by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© May 2018, L. D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Table Of Contents
Sodium is the solubility and volatility element. It is found mainly outside the cells or extracellularly. Although sodium does not participate in a single enzyme in the body, it is the body’s great solvent, meaning it dissolves many chemicals. It is also a major regulator of the fluid balance, pH and other fluid-related aspects of the body.
Table salt – a junk food. Common refined table salt is a poisonous junk food that should be avoided completely for the following reasons:
1. Most of the trace minerals have been removed.
2. Many brands of table salt have added aluminum as a flowing agent. Aluminum is a nerve poison.
Unrefined sea salt, usually does not raise blood pressure, and is very helpful to remineralize the body. Please avoid Himalayan Salt, which is not as healthful. For details, read Salt.
The main source of sodium in most people’s diets are:
1. Processed meats,
2. Some canned foods
3. Some cheeses
7. Pickled foods
8. Commercial rice or pasta mixes.
9. Condiments such as garlic salt and onion salt.
Food served in restaurants, fast foods and pre-packaged foods are usually very high in sodium.
Natural food tend to be much lower in sodium. Some is found in meats. All vegetables contain some high quality sodium compounds.
The great solvent. Sodium is a monovalent element, meaning it has one free electron. It dissolves many compounds made of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and other minerals.
The great alkalizer. Sodium is a very alkaline-forming element. It is used to help maintain an alkaline medium for nutrient exchange in the blood and the interstitial fluid.
Sodium and the adrenals. Sodium is regulated primarily by the adrenal glands. High sodium is associated with excessive adrenal activity. Low hair tissue sodium is associated with adrenal weakness, fatigue and burnout.
Sodium, the electrical conductor. Sodium is one of finest conductors of electricity. The body is an electrochemical factory. Sodium represents one pole of the human “battery”. Sodium is outside of the cells while the other pole of the battery is potassium inside the cells.
This can become complex. However, it can be summarized by stating that when the hair sodium/potassium ratio is normal or a little high, the electrical potential across the cell membranes are higher. When the ratio is low, an electrical discharge is occurring and the potential tends to be lower.
This is why the hair sodium/potassium ratio is called the vitality ratio and so many illnesses are associated with a low sodium/potassium ratio. It can also help one understand why inflammation and an acute stress response are associated with an elevated sodium/potassium ratio.
Sodium, the great regulator. Sodium also regulates the pH to some degree, blood and other fluid viscosity, CO2 transport, and the solubility of proteins and organic acids in the body. It influences stomach acid levels, blood pressure and even blood sugar through its effect on the adrenal glands.
Its effects on cell membranes include the regulation of membrane permeability to a degree, sodium pump action, neuromuscular irritability and the speed and quality of nerve impulse conduction. Sodium also indirectly regulates parts of the brain, including the pituitary gland. It also directly and indirectly regulates thyroid, pancreas and other glandular activity.
Sodium and sweating. The body conserves sodium superbly. For example, if one sweats regularly, as occurs with sauna therapy, the sodium content of the sweat begins to decrease as the body acclimates to sweating. This is a survival mechanism that works well for those, for example, who do physical work and sweat often.
Sodium and high blood pressure. One of the problems in some cases of high blood pressure is too much sodium in the blood. This causes excessive water retention and higher blood volume that, in turn, increases the blood pressure. However, there are many other causes of high blood pressure.
Toxic metals are usually involved that damage the kidneys and the arteries. Doctors don’t tell you this because they do not do a hair analysis that would detect the toxic metals. As these metals are removed with a nutritional balancing program, high blood pressure usually goes away.
Sodium and stomach acid. Sodium imbalance is related to stomach acid disturbances in some cases. Apparently, sodium chloride can be changed into hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Dr. Eck observed that when the sodium level is low in the hair tissue, hydrochloric acid is often low in the person’s stomach.
This helps explain widespread stomach acid deficiencies in the population, which can cause many digestive problems. True fast oxidizers may have an opposite situation, with high tissue sodium levels and too much stomach acid.
The chemical reaction involved in the conversion of sodium chloride to hydrochloric acid is as follows: NaCl + H20 = HCl + NaOH. This is a critical reaction in the human digestive tract that regulates the pH of the stomach and can activate or fail to activate the rest of the digestive tract as well.
GERD and too much stomach acid in slow oxidizers. Gastric reflux disease, or GERD, is often not a problem of too much sodium or too much stomach acid. The problem is the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm, termed a hiatal hernia. This can often be easily solved by reducing the hernia with one’s fingers. Chapter 26 gives the basic procedure to reduce a hiatal hernia. Eliminating wheat and other excessive carbohydrates from the diet, along with not straining at the stool, are also helpful for some people.
Sodium as an addictive mineral. Sodium can cause a type of ‘high’ or elevated mood. This is related to aldosterone secretion and adrenal glandular activity. This can cause cravings for salt in some people and is one reason that salty food is served in restaurants and elsewhere.
We use 25 mg% or 250 parts per million as the ideal sodium level (May 2018). This is the ideal value Dr. Eck used. We do not like to use a range, but rather the ideal value.
Hair must not be washed at the laboratory for accurate sodium readings. If the hair is washed at the laboratory, the hair sodium readings will be much lower because a variable amount of sodium will be washed out of the hair. This is extremely important to know.
Unfortunately, the loss of sodium due to hair washing at the laboratory is erratic and unpredictable. Thus, the hair sodium readings from most laboratories is unreliable because most mineral testing labs wash the hair.
Higher in babies. The sodium level tends to be higher in babies and small children because they tend to have a faster oxidation rate.
Higher in men. Women tend to have slightly lower sodium levels than men. This is due to less active adrenal glands and more sluggish thyroid activity in women. These give rise to a slower oxidation rate in women.
Great variation. The sodium level can vary from 1 mg% to over 1200 mg% in the hair.
The adrenals and kidneys regulate the hair sodium level. The adrenal hormone aldosterone regulates the tissue sodium level in large part, along with the rennin-angiotensin mechanism of the kidneys. Other factors such as the kidney energy in Chinese terminology also regulates the sodium level, perhaps through the adrenal glands in some way.
Low hair sodium. A low hair sodium level is associated with weak adrenal activity, slow oxidation and an exhaustion stage of stress. It indicates sodium loss through the kidneys and is usually affected little or not at all by eating salt, for example. Eating sea salt, however, will often make these individuals feel somewhat better as it replaces some of the sodium lost in the urine.
Elevated hair sodium. An elevated hair sodium level is a feature of fast oxidation and an alarm stage of stress. The causes include:
1. Greater aldosterone secretion by the adrenal glands. This may be due to acute stress or to emotions such as anger or fright.
2. Cadmium and other toxic metals in the kidneys. Cadmium toxicity usually also causes a slow oxidation rate because cadmium is very toxic.
3. Boron and perhaps gallium toxicity will raise sodium very high. Often, the oxidation rate is fast or close to fast because boron, in particular, is not too toxic.
4. A kidney infection can raise the hair tissue sodium level.
Sodium is involved with every other mineral in the body. It can be both synergistic and antagonistic with most of them at one time or another.
Zinc tends to lower sodium, while copper tends to raise sodium in relationship to potassium.
Potassium always moves higher and lower with sodium in healthy people. However, sodium and potassium also antagonize each other electrically, for example, as explained above.
Calcium and magnesium are synergists in many biochemical reactions involving energy production and other body functions. However, in terms of the oxidation rate, they are sodium antagonists. They are divalent elements while sodium is a monovalent element. When they decrease, sodium tends to increase in the hair tissue, and vice versa.
Phosphorus and other trace elements are also closely related to sodium in many ways. They are synergists at some times and antagonists at others. Phosphorus is a synergist in pH regulation, for example.
Bicarbonate is also a synergist in carbon dioxide transport in the body because it forms NaHCO3 (sodium bicarbonate) if adequate sodium is available. When sodium is low, carbon dioxide can build up in the tissues to a degree. This occurs in most slow oxidizers. One of Dr. George Watson’s original ways to test the oxidation rate involved measuring the serum CO2 level.
The toxic metals are the only minerals that are almost exclusively sodium antagonists. Toxic metals have no place in the body, whereas sodium is one of its most essential minerals.
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