Himalayan Pink Salt: Condiment or Supplement?

I was wondering about Himalayan crystal salt. I’ve heard some pretty amazing things about the health benefits. What I’m wondering is, should I actually be “taking” this salt in a medicinal way? Or should I just simply add it to my food as I used to with regular table salt? I also read that I should drink it in water in the morning? Are there really health benefits to doing something like that?

Many of the health claims made for products found in our health food stores need to be taken with a grain of salt (heh, get it?). Because we are all biochemically individual, how different products affect us is going to be unique. Whether or not taking Himalayan pink salt is going to have a noticeable effect on you is going to depend completely on your state of health and what is at the root cause of your symptoms.

For example, suppose a person suffers from chronic heartburn (or GERD). One of the possible root causes of heartburn is low stomach acid output due to a zinc deficiency, so a natural salt distributor may make a claim on their website that their salt, which contains zinc, can relieve chronic heartburn. Our theoretical person may start taking this salt and not notice any difference in his or her condition.

The problem is that this person hasn’t specifically addressed his or her own root cause. This person’s heartburn could be caused by a food allergy, a side effect of a medication or an overgrowth of the bacteria H. pylori, none of which would be addressed by the salt. For this reason, I always recommend people go to see a qualified practitioner who can assess specific needs before one takes foods or supplements based on certain claims.

Go on reading about the benefits of Himalayan pink salt:

This being said, Himalayan pink salt is definitely a healthy substitute for table salt. It contains all 84 trace minerals found in our bodies and that are often sorely lacking in our modern diets. It also doesn’t contain the anti-caking agents and additives regular table salt has. As one source puts it, “ferrocyanide, yellow prussiate of soda, tricalcium phosphate, alumine-calcium silicate, sodium aluminosilicate are all anti-caking agents whose role is to prevent the salt from mixing with water, in the box or within the human body. [This prevents] the salt from doing one of its important functions [for] the organism and denying you sufficient organic health to ward off illnesses.”

Natural, unrefined salts are a good source of these minerals, which need to be a regular part of your diet, but salt shouldn’t be taken as a supplement. If someone were seriously deficient in any of these trace elements, I would recommend they supplement with an organic form of the mineral rather than simply relying on getting it from unrefined salt. Although humans are capable of utilizing small amounts of the inorganic elements found in unrefined salt, it is not in reliable enough quantities to correct a deficiency.

And remember that we’re talking about trace minerals here. We’re not looking to get our DRI of calcium, magnesium or potassium from our salt shakers. We’re looking for the trace minerals that are needed only in minute quantities in the body for various cellular processes, like iodine, strontium, silicon or the 84 others needed for human health. Regular exposure to trace minerals, even inorganic ones from unrefined salt or mineral water, means some of them will be getting into our bodies. Since our soils, and therefore our vegetables, are increasingly deficient in these trace minerals, getting them from another source, like unrefined salt, becomes vitally necessary.

As for adding the salt to your water, I don’t think it’s necessary (unless, of course, you’re headed for a hangover). Stick to using unrefined salt on your food and in your cooking, but a squeeze of lemon in hot water first thing in the morning is a better bet as a healthy way to start the day.

The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale