Effect of Salt on Body
Effect of salt on body is numerous. Salt is an essential nutrient for the human body to function properly. Here Salt means particularly sodium chloride. It is a general perception of the people and doctors that higher salt intake may lead to various diseases such as hypertension, cancer, diabetes etc. However, very few research articles have been published to support this view. Besides this, inadequate salt intake sometimes causes some major health issue due to salt deficiency.
Here in this article, we shall detail on the importance of salt in the human body. Moreover, we shall discuss some diseases caused due to its deficiency and excess salt intake.
What is salt?
Salt is commonly known as NaCl (Sodium chloride). The Table salt contains approximately 40 percentage of sodium and 60 percentage of chloride. The sodium that we require for our body comes from salt and therefore salt and sodium are just like synonyms of each other.
Salt may sometimes contain traces of other minerals such as zinc, iron, potassium, calcium. Most of the dietary salt available in the market are fortified with iodine.
The function of electrolytes in the human body is to help in the nerve transmission, body fluid balance, muscle contraction, enzymatic reaction etc. The minerals present in salts are various electrolytes which perform these vital functions.
Fruits and vegetables contain natural salts, whereas salt is manually added to processed food items to impart flavor.
Since centuries folks have been using salt to preserve food. It prevents contamination with bacteria and other microorganisms and does not let the food to degrade.
The common harvesting procedure of salt involves the evaporation of marine water and collection from salt mines. Moreover, salt can also be harvested from mineral-rich water.
There are different varieties of salt available. The color, texture, and taste vary with different kind of salts. You may find a kind with finely grounded while other can be coarsely grounded. The color may be sometimes black or white. The common salt types are sea salt, plain table salt, Himalayan pink salt etc.
All kind of salt has almost similar chemical properties that are why they impart the same health effects. Therefore, it is difficult to say which the healthiest salt for you.
Effect of Salt on Body
The effect of salt on body can be either short-term or long term. Excess intake, in short, can cause few medical conditions, coma or death. Higher salt intake for a longer period of time invites many severe illnesses.
Salt can affect your body in multiple ways. The acute effects of salt on the body are numerous.
Hypernatremia is a condition of excess blood levels of salt in the body causing multiple health hazards. Salt level more than 145mEq/L is considered hypernatremia. This medical condition manifests as shrinking of brain cells, thirst, muscle spasm, confusion and jerking contraction of the body.
If the salt level elevated extremely, it can cause severe convulsions and sometimes death or coma.
There are reports of death due to salt intake more than 1 g per kg of body weight at a time. There is also some evidence of deaths due to using the salt solution as emetics. Salt solution is used to vomit the ingested poison.
The adverse health effects of salt deficiency are almost opposite to that of the hypernatremia. If the blood levels of sodium reach below 135mEq/L, we call the medical condition as hyponatremia.
This causes the brain cells to swell up causing confusion, lethargy, fatigue etc. If the salt levels fall extremely low it leads to inertness, coma death, seizure. This condition usually arises due to drinking excess of water.
Long-term effect of Salt on Body
More than 90% of the world population consumes an average of 6 g to 12 g of salt on a daily basis. Studies show intake of salt below 5.8 g per day activates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. This results in an increase of plasma lipid levels and death. Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is known to regulate blood pressure in our body.
According to health organizations and various reports, high intake of salt may lead to many diseases in adults, children and older people. However, there are many controversies regarding consumption more salt for a longer period of time. Some studies suggest that the effects are negligible.
Salt plays a major role in maintaining blood volume and regulating blood pressure. Higher salt intake retains excess water in the body which leads to increased blood volumes. The high circulating blood volume exerts more pressure on the blood vessels causing blood pressure to increase. Therefore, high sodium levels in the blood are associated with hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
Hypertension is a mother of many severe illnesses such as kidney failure, stroke, brain hemorrhage, cardiac ischemia etc.
Hypertrophy refers to an increased size of an organ. Ventricular hypertrophy is the enlargement of heart ventricles. There is numerous evidence that suggests higher salt consumption can lead to left ventricular hypertrophy.
After a physical injury, kidney failure etc, the body accumulates water and the condition of such excess fluid retention refers to edema. Salt plays a bigger role in such kind of water retention of the only. You can get rid of such issue by significantly reducing your salt intake.
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Now a day’s salt is an integral part of all synthetic foods and packed foods. It is added as a flavor or preservatives to processed food items. According to studies salt or sodium chloride added as additives to manufacture foods increase the risk of stomach cancer upon consumption.
Effect of salt on body and various other organs are so severe. The kidney plays a major role in maintaining the blood pressure and flushing out toxic material from the body. Beside this body absorbs some water across the semipermeable membranes of the kidney by osmotic pressure. This process of water reabsorption maintains the sodium and potassium balance in our body.
Whenever we consume a diet with high sodium, it disrupts the salt balance causing the kidney to reabsorb excess water and increase blood volume. Increase in blood volume results in high blood pressure which exerts excess strain on the kidneys and causing kidney diseases.
Moreover, an increase in salt consumption can increase protein loss through urine which can deteriorate your health.
It has been found that higher salt intake is associated with the formation of renal stones. Urinary calcium is the primary component of renal stones. Therefore, the consumption of salt containing calcium can adversely affect your body. Effect of salt on body and kidney is therefore important to discuss.
There is evidence that suggests that reduction in dietary salt can effectively d reduce the chances of kidney stones and possibly prevent its reoccurrence.
It is also found that patients with hypertension are more prone to develop kidney stones. Therefore, it could be beneficial if they consume less salt to reduce blood pressure. DASH diet, a diet which is designed and prescribed for high blood pressure patients has been found to reduce the risk of renal stone to a greater extent.
Osteoporosis is a medical condition involving loss of bone calcium causing bone weakness and thinning. Calcium is the primary component of bone.
Approximately 90% of the bone mass is composed of calcium. Therefore dietary calcium is necessary to keep the bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
Moreover, it has been found the excess salt intake promote calcium excretion. Whenever demineralization of the bones occurs, the body excretes an excess of calcium through urine. To prevent this, post-menopausal women and others are recommended to not exceed their daily salt intake.
Salt is beneficial to our body only when we consume as per requirement. Lower salt intake can higher salt intake, both can adversely affect our body health.
Most of the people do not realize what could be the effect of salt on body if they consume it in excess or less.. It is because; all the kind of bread, biscuits, mixtures etc. contained hidden salts. Therefore, try to avoid packed foods available in shops.
Table salts and rock salts both contain sodium in it, so be aware of the quantity while consuming any of these.
It is always advisable to add fruits and vegetable salad in your diet, which contains less sodium and more potassium. Studies show that higher potassium containing foods can help regulate blood pressure and prevent diseases.
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