There is a comprehensive test called a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) that I offer in my functional health program that is a better indicator of chronic mineral levels over a period of 2-3 months.
An HTMA panel also looks at the heavy metal load in your body so we can see which heavy metals could also be contributing to your chronic health challenges
If you’d like to see if you’re a good fit for my program, feel free to reach out to me.
Add Some Sea Salt to Your Life...
Consider adding a high-quality sea salt that’s low in heavy metals to your water (not pink Himalayan sea salt). It’s an an easy and effective way to improve your body’s mineral intake and overall health. Remember, that the sodium (and other minerals) in sea salt is critical for all of life.
Making sole water is an easy way to make sure you are consuming a wide range of minerals in your water. Sole water is a simple recipe that provides a range of benefits, from improving hydration and cell function to supporting your body during times of stress or illness. Just be sure to consume salt in moderation, along with other minerals, and consult with a qualified health professional if you’re concerned about mineral imbalances. So, go ahead and give sea salt a try in your water – your body will thank you for it!