Blood, Salt and Tears

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By Carlos M Viana, OMD-Oriental Medicine, CCN-Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

President John F. Kennedy in a speech given at the dinner before the America’s Cup Races of 1962 said “All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.” Wise words and physiologically correct.

Salt is the spark plug of our metabolic system. Although, medical researchers have associated eating an excess of salt with high blood pressure, not having enough salt has its own set of health problems. Salt is essential for the prevention of muscle cramps and the twenty-seven percent of the body’s salt which is in the bones is absolutely vital to making the structure of bones firm. Osteoporosis, in a major way, is a result of salt and water shortage in the body. Vital for maintaining sexuality and libido, salt also helps prevent varicose and spider veins.

Hyponatremia is a lack of sodium in the blood caused by excessive sweating, persistent diarrhea, overuse of diuretic drugs, or too drastic a salt free diet. The symptoms generally mirror those of dehydration which include apathy, confusion, nausea, and fatigue. Test subjects in clinical studies on salt and blood pressure consume standard table salt. Additionally, researchers did not adjust for characteristics that might have predisposed subjects to hypertension, including high rates of alcohol consumption, high body mass index, very low potassium excretion, and dehydration. Unrefined sea salt is a much healthier choice than common table salt. Natural sea salt contains about 80 mineral elements that the body needs.

Because high blood pressure rarely has any symptoms, the only way to know if you are at risk it is to have it measured. I recommend that everyone have their blood pressure taken while lying down in a stress-free environment. Blood pressure values can be pushed higher by pain, anxiety, including the stress of visiting the doctor, sometimes called the white coat syndrome, or some medications.

Blood pressure (BP) comes in two numbers. There is a high and low number usually written as a high/low. The high number represents the systolic BP and is the pressure of the heart pumping your blood. The low number represents the diastolic BP and is the pressure your blood pushes against on the walls of your arteries when your heart is not pumping or is at “rest.” Normal blood pressure should range between 100/70 to 120/80. If your BP is higher than these numbers, you have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, problems with your heart and or arteries. We describe your risk as moderate if you pressure is around 140/100. Severe risk is 160/115, or more and a physician should be consulted immediately.

Everybody should be aware of hypertension and vascular disease which are heart and circulatory problems. The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of stroke, attack and heart failure. Hypotension or low blood pressure can result in loss of consciousness. Allopathic medicine commonly treats blood pressure problems with pharmaceuticals. Several medical studies have monitored people taking blood pressure lowering drugs, typically diuretics and beta-blockers. The conclusion of these studies is that people suffer from many unnecessary side effects, among them impotence and an increased risk for hearth disease, just what you are trying to avoid. Additionally, some people have an imbalance where the body does not excrete sodium. For these individuals, diuretics can actually make the problem worse by also lowering potassium levels.

The World Health Organization has listed hypertension, or high blood pressure, as one of the conditions treated effectively by acupuncture. In many cases high blood pressure can be brought under control through changes in diet and lifestyle. Lifestyle factors may include caffeine, alcohol intake, stress, lack of exercise, and smoking. Attaining ideal body weight is perhaps the single most important recommendation we can make to lower BP.

Dietary problems include the modern diet of low-fiber, high sugar, high saturated fat and insufficient intake of magnesium, vitamin C and essential fatty acids. Specific dietary factors include high sodium to potassium ratio. Natural sea salt, not the highly processed table salt readily available, will not harm you if your intake of potassium and water is balanced. Fresh fruit is a good source of potassium. Drinking enough clean water is critical for nearly every bodily function. Dietary supplements can also provide support, but it’s a good idea to check your personal needs with a certified clinical nutritionist.

If this is not enough, we look at metabolic imbalances in the body. At Viana Natural Healing Center, we do hair analysis to test for imbalances and toxins contributing to these and other health problems.

Get The Point! Hopefully, everyone will realize blood pressure problems are more than an excess of salt. Identifying imbalances and counseling on good dietary and lifestyle habits can go a long way. In our home by the sea, there is no chemistry set in our kitchen. We drink plenty of clean water, use only natural sea salt, pressure lowering, fresh garlic, good omega, virgin olive oil, and gladly cry salty tears while cutting our onions to flavor our food. The facts on salt are another of the many dietary misconceptions you have heard. Call so we can help you put the spark back in your plugs.q

CARLOS VIANA, Ph. D. is an Oriental Medical Doctor (O.M.D.) having studied in China; a US Board Cert. Clinical Nutritionist (C.C.N.), an Addiction Professional (C.Ad.), Chairperson of the Latin American Committee of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), a Rejuvenating Cell Therapist specializing in Age Management, has a weekly radio program, writes and lectures extensively. For information: VIANA HEALING CENTER, Kibaima 7, St Cruz TEL: 585-1270 Web Site:

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