The "SALT BOMB" is Dead! Long live TRUE BALANCE!

The "SALT BOMB" is Dead! Long live TRUE BALANCE!

As interest in active hydration grows, we are seeing more and more electrolyte products on the market. Depending on the goal of the formula and values of the company, there is a huge diversity now available to choose from. Among this diversity, however, one trend has risen up that now pervades what you commonly find and unfortunately it might actually contribute negatively to overall health in the pursuit of a simpler goal. Let’s take a deeper look at what we are seeing and whether or not it is the best approach to your lifestyle.

All electrolyte solutions should contain a diversity of minerals if they are going to offer sustained performance. These minerals mainly include Sodium (salt), Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium, although others do provide some support as well. We have written on the importance of these minerals in previous articles, so please check out the other blog posts for reference. In the evolution of hydration formulas and products available on the market, we’ve seen tremendous improvement to the overall quality since the days of simply replacing what we lose in sweat. Higher potencies were the first, and most, impactful change in this evolution. Where in previous years we saw hydration formulas contain only a couple hundred milligrams of total electrolytes, we now see many products delivering over 1000mg. This jump is not just feeding into the “more is better” philosophy, as higher potencies are necessary because our daily requirements for essential minerals are high. It also accords with the wisdom we find in natural hydration (as seen in coconut water), where a single bottle contains upwards of 1000mg or more total electrolytes. Coupled with the gaps we see in the average person’s diet, it’s easy to see why finding ways to get more electrolyte minerals is essential to maintaining overall mineral status. Simply put, this shift ought to be commended, but the work of better hydration is not done by simply increasing the dose.

While increasing doses of minerals can be potentially beneficial, and usually is to a point, increasing doses does not necessary improve a factor of even greater importance: BALANCE. This is where we want to focus our attention on what’s available in the marketplace and why we see room for improvement. Minerals MUST be in balance, because our use of minerals is complex and intertwined. If we overload one mineral without respect for another (i.e. Sodium with Potassium, or Calcium with Magnesium), we increase our status of one at the cost of throwing our bodies metabolism of others out of alignment. The same thing can be seen with B vitamins (leading the B complex’s becoming more popular), and even the fat soluble vitamins ADEK. The overall effect of this imbalance might take days, weeks, or even years to see the consequences; but there are consequences.

In the United States of America, we can clearly see of the greatest examples of these imbalances in the OVER CONSUMPTION of Sodium, and subsequent under consumption of Potassium. When Sodium is consumed in excess, especially in relation to other minerals such as Potassium and Magnesium, the fluid balance of our system is tilted leading to an excess of fluid in our blood. This excess increases the pressure that is placed on the lining of our arteries, and is measured as blood pressure. To be clear, Sodium is critical and essential, and this in and of itself is not the primary problem as other factors such as exercise and lifestyle choices play a profound role as well. Yet it cannot be denied that it is a contributing factor to the maintenance of health through the life cycle when you add it all up. The scourge of high blood pressure on society is responsible for an estimated 500,000 deaths per year and demands healthcare costs of between 131-198 billion dollars, according to the CDC (1).

Sodium is essential for hydration. Of this fact there is no dispute. Simply removing sodium from the diet only trades one problem for another, and this can sometimes be seen in our hydration status. Yet although the Recommended Daily Allowance of Sodium is no more than 2,300mg per day, the average American consumes a WHOPPING 3,600mg of sodium, according to Harvard Public Health (2). This excess has to be dealt with in context, and intense investment in public health policy has poured into finding ways to lower this gulf of a difference as it is a major contributing factor to Stomach Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease. Once again, it must be noted that while excess sodium is not necessarily the primary cause of the development of these diseases, it can absolutely contribute if other factors are not in place. Knowing this, it is important to consume Sodium (largely from salt), but it’s even more important to BALANCE out the Sodium with the other minerals.

This is where we arrive at the greatest challenge we at Great Naturally wanted to address when we looked at the electrolyte hydration landscape. Modern Electrolytes now contain between 500-1000mg of sodium per serving, along with another 500-1000mg of other electrolytes. There is so much Sodium present in these formulas that they have even inspired a new term for consuming them: “SALT BOMB”. Interestingly, this approach might actually have some beneficial applications such as when we are severely dehydrated and suffering from diarrhea (otherwise known as an ORS solution). However, even in this context this “SALT BOMB”ing usually doesn’t require this high of overall potencies. Outside if this, adding this absurd amount of Sodium while contributing little to no Potassium to the diet which already doesn’t get enough only contributes to further the imbalance between the two over time. Potassium pulls fluids inside the cells, Sodium pulls it out. They need to work hand in hand, and overall we need much more Potassium (4700mg/day) then we do Sodium to begin with, so why would anybody think the solution to daily hydration is simply to add MORE of the same excess and not nearly enough of what we actually need to maintain BALANCE. What insanity!

We want to have Sodium present in electrolyte products, but we don’t want excess. We want to have other minerals present as well, but not just for ornamental value at pixie dust levels. At the end of the day, what we should really want is High Potencies and True Balance. At Great Naturally we developed Real Electrolytes to provide both by starting with 800mg of Potassium, while still delivering 200mg of Sodium in our 4:1 ratio True Balance Technology, knowing that the average person is already getting too much Sodium and not enough Potassium. We want to help restore the balance, while increasing overall mineral status. We also included 125mg of stomach friendly Magnesium Chelate as well as 75mg of Calcium so that you can make real progress in Finding Your Greatness. The SALT BOMB is dead, if it ever was alive. Long live True Balance!


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