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Salt’s Place in a Healthy Diet

With Darryl Bosshardt of Redmond Real Salt

Season 11, Episode 11  | June 8, 2021

Salt is one of those nutrition topics that causes a lot of confusion: Is it good for us — or not? Darryl Bosshardt of Redmond Real Salt joins us to cut through the misconceptions, explaining the essential role of salt in our health, and how the good/bad conversation really boils down to what form of salt you’re eating and the foods it’s attached to.

Darryl Bosshardt

Darryl Bosshardt grew up working for his family’s mineral business, Redmond Real Salt, in Redmond, Utah, a company he still works for today. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree at Southern Utah University and MBA at Western Governor’s University. He is passionate about healthy living, healthy eating, and lifelong learning.

“Salt, since the dawn of time, has been essential for human health,” says Bosshardt. “Our bodies need and require salt. The key is the form of the salt and the foods that are attached to the salt.”

The problem with salt arises, Bosshardt explains, when you’re getting processed salt from processed foods. If you eat minimally processed, wholesome foods, you may actually need to add real salt to your food to look, feel, and perform your best. When searching for quality salt sources, he advises asking these three questions as you evaluate your options:

1. Who is producing it? Look at the label, but in some instances this can be difficult to find for salt because there are so many manufacturers. However, it’s good to know when you can as it makes it easier to ask the second question . . .

2. What’s the source? Seek options that come from a current ocean, dead sea, or ancient sea bed.

3. What has been done to it? Check to ensure minerals aren’t being extracted, and that you don’t see anti-caking agents — yellow prussiate of soda, sodium ferrocyanide, or calcium silicoaluminate — on the ingredients list.

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Transcript: Salt’s Place in a Healthy Diet

Season 11, Episode 11  | June 8, 2021

Jamie Martin

Welcome to Life Time Talks, the healthy-living podcast that’s aimed at helping you achieve your health, fitness, and life goals. I’m Jamie Martin, editor-in-chief of Experience Life, Life Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.

David Freeman

And I’m David Freeman, the national digital performer brand leader for Life Time. We’re all in different places when it comes to our health and fitness, but no matter what we are working toward, there are some essential things we can do to keep moving in the direction of a healthy, purpose-driven life.

Jamie Martin

In each episode, we break down the various elements of healthy living, including fitness and nutrition, mindset and community, health issues, and more. We’ll also share real inspiring stories of transformation.

David Freeman

And we’ll also be talking to experts from Life Time and beyond, who’ll share their insights and knowledge, so you’ll have the tools and information you need to take charge of your next steps. Here we go.

[MUSIC]

Jamie Martin

Hey, everyone. I’m Jamie Martin.

David Freeman

And I’m David Freeman.

Jamie Martin

And we’re back with Life Time Talks, and this episode, David and I are stepping aside once again and handing the reigns over to Paul Kriegler. You might remember him from the episode on wine that we did last season. Paul is a registered dietician and the director of nutrition product development at Life Time, and he is here with a really great guest today. He is going to be delving into the topic of salt’s role in our health, with salt expert Darryl Bosshardt. Paul, thanks so much for taking the lead this week.

Paul Kriegler

Yeah. Thanks for the opportunity.

David Freeman

So, Paul, tell us a little bit about the guest you interviewed, the expertise that he has as far as on salt and the ingredient that is so much debated when it comes to health and wellness.

Paul Kriegler

Yeah. He’s, I guess you could say, probably born into being a salt expert. His family owns a salt mine in Utah, but just because that’s his family business doesn’t mean that he isn’t an expert in all aspects of salt and its impacts on health, and fitness and wellness. So, it was a very interesting, or it is a very interesting conversation.

Jamie Martin

Cool. What were some of your highlights from it? I’m curious, what were your takeaways, because as you know, as an expert in nutrition, salt is highly debated. You know, it’s one of those things. It’s good for us. It’s bad for us. Were there any like, key points that you want to point out for our listeners before we dive into the episode?

Paul Kriegler

Yeah. Some of the things that stuck out to me as lightbulb moments were, you know, how important salt is in all aspects of life. It’s so important that it’s the first thing you’re given when you’re admitted to a hospital. You know, you get a saline bag hung next to your bedside and into your IV. So, just having that fact sink in, once again, that without salt there really is no life, and how much salt is in those saline bags, which it blew my mind.

It’s almost twice as much as our daily recommended amount in each liter of IV fluid. So, you know, when people feel so much better getting a bag of IV fluid, it’s probably, in large part, due to the salt that they’re getting, that their body needs and is desperately trying to manage to the optimal level.

David Freeman

And Paul, just with your background, being a registered dietician and being in this area as far as when it comes to nutrition so much out of your lifetime, what else? I mean, you just kind of hit the nail on the head right there but what else kind of stood out to you as far as kind of a wow factor from this conversation?

Paul Kriegler

Another big thing is, you know, we’re always told that we’re getting too much salt. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me as a clinician, and as somebody just generally interested in science, that we’re getting too much of the wrong kinds of salt. We’re getting highly processed, de-mineralized, you know, salt products attached to edible food products or edible products that are masquerading as food, right, but when someone is trying to eat well and eat wholesome, unprocessed food, they probably need to be consciously adding wholesome, unprocessed salt to that food in order to feel their best.

Jamie Martin

That’s interesting because we’ve covered salt a few different times in the magazine and Experience Life and that’s always been the aha factor for me is going like, oh, there are so many different types of salt and the quality of salt, and if we can get rid of some of the processed, like you said, de-mineralized stuff and replace it, like, it’s not just that its better for us but it also tastes better in the flavor it adds to our food and all these things. So, I know you’re going to get into all this in the episode. We don’t want to keep our listeners waiting. Paul, anything else you want to add before we like, let you get into your conversation with Darryl?

Paul Kriegler

Yeah. Salt is way more than just sodium. So, if you tend to think like most people and you hear the word salt and you think sodium, your mind is going to be blown by this episode.

David Freeman

There you have it, you all. Let’s not make you all wait any longer. I’m guaranteeing that this episode will leave you anything but salty.

Paul Kriegler

That’s good, David.

Jamie Martin

Here we go.

[MUSIC]

Paul Kriegler

Darryl, welcome.

Darryl Bosshardt

Paul, thank you so much for having me on the show. As you’ll find out, I love talking about salt. I know there’s a lot of people today that listen to this that might be a little skeptical and you’ve got somebody that was raised in a salt mine talking about the importance of salt, and of course, I’m going to be a little biased, but hopefully, I’ll be able to share some American Journal of Medicine articles, some doctor quotes and help your listeners see, there is an additional side of the story to solve that sometimes is overlooked. So, we’ll try to focus a little bit on that today and have some fun in the process.

Paul Kriegler

Yeah. And that’s what really intrigues me about this topic, as a dietitian myself, and you know, having been trained in the benefits or therapeutic effects of salt restriction in certain people, and then, certainly seeing it out in the larger consumer base, it’s a super common belief that everyone needs to eat less salt or sodium at least, and those aren’t the same thing, necessarily, but how did we get to this point where it’s so ingrained in our knowledge base that salt can’t possibly be good for us?

Darryl Bosshardt

I love that question and it goes back long before you and me, and if we look at the importance of salt in civilization, salt, since the dawn of time, has been essential for animal health and human health. I mean, every civilization started around access to the salt deposits. It was a source of trade. The Roman soldiers were often paid in salt. The term salary is salt based and the phrase, is a man worth his salt was because salt was so important and you were getting paid in salt, and if you weren’t working hard enough, you weren’t worth your salt.

So, salt has always been essential for life and yet, as you point out, today, most people have heard that salt’s bad for them. But when we go to the hospital for anything, the first thing the doctor is going to do is going to give you an IV of saline solution, which is salt water, because our bodies are saline based. Our tears are salt. Our urine is salt. Our sweat is salt. Don’t taste it. Just trust me on that one, but our bodies need and require salt.

And it wasn’t until a study that came out years ago, and this study was called “The Evidence for Relationship Between Sodium Intake and Human Essential Hypertension” and the researchers took some, I don’t remember if it was mice or rats, but they fed them copious amounts of salt and they noticed that when you feed these mice or rats insane amounts of salt, there were some poor health outcomes, which makes sense because salt, as is water, you can get too much of anything that’s absolutely necessary for life.

So, because of this study, it was pushed forward that salt is the problem, and yet, salt, has always been such an essential part of our civilization. And even if you have high blood pressure, water retention, all of these things that are associated with salt, you still get an IV of saline solution, which is salt water, in the hospital. In fact, an IV of distilled water would kill you. An IV of coffee, as much as it might sound good, you know, right before a workout or in the morning, that’s going to be equally problematic. We have to have an IV of saline solution, which is point nine percent sodium chloride, then, other minerals as well.

Paul Kriegler

Help me understand that. The amount of salt we eat today, even though it’s claimed that Americans eat too much sodium or salt, the term’s kind of used interchangeably, is typically understood to be around three and a half grams, and the claim is, that’s too much. How does that relate to the amount that we’ve historically consumed throughout history? Do you know much about that?

Darryl Bosshardt

Not the specific numbers, but in the right form, it’s very difficult for the body to overdose on salt. And to illustrate that, if you look at a bag of saline solution, this is a one liter, it’s usually a hundred milliliter bag of saline solution, that hundred milliliter bag of saline is actually going to have 34 hundred milligrams of sodium, which is actually a thousand more than what the daily recommended allowance is, but you can get bags of saline flushed through your body and you’d have no problem. In fact, as long as you have a catheter, if the salts in the right form and with water, your body can flush . . . our bodies are designed . . .

In fact, a healthy kidney can process up to four ounces of salt a day, massive amounts, and depending on each of our body’s needs, we’re going to need more or less salt. You know, there’s people who have something called POTS, it’s a syndrome, and those individuals have super low blood pressure, and they have way higher sodium requirements than somebody in a more sedentary lifestyle.

An athlete, somebody who’s going to the gym, or a firefighter who is sweating all day long, has a much higher need for salt, but the point is, even the American Journal of Medicine now says, there’s articles that show that those that are consuming less than the 23 hundred milligrams, which is the recommended daily allowance, actually have poorer outcomes than those consuming much higher amounts than that 23 hundred milligrams.

But the key is the form of the salt and the foods that are attached to the salt. I mean, oftentimes, we might think we’re craving potato chips or French fries but what the body is really craving is salt, not that highly processed food that’s got refined salt on it. So, it’s a real difference. As somebody starts to lead a more natural lifestyle and they’re not eating all these preserved foods, then they actually really need to go out of their way to add more healthy salt to their diet.

Now, somebody who’s eating out of a lot of cans and a lot of processed foods, yeah, they’re probably getting enough salt, but that salt is probably in a processed form and it’s on foods that are nutrient poor, as you know as a nutritionist. So, it’s not just as simple as saying all salt is bad or all salt’s good. It’s similar to fat. We know a lot more on fats than we did years ago as well, when everybody thought fat was bad.

Paul Kriegler

That’s fascinating. A couple things stood out to me there. You said a healthy kidney can process about four ounces of salt per day and I just want to clarify that with you. That’s 112 grams of sodium per day and the typical recommendations are kind of all over the board. I did some digging here. The USDA daily value for sodium, they encourage people to eat less than 23 hundred milligrams or two point three grams of salt per day, of sodium. The American Heart Association encourages an ideal limit of 15 hundred milligrams per day.

The World Health Organization sets their limit at two grams of sodium per day, so kind of right in between those two, or no more than five grams of table salt. The United Kingdom recommendations are 24 hundred milligrams. So, they’re kind of all well beneath the limit that you just described, way beneath it, and it’s interesting to me that somehow, we still, as a population, can consider salt as always being a concern, under all circumstances.

Darryl Bosshardt

And now, as you start looking at, you know, PubMed, and looking at some of these articles, you’ll start to see a lot of doctors and a lot of practitioners saying, we need to rethink that number because they’re seeing, with low salt diets, insulin resistance increases and a lot of other problematic things happen, including digestion, because the chlorides then drop, and our bodies need hydrogen and chloride to make hydrochloric acid. So, salt has been one of those stun ingredients that people have understood and misunderstood for a long time.

What’s interesting is if we look at early man, if we went back before the refrigerator, most people would have eaten, actually, more salt, because all food out of season would have had to been preserved with salt. So, meats, kimchee, sauerkraut, pickling, salt has been such an important part of natural food preservation but today, because processed salt is a cheap preservative and food is, unfortunately, very nutrient poor, you can take poor salt and put it on poor food, and you’ve got a terrible combination. When it’s not the salt that’s the problem. It’s the poor food and the poor diet that the salt is on, and then, not having enough water to balance it out.

Again, in the hospital, you can get bags of saline solution, which is way more than the 23 hundred milligrams, but its got the water with it, and then, if it’s a bag of lactated ringers, which is a very common in surgeries, that bag of lactated ringer’s has a sodium chloride, which is the base and it also has trace amounts of potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride because it’s the balance of electrolytes, not the focus on any single electrolyte, that results in a better health outcome.

Paul Kriegler

Take us a little deeper there. When we hear the term salt, we think of sodium. They’re kind of glued together in the American psyche, but salt is way more than just sodium.

Darryl Bosshardt

So, if you look, in chemistry, salt is an acid and a base that’s bound together in an ionic bond. So, you have different types of salt. You’ve got like, magnesium sulfate, magnesium and sulfur that are bound together. You have potassium chloride, which is potassium and chloride that are bound together. When you talk about salt in relation to food and nutrition, typically, we’re talking about, primarily, sodium chloride because those are the ones that are based on. In fact, an IV of potassium chloride would be deadly. It’s actually the final injection in a series of lethal injections, is an injection of potassium chloride.

But if we look at the extracellular fluids and the intracellular fluids, you’ll notice that those fluids and the importance of the sodium potassium pump. So, the cells will use potassium and sodium to help clean the cells, flush the cells. And I know this is just an audio recording but if we looked at say, the intracellular fluid and you looked at milliliter equivalence per liter of different nutrition, so sodium is 140 in that extracellular fluid. Potassium is four. Calcium is five. Magnesium is one point five and chloride is 100. So, it kind of gives you a feel, you know, starting with 140 being sodium dropping down to four being potassium, five being calcium. So, these other electrolytes are absolutely essential, and in nature, sodium occurs as a complex chloride.

The ocean isn’t a pure refined sodium and chloride floating in distilled water. The ocean waters have many minerals. Trace amounts of iodine, which is why kelp and dulse, and other seaweeds and fish have rich iodine because it’s in the ocean. There’s also magnesium, and calcium and potassium in the oceans. It’s primarily sodium and chloride based but these other chlorides are essential, as you can see when you start looking at the intracellular and extracellular fluids. You know, the oceans have gotten more salty over the years, but if you went back to the dawn of time, our scientists say that the primordial seas were the same ratio of minerals and salt as our bodies are today.

The oceans have gotten more salty, which is why the oceans today will sting your eyes, because its about three percent salt and our bodies are point nine. But our bodies are saline solution and complex minerals, and outside of a spiritual discussion, the only difference in you and I visiting one moment and both being dead the next is the absence of an electric current because our hand moves with a shot of electricity. Our minds function and our heart functions on electricity. If that electricity stops, we die.

So, these electrolytes, primarily sodium and chloride, but equally, we have to have potassium, magnesium and calcium chloride. They keep the body electrically charged and give the body the ability to conduct electricity. So, when we focus on just potassium, or just magnesium, or just sodium, the body starts to fall out of balance, much like vitamin c, right. Vitamin c is a complex. Ascorbic acid is part of that, and you can take ascorbic acid tablets but its not the same as the whole vitamin c complex like you’d get out of a citrus fruit.

Paul Kriegler

That’s a great explanation of how important it is to consider all the different mineral electrolytes because they’re all minerals and they’re all salt complexes that interact with one another. The fact that you pointed out, our bodies are operating on electric currents and without proper electrolyte balance, those currents don’t run properly. So, can you just run us down a list of some of the more common drawbacks of not getting enough salt, or mineral salts, and conversely, what are the benefits of getting enough?

Darryl Bosshardt

The real benefit of getting enough is you stay alive, because if you drink lots of distilled water or even lots of tap water, your urine is still salt. Your sweat is still salt. Your tears are still salt and we’re just flushing salts continually. And if you don’t replace those salts, what happens is, you die of hyponatremia, which is low sodium, and you can have equal problems with low potassium, low magnesium, low calcium, but sodium is the main one because we are sodium chloride based.

So, when the sodium levels start to drop, the first thing people notice is they start getting angry. They start getting short with people. They get obnoxious. Then you get a headache. Then you’ll start getting muscle cramps, digestion starts to go and that’s just a cascade that starts to happen. And what I tell people, oftentimes, you know, we humans…and people look at animals in nature, they’re smart. And if a zebra, or an elephant, or a giraffe or whatever is low on a mineral, they’re going to seek that out and you watch them and they’ll eat certain plants and they’ll eat certain soils, which is what early man did is, they watched the animals to find the salt deposits and to find the mineral deposits.

And so, our bodies are trained. When we get thirsty, we know we need water, and oftentimes, with food, we might be craving what we think is French fries but what we’re really craving is maybe some good, clean fat. We might think we’re craving potato chips but what we’re really craving is salt. And as we get better about listening to our bodies . . . when you’re at the gym and you’re thinking maybe, man, I need some sugar or man, I just need a potato chip, put a little piece of salt under your tongue and most the time it’s going to taste almost sweet like candy because our bodies will be really low in salt.

And just like with water, by the time you drink that third or fourth glass of water, you’re not thirsty anymore and it gets a lot less satisfying than glass number one. And with a clean, natural salt crystal, it’s the same way. That first clean, natural salt crystal under your tongue is going to taste really amazing because our bodies are often low on salt and as that level comes up, it’s not going to taste as good. So, then, you’ll move on and enjoy something else.

Paul Kriegler

That’s so wild, and it matches some of my experience as a clinician. You know, helping people upgrade the quality of their diet, so getting them further away from processed foods that have a ton of highly processed salt included in them, some of the most common things I hear are that they start to get really lethargic. Their cravings change.

You know, they might switch over to having intense sweet cravings if they’re cleaning out sugar from their diet, for example, and we can confirm some of those patterns in bloodwork. You know, when somebody reduces their reliance on processed and packaged foods, especially with added sugars in them, and processed sodium, and processed preservatives, we can almost always predict seeing their sodium level in their blood drop below 140, what that normal level is.

That’s what I’ve started to connect over time. If I see somebody with a sodium level of 135, I know before I even speak to that person that they’re going to be tired, probably irritable and complaining about not feeling as awesome as they want to feel, and if we dial up their sodium intake from higher quality salt, because they’re now eating higher quality foods that aren’t as heavily preserved with artificial preservatives, it’s almost like the lights come back on. So, have you had some of those similar experiences when you turn people on to the benefits of real, unprocessed sea salt?

Darryl Bosshardt

Absolutely because the symptoms that you mentioned, so many of us have those, right, as we go through life, and it can be even a healthy person. Like, I went for a mountain bike ride today. It was a couple thousand feet, about 12 miles and so, as I’m sitting here, I am probably pretty dehydrated, even though I took water with me, and it’s going to take my body time to recover. And oftentimes, we get so busy that we just forget to drink, and then, when we do, we forget to add the minerals to offset that and so, as people are more intentional about adding electrolytes back to their diets, and just listening and feeling to how their body feels, to me, that’s a lot better indication than picking a number and I think it’s more sustainable.

Because oftentimes, my experience is, people that get really focused on the numbers, they get burned out easier and if they listen to their cravings, it’s much easier because you might be out, you might be at a restaurant. You’re out, working out. You’re at the office and trying to track every single nutrient becomes difficult for a lot of people but listening to your body say, hey, I’m thirsty is much easier, I think, to sustain long term.

Paul Kriegler

Thirst is one thing, hydration is another, in my experience. So, of course, we encourage people to drink plenty of water and our standard recommendation, which is pretty much born out through all the various health authorities out there, is aim for about a half of an ounce of water, or hydration, per pound of body weight per day. So, if I’m 160 pounds, I should probably drink at least 80 ounces of water or aim to get 80 ounces worth of hydration a day, but when I switch people on to more water and fewer other beverages, it’s almost always I get the complaint that they’re peeing all the time. They’re going to the bathroom every 20, 30 minutes and it’s almost like they’re not being hydrated even though they’re drinking more water. What do you have to say about that?

Darryl Bosshardt

Salt’s job has always been to help regulate the intracellular and extracellular fluids, and even if you were in a coma, and you’re in the hospital, and you’re not drinking water, you’re not going to be getting an IV of water because that would be deadly. Your IV, when you’re unconscious and you’re not getting any fluids, or even if you’re super dehydrated and you go to the hospital, they’re not going to give you water because that would be disastrous. They’re going to give you an IV of at least point nine percent salt because that, again, that’s what our bodies have to have to function.

So, because salt is hygroscopic, salt, in nature, will suck water out of the air. It’s called hygroscopic and it does that because salt’s job in the body is to help regulate fluids. Well, there’s a couple of things that salt companies today do to salt that impact the salt’s ability to do its job. So, the two ways salt’s processed today is, the first is, salt manufacturers can take out, through a series of evaporation pumps, a couple of the other complex chlorides.

So, you can have this salt crystal coming out of the San Francisco Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, Sea of Japan, whatever, you can move it into a pond, pull out the potassium chloride. Sell that off. Next pond, magnesium chloride. Sell that off. Next pond, and then, what you’re left with is this sodium chloride with some other minerals in there, but those other complex chlorides are removed.

We just covered those complex chlorides, even though they’re trace amounts, they’re still really important. Both intracellularly and extracellularly. The other challenge with salt, which I think’s probably a bigger impact for most people, is salt companies, years ago, noticed that salt would clump in the shaker, and it clumps in the shaker because it sucks water out of the air. And some people put rice in their salt crystals to help displace that, but the manufacturer said we want to add a chemical to the salt to stop the salt’s ability to react with moisture. Now, that sounds silly from a nutritionist’s side because that’s salt’s job.

From a manufacturer’s side, it seemed like it’s customer convenience. So, these manufacturers found a list of chemicals that they could take a salt crystal, they could coat the salt crystal with this chemical, and it would stop the salt from interacting with the moisture in the air, which then keeps the salt from clumping in your shaker. And it sounded great at the time, I’m sure. They’re probably giving each other high fives in the conference room.

What they didn’t stop to think about is, we can but should we, and when you take a salt crystal and you pull out some of those complex chlorides, and then you coat it with a chemical that stops the salt’s ability to interact with moisture, and then we take that salt and we wonder why the salt is interacting with moisture weird in the body, on crappy food, and it’s a terrible combination.

Paul Kriegler

That’s a good point you make. Highly altering salt and then putting it on highly altered food is probably the worst combination we can do and it’s just so common it’s ubiquitous in the grocery stores here. You know, our grocery stores today have roughly 40 thousand food items in them and there’s probably a few dozen that are easily recognizable, as if you could them in nature, which is sad to think about, but even in the salt aisle, you’re going to see probably a dozen different preparations from iodized, bleached, deodorized, highly refined salt, to kosher salt, to different smoked salts. So, can you walk us through what the different types of salt are and what people should look for or maybe look to avoid?

Darryl Bosshardt

Yeah. Great question. So, I think I’ll start with my three favorite questions, and I think these, when you’re in the grocery store, whether you’re buying, you know, vegetables or great protein, or a great salt, or even going and buying a mountain bike, I think these three questions are helpful. So, the first is who is producing it? In salt, that’s increasingly difficult because there are so many manufacturers in a big area and they might just dump all of the salt, co-mingle it, and then sell it to a co-packer, and knowing who’s producing it is challenging. But I think it’s a good question though, when we can know it, because if we know that then we can ask the second question, which is what’s the source? Where is it coming from?

In salt, that can be from a current ocean. San Francisco Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Brittany France, Mediterranean. It can come from a dead sea like the Dead Sea in Israel, or the dead sea called the Great Salt Lake here in Utah, or it can come from an ancient ocean. A seabed that was laid down eons ago. These ancient seabeds, there’s one in Pakistan called the Himalayan Pink Salt Deposit. There’s one in Bolivia called the Bolivian Pink Salt. There’s one in Utah called the Redmond Real Salt. So, these ancient seabeds or dead seas, or current oceans, those are all different sources. So, it’s nice to know where that’s coming from.

You know, if we have another Exxon Valdese or a BP oil spill, you probably don’t want to get your salt from the Gulf of Mexico while that’s actively being a problem. Then, the final question is what are they doing to it? As we talked about it earlier, are they taking anything out such as minerals? If it’s an orange, are they pulling out vitamin c or whatever? And what are they putting back in? You know, today, it’s interesting, I don’t think you can make a better tomato, and maybe someday, we will, but the idea of taking a tomato apart and then trying to put it back together better than nature created it, I think, is a little silly. And in fact, it tastes a whole lot better.

You know, if you go out in your backyard and eat a garden tomato with a little bit of fresh basil or some natural salt crystals on that tomato and you get that tomato from the grocery store, they might both be red, but the nutrition and the flavor are going to be quite different.

So, I think those are the ways to really find a good, clean salt. Hopefully, you find Redmond. Obviously, I’m biased, but there’s other great salts out there. One of the things to look at is the label. If you switch that label over like you would on many food products, on salt, if there’s an ingredient list, these anti-caking agents are things like yellow prussiate of soda, sodium ferrocyanide, calcium silicoaluminate, those are things that you probably don’t want to sprinkle on your breakfast.

So, that’s my suggestion is, in the salt aisle, there’s all kinds of ways you can take good, naturally harvested salt and then add spices and other . . . you know, you can smoke it and you can put all kinds of fun stuff with it. You can do that right or you can do that wrong, and if you ask those three questions, I’ll think you’ll get a good, clean salt, whether it’s Redmond or some other great brand.

Paul Kriegler

So, what about iodized salt because, I mean, that was created to address some pretty serious thyroid conditions, you know, several decades ago, but what should people know about iodized salt?

Darryl Bosshardt

No discussion on salt would be complete without a discussion on iodine and that all stems back to World War I. In World War I, in the Midwest . . . well, the draft was started in World War I and as the U.S. military was drafting people across the country, they noticed that those in the Midwest had a big goiter problem. Goiter being a swelling of the thyroid due to lack of iodine, and they said we have to address this, or we can’t draft the men with a big goiter, and they said, we have got to solve this problem.

Now, interestingly enough, it wasn’t U.S. wide. It was mostly the Midwest, and you think about the Midwest at the time, a lot of processed sugar, processed flour, out of a can, no access to fresh dulce, and seaweed, and kelp and fresh fish. And so, it was the Midwest that particularly had this challenge. Not as much the coastal areas.

So, the government, with some scientists, said, how do we solve this problem of getting people to eat more iodine? I hope somebody raised their hand and said let’s have a campaign on the importance of eating foods rich in iodine. I’m not sure if that happened or not but what they came up with is, let’s find an item that absolutely is necessary for life and force the manufacturers to add iodine to that food item because then it forces the population to eat it. Much like fluoride in some municipalities. If you want to force fluoride on people, put it in the water supply and they have to get it.

With salt, you have to have salt to live, and so, the government said if you’re a salt manufacturer, if you do not add iodine to your salt, you must put a warning that says this salt does not supply iodide, a necessary nutrient. That’s why you see that on some labels in the grocery store. Interestingly enough, natural salts do have natural iodine in it, but it’s not added iodine, so even if it’s there it must be disclosed with this statement that says it doesn’t contain it because you didn’t add it.

Now, there’s a great book on iodine. Iodine is essential. Men, and especially women, need iodine today, and most people, because they’re not living by the ocean and eating seaweed, and fish and these other foods rich in iodine, they’re iodine deficient. So, many people should be seeking out a good iodine supplement, but salt is not one of those. In fact, the iodine that’s added to iodized salt, they’ve found in further research, is less than 10 percent bio-available. Now, 10 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing. So, it did work, and it really helped.

And if the only, absolute source of iodine you can get is iodized salt, that’s better than nothing because iodine deficiency is disastrous. Tumor growth. Reproductive health issues. I mean, the list goes on and on. Goiter being one of the minor problems, even though it’s a major visible manifestation of iodine deficiency, there’s a lot worse problems, but salt is a poor source for iodine. Much better to go get that from another great food source or a good supplement source, and then, get your salt and your other minerals from salt, but don’t use it as a source of fat. Don’t use it as a source of iodine. That’s kind of the Reader’s Digest version of iodine and salt.

Paul Kriegler

That’s really interesting. So, if I’m hearing you correctly, sea salt has iodine in it, but it may be not enough to address the problem that they were trying to address with artificially iodized salt.

Darryl Bosshardt

Correct. Yeah. A lot of the natural salts I’ve seen anywhere from, you know, 10 to 15 micrograms. Again, 150 micrograms is the recommended daily allowance. So, it’s about 10 percent of what you might need for the day, and it makes sense because the reason that kelp and that dulce, which are seaweeds, the reason those are rich in iodine is because they’re in the ocean and they just happen to draw and hold that better than some other plants. So, the oceans are a good source of iodine and so, there is natural iodine in natural salt, but it should not be your go to, though there’s other, better food items that hold that iodine and make it more bio-available than salt.

Paul Kriegler

Interesting. So, I’ve always salted my food pretty liberally, and somehow, I just never feel like I get enough until I just really started supplementing with electrolytes. And I’ve used dozens of different brands of electrolytes. You know, some of them provide around 150 milligrams of sodium per serving and various amounts of magnesium, and chloride, and calcium and potassium, and I stumbled across your new product, Re Lyte, and it blows all the other ones out of the water in terms of the potency of it, and the base of it is your Redmond Real Salt. So, it’s the salt from your ancient seabed mine. What’s unique about Redmond Real Salt and Re-Lyte, in particular?

Darryl Bosshardt

I think the real thing that makes it unique is it’s this complex chloride that was laid down in the Jurassic era, long before all the stuff we’ve done to our oceans today. And one of our founding principles is, we believe nature has it right. So, as much as possible, we try to leave products the way nature created them. And so, that’s what we’ve done with the salt. We’ve just left it like nature created it and that’s what it is. And years ago, you know, I’ve got kids of my own and I didn’t want to feed them the sports drinks that are out there. They’re full of sugar. They’re full of artificial colors, and flavors and preservatives, and I thought there’s got to be a better way.

And so, I looked at some of the research by Dr. David Brownstein, who’s written heavily on the importance of salt. There’s a Dr. Batmanghelidj who talked about the importance of salt. Again, looking at a bag of saline in the hospital. You know, they charge you hundreds of dollars for a bag, for one liter, but yet I started looking at salt and thought hey, I can make this a lot less expensive than the Powerade’s, all of those fruity, color-y sports drinks by taking a quart of good, clean water, adding a quarter teaspoon of Redmond Real Salt, which is that mineral rich, complex chloride, adding a squeeze of lemon, a little bit of honey and I’ve got an amazing sports drink, pennies on the dollar, without all the junk.

And so, a lot of us here at Redmond, we’ve been doing that for years when we go biking, when we go running. When we go to the soccer games with our kids, it was just kind of our go-to formula to make our own. The problem is, you know, our busy society today, that’s not always easy or convenient. So, what we did is we said, let’s look at making a stick pack to make it easier for families to take on the go. Easy to put in your running bag. Easy to put in your mountain bike kit. And so, what we did is we created an electrolyte blend.

The base is the Redmond Real Salt, which is a complex chloride. 98 percent sodium chloride. There’s two percent made of these other elements and minerals. Then we add a little bit of other electrolytes to that. You know, if we went back 100 years ago, people ate a lot more potassium rich foods in legumes and in green vegetables. So, people aren’t getting the potassium they used to. So, we added a little potassium. We added a little magnesium.

So, we’ve taken the real salt base and added a couple other key electrolytes, added a little bit of Stevia to make it a little bit sweeter as you’re out running and doing whatever. And so, we feel it’s one of the cleanest, best blends of electrolytes on the market, and we’ve tried to keep it as clean as possible, and that’s kind of how it got started. What’s been your experience with it, Paul?

Paul Kriegler

Right from the beginning, I’ve liked it. I’ve toyed with all kinds of formulas, and I used to be a super concentrator, so most of the powdered electrolytes on the market, I would have to put, you know, multiple servings in each bottle. So, I’m over-concentrating the kind of run of the mill products and this one, right out of the package, is almost perfect for what I need it for, whether it’s daily hydration, or you know, staying hydrated during high intensity activity, because I’m an endurance athlete. I don’t train incredibly long hours right now, but I still enjoy it. I feel like I’m better hydrated even though I might be drinking less water because of it, and I would take better hydration than over watering myself any day of the week because, like you said, it’s all about balance.

I just want to bring this up, you mentioned the importance of potassium, and that’s what I’m starting to see in research, on the clinical side, is it’s not about how much sodium someone consumes. It’s about how much sodium they consume in relation to how much potassium they get and in relation to how much sugar and refined carbohydrates they take on. So, we know that not everyone is salt sensitive, and we’ve known this for quite a while, in the clinical realm, is only about half the population will see their blood pressure move either up or down if they titrate their sodium intake up or down.

We also know that half the population has some degree of carbohydrate intolerance or insulin resistance, and it just so happens it’s the same half of the population that has the carbohydrate issue tends to have the salt issue with relation to blood pressure. But all of it can be fixed if you right size their potassium intake without even moving their carbohydrate or sodium intake levels. So, I’m super thrilled that I found this Re-Lyte and that it has such a high dose of potassium compared to other products on the market.

Darryl Bosshardt

What I think is really fascinating, you know, before we kind of talked about ratios of lactated ringers, and normal saline, and intracellular and extracellular fluids, and I’ve actually got a chart that I’ve kind of put together those electrolyte blends or balances and then compared that to the electrolytes in Re-Lyte and some other popular like that replacers. Because those other electrolyte replacers, people hear that those are bad, and a lot of those, if you look at their ratios, they have almost zero or very little sodium.

Now, they do have good amounts of these other electrolytes, but if you take away the sodium and just focus on potassium, magnesium and calcium that’s equally problematic because our bodies are sodium chloride based with these other important electrolytes. We are not potassium chloride based with a little bit of sodium chloride, and so, it’s really important that we go out of our way to seek good sources of the potassium, and the magnesium and the calcium while maintaining healthy levels of sodium.

What we started to see, and you mentioned that, there’s a lot of studies now that low salt diets lead to insulin resistance, and this is published American Journal of Medicine quality research. Because we think salt’s bad, we cut back on salt. We’re hungry. We don’t feel as good. We replace it with carbs, and unfortunately, most of those will be refined and poor carbs that have other sugars, and it just invites problems. Where, if you look at animals, and if you look at early humans, we didn’t do that to ourselves.

We listened to our bodies and if we craved salt, we got salt. We got good, clean water. We got good, clean fats. But if you go to the grocery store and the 40 thousand of the 12 items, or whatever you mentioned, many of those are just going to make that even worse versus as much as possible getting fresh greens, you know, fresh vegetables, you know, great proteins, great fats and not trying to micromanage some of these other…you know, like, sodium where we just really seek out good, clean foods, good, clean fats, good, clean proteins and end up with a different experience.

Paul Kriegler

Absolutely. And since we’re talking about this and the importance of potassium, I want to make sure listeners have, you know, a good go to list of how they can increase their potassium. The best sources of potassium, a lot of folks think of bananas and they’re not wrong, but avocados, sweet potatoes, regular white potatoes, spinach, watermelon, coconut water, beans, including like, white beans, soy beans, black beans, tomato paste, butternut squash, pomegranate, beets, Swiss chard, those are all better sources of potassium than bananas.

Darryl Bosshardt

That’s interesting because if people do think oh, low potassium, eat a banana but they’d be much better off getting some great salmon, you know, beet greens, chard, much better sources.

Paul Kriegler

Yeah. And if people increase their intakes of those healthy produce items, and most of it’s produce, it almost doesn’t matter what they do to their sodium intake. It’s going to help their body balance their fluid levels in a more healthy way, especially if they reduce their intakes of refined carbohydrates at the same time.

Darryl Bosshardt

And some of the studies are really fascinating when they look at the consumption of potassium, magnesium, calcium, years ago versus today, because of that grocery store dilemma. You know, and the problem doesn’t stop at potassium. Magnesium is super essential. You know, a little less than potassium but its super essential, and you know, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews, beans, rice, oatmeal, yogurt, I mean, these are all really good sources of magnesium that oftentimes, if we’re eating out cans or processed foods, we’re just not getting that nutrient dense that our ancestors did.

Paul Kriegler

Yeah. Exactly. I want to clarify for some people, who needs more salt, in your opinion, or your experience? Who needs to consciously seek out better sources and more salt?

Darryl Bosshardt

So, there’s a very small percentage of the population that is…there are some that are sensitive to salt, but those that are like really salt sensitive, like problematically so is a very, very small percentage. Now, if you’re on kidney failure or on dialysis, forget everything we’ve said today because your kidneys, if they’re not healthy, you do have a problem processing sodium. But outside of that, most people should be drinking a lot more water than they do, and if you’re drinking more water, you should be adding salt to your diet.

So, what I suggest, typically, and this is based on the research by Dr. David Brownstein, by Dr. James DiNicolantonio who wrote a book called The Salt Fix, says that we should salt our food liberally, especially as we’re eating fresh. Now, if you’re still eating processed, canned food almost every meal of the day, yeah, you probably ought to start changing your diet first and then worry about changing your salt.

But if you’re eating relatively clean, salt your food liberally, and then you also will need to go out of your way, especially if you’re an athlete, to add electrolytes back, because unless we’re eating enough, beet greens, salmon, mushroom, avocados, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, beans, great, clean salmon and clean meats, we are going to be deficient in our electrolytes.

And so, I say, start with salting your food liberally, and then, once a day, I will add a stick pack of Re-Lyte to a water bottle, and if I don’t have Re-Lyte with me, I’ll take a quart of water, a quarter teaspoon of salt, little bit of lemon and I will create that electrolyte blend to help rebuild my body fluids, because you can drink all the water in the world, and as you pointed out, still be dehydrated. If you’re in the hospital, in a coma, you’re not going to be getting flushed with tap water, distilled water, it’s going to be saline. We have to have those electrolytes and a great source of those is adding a little bit of those to your water.

Paul Kriegler

That’s fantastic advice, and in my experience, in addition to what you just outlined, anyone who follows a low carbohydrate lifestyle probably needs to hammer the salt even more because if you follow a low carbohydrate lifestyle, you know, just low carb in general, or keto, your body doesn’t maintain as high a level of glycogen storage, which is one of your most important hydration factors when it comes to hydrating muscle tissue. So, you’ll feel really flat, and weak and have no spark if you don’t consciously consume more electrolytes.

Darryl Bosshardt

Absolutely. I’m glad you mentioned keto because people, when they first switch, they’ll go through that what they call the keto flu, and as you pointed out, glycogen, which is stored in the liver and stored in our body, when we go and deplete that, one gram of glycogen will hold two to three grams of water. So, in that first 24 to 48 hours we are just burning through that glycogen storage. We’re burning through the water, and now, people think they have the flu, what they’re experiencing is dehydration in a substantial way and so, they have to go out of your way.

And protein, to digest protein it requires the body more water and more salt. And so, if you are eating rich proteins, primarily, you have to go out of your way to have more water because it’s harder on the system to digest the protein. They need the water to do that, and you have to have the salt with that process as well.

Paul Kriegler

That’s fascinating. I think we’ve covered pretty much every topic that I had outlined to cover, and I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to explain some of these topics to our listeners. Has there been anything we haven’t touched on that you think is important for everyone to understand about salt, and minerals, and electrolytes and health?

Darryl Bosshardt

No. I think we have done a pretty thorough job. I’ve really enjoyed being on your program. One question I get asked when I talk about saline versus Re-Lyte is how much Re-Lyte would I take to be equivalent to one 100 milliliter bag of saline and its actually about three. So, in a thousand milliliter bag of saline solution, of point nine percent saline solution, you have 23 hundred milligrams of sodium in that bag of saline, and there’s about a thousand milligrams of sodium per serving of Re-Lyte.

And so, about three servings of Re-Lyte would be the equivalent of sodium in one bag of saline solution, and the potassium, magnesium are actually higher than in the saline solution, but again, that’s because most of us aren’t eating enough foods rich in those other electrolytes.

Paul Kriegler

That is wild to me. OK. So, I mix a serving of Re-Lyte in, its about a liter. A full blender bottle is roughly 30 ounces, which is just shy of a liter, and I put a thousand milligrams of sodium from Re-Lyte, and then, it’s got a boatload of chloride and really high dose of potassium as well. But what you’re saying is to match what saline solution is I would have to triple my dose of Re-Lyte.

Darryl Bosshardt

For a thousand milliliters.

Paul Kriegler

For a one-liter bag, and to match one dose of Re-Lyte, I would need to triple pretty much every other electrolyte beverage powder on the market. That’s what’s crazy to me is a lot of popular hydration beverages run around 200 to maybe up to 500 milligrams of sodium per serving and Re-Lyte’s 1,000.

Darryl Bosshardt

Yeah, because one milliliter of saline solution has 900 milligrams of sodium and chloride. So, you take the 900, times it be 10, because you’re going from 100 milliliters to a thousand milliliters. Now, you’ve got 9000 milligrams and sodium chloride binds 60, 40. Roughly. It’s actually 38, 62. But you take that 900 milligrams of sodium and chloride, take 38 percent of that and that’s the amount of sodium in your saline bag.

Paul Kriegler

Wow. That’s pretty wild. So, even if people are trying to hydrate well with electrolyte products, they’re probably missing the mark.

Darryl Bosshardt

Most of us are walking around very dehydrated. I tell people all the time, you know, when you get a headache, the very first time you feel that headache coming on, you’re probably not deficient in ibuprofen. You’re probably deficient in water and salt. So, start there. You know, when that headache comes on, start with the water and salt and if that doesn’t cut it, yeah, maybe turn to some other options, but I think many people…

There’s a great book that’s called You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty. It was written by Dr. Batmanghelidj years ago, and I think, and I’m not anti-medicine and I’m not anti-doctor, I’ve got a brother who’s an M.D., I believe in medicine, but oftentimes, if we listen to our bodies…and this Dr. Batmanghelidj, he said you’re not sick, you’re thirsty, and I think there’s some truth to that, at least a great place to start.

Paul Kriegler

That’s interesting. What other resources would you recommend people explore if they’re interested in the topics of salt, and hydration and minerals?

Darryl Bosshardt

Well, if you’re a salt geek or a history nerd there’s a great book on salt called, Salt, A World History. I can send you a link to it. You can put it in your show notes. It’s one of the best just overall history of salt, which I think is fascinating. A couple of good health books on salt is Dr. David Brownstein’s books, Salt Your Way to Health and then there’s Dr. James DiNicolantonio’s book called The Salt Fix. I think those are both really great books. And then I can send a list, if it’s helpful, to some American Journal of Medicine articles, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition articles, but you can put the links in your show notes, or to PubMed, and most of those are free access that your listeners might be a little interested learning more could hit those links in the show notes.

Paul Kriegler

That’s fantastic. Well, Darryl, I appreciate you taking the time and sharing all your knowledge, and energy and passion for health, salt and minerals. I can’t thank you enough.

Darryl Bosshardt

It’s been a pleasure to visit with you today, Paul, and someday I’d love to meet you in person out here in Utah. We can go mountain biking, or skiing, or take a trip down to the mine and lick a salt wall.

Paul Kriegler

That’d be awesome. Thank you, Darryl.

[MUSIC]

David Freeman

Thanks for joining us for this episode. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our conversation today, and how you approach this aspect of healthy living in your own life. What works for you? Where do you run into challenges? Where do you need help?

Jamie Martin

And if you have topics for future episodes, you can share those with us, too. Email us at lttalks@lt.life, or reach out to us on Instagram, @lifetime.life@jamiemartinel, or @freezy30, and use the hashtag #LifeTimeTalks. You can also learn more about the podcast at el.lifetime.life/podcasts.

David Freeman

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Jamie Martin

Thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you next time on Life Time Talks. Life Time Talks is a production of Life Time, healthy way of life. It’s produced by Molly Schelper, with audio engineering by Peter Perkins, and sound consulting by Coy Larson. A big thank-you to the team who pulls together each episode, and everyone who provided feedback.

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