Himalayan Salt: Is It Good for You?

These days, pink Himalayan salt is everywhere. Not only can you find it in grocery and specialty food stores, but its charming hue has also made it a literal fixture in home goods like table lamps.

Himalayan salt is mined in the Punjab region of Pakistan, near the Himalayan foothills. The origins of the mineral date back hundreds of millions of years, when the salt was deposited in a prehistoric lagoon. Until recently the Himalayan salt market was fairly small. Now, due to its popularity, exports have grown to 400,000 tons of salt each year.

Folks have made many health claims regarding Himalayan salt over the years. Some say salt lamps help purify the air. Some say it can detoxify the body of heavy minerals. Some have even suggested it can increase libido. What do scientists have to say about these claims? Are there any tangible Himalayan salt health benefits? Or is it possible that this mineral may cause harm instead of good?

Nutrition Information

As a mineral, Himalayan salt is completely devoid of:

  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fiber
  • Sugar

It is, however, able to contribute ample sodium to your diet, since it’s nearly pure sodium.

The traces of other minerals in Himalayan salt are responsible for the mineral’s pink tint. These trace minerals are mainly:

Potential Health Benefits of Himalayan Salt

Proper sodium intake is vital for good health. All salts, including Himalayan salt, can help you achieve healthy sodium levels. 

However, research has not demonstrated that Himalayan salt has any unique health benefits compared to other dietary salt. The mineral impurities that give it a pink color, often promoted as healthful, are far too low in concentration to be nutritionally beneficial. You would have to eat a lethal amount of sodium to achieve helpful quantities of the other minerals.

Some specific health benefits associated with sodium include:

Preventing Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia means low sodium levels in the blood. Eating enough sodium  through a healthy diet is vital to preventing this dangerous and painful condition. Himalayan salt is no better or worse for preventing hyponatremia than other dietary sources of sodium.

Maintaining Healthy Nutrient Levels

Sodium plays an essential role in the small intestine’s ability to absorb chloride, amino acids, glucose, and water. Sodium also helps your stomach break down food, releasing nutrients for absorption.

Continued

Potential Risks of Himalayan Salt

Himalayan salt carries exactly the same risks as any other type of dietary sodium: overconsumption of sodium can lead to significant health problems, and it can also worsen certain health conditions.

Hypernatremia (Sodium Poisoning)

This condition is the opposite of hyponatremia and means that sodium levels in the blood are too high. Hypernatremia is a severe condition that carries serious health risks, one of the most significant being severe dehydration. When there’s a sodium build-up in the blood, the body tries to correct it by transferring water out of cells and into the bloodstream. This imbalance can cause many side effects, including life-threatening pressure in the brain.

Osteoporosis Complications

The more salt you consume, the more calcium your body flushes out via urination. As such, people with osteoporosis should stick to a low-sodium diet to prevent complications.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 08, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Harvard School of Public Health: Salt and Sodium

Medical News Today: Does Pink Himalayan Salt Have Any Health Benefits?

National Public Radio: Pakistan Wants You To Know Most Pink Himalayan Salt Doesn’t Come From India

Nutrients: A Systemic Review of Fatalities Related to Acute Ingestion of Salt

Oregon State University: Sodium (Chloride)

Poison Control: Sodium – Too Much of a Good Thing

sciencebasedmedicine.org: Pink Himalayan Sea Salt – An Update

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