The effect of salt on the brain.

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Salty Soup
New Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/11/2011 4:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Not sure this is the right forum, but I feel I have something say about losing memory and mental clarity in general from my recent experience. Or just the cognitive behavior in general.

I am in my mid 40s. There were times, and recently more often, I felt that my mind was really blurry and slow to react to things, it was reaching but couldn't reach anywhere. I have wondered that at this rate, will I not be able to remember my social security number at some point? It's a scary thought. I have been able to function at work and at home, but efficiency is very low.

There were some days when things just worked a lot better for me, so it was encouraging for me to realize the extent of my mental capabilities. I was trying to figure out what that thing was that made me more efficient and productive during these moments. I took vitamins, B complex, fish oil, garlic tablets, all kinds of things. Some worked some times, but not consistently.

Then something happened last week. I cooked some green vegetables, by accident, I put extra salt. The kids didn't eat it because it was too salty, I had to eat it. Then magically, after a long day of mental blur and trying, things just opened up for me mentally. I have to attribute to extra salt that made this dramatic mental impact on me.

If you do a search on google about salt, they will say that salt is an important electrolyte and transmits electrical impulses in the body, for muscles and nerves and many other functions. I think that lack of salt was exactly my problem of all these years and moments, it was the lack of optimum mental activities because of lack of electrical signals in the brain.

But too much salt is not good for the heart. That's well known, and my heart is actually pretty sensitive to extra salt. I guess if there is too much salt in heart muscles, you will have too many electrical signals in heart muscles, and then there will be irregular heart beats and you will have heart trouble.

So I have been careful to feel my own body's reaction to the extra salt. Eat a banana before eating a peanut butter sandwich with extra salt in the morning. Drink more water to dilute salt in the body, but then eat a bowl of soup for lunch to put back some more salt.

For the past two weeks, I feel that I have improved dramatically my comprehension and interaction with other people. I feel that I was more on top of things.

In the end, it's always a balance between things. But looking at the emphasis on less salt in the diet in the last 3 or 4 decades and the increase in dementia like mental illnesses, I think that reduced salt intake is one of the factors. But how do you balance out with the bad effects for the heart? I think there is a way in the end, whether from your personal experimentation or from the medical science research community. I am not a doctor, I just work with computers.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 3/12/2011 9:21 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm on a high salt diet myself to help raise my blood pressure; I tend to run on the low end - the higher salt intake has not helped my mental fogginess though. But people with high blood pressure should stay away from high salt intake. People who run the risk of AD are thought to have a certain protein created by a set of genes. One of the risks for people with this set of genes also may experience long standing high blood pressure.

If you want to ask about the correlation between high salt intake and the heart you might want to ask your questions over on our heart forum. They might be able to help you with any concerns you may have.
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
Colazal(9 daily)/6mp(50mgs)/Bentyl-Prilosec~allergies-Singulair/Zyrtec~Reynauds~OA-Tylonel Arthritis~Scoliosis~Sacroilitis~Dry eye-Restasis~GAD-Klonopin (.25mgs)~Rosacea-Metrogel/Elidel

Salty Soup
New Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/13/2011 2:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I didn't know that there are doctors out there who actually recommend a salty diet. I guess in my case, maybe I am at an age that the brain cells can still recover from the past damages of reduced salt, and the effect has been dramatic and consistent for the past two weeks, in terms of mental clarity and emotional state.

I have been careful not to take too many things in my body, so I can experiment with different elements and point to the cause and effect, and it won't overwhelm my body.

I have prided myself on being a very technically capable person. But when my mind was reaching hard for connections, and when I was reading a long sentence, midway through it, I had to remember what the beginning was like, it made me wonder about my mental capacity. My mother died when I was 35 years old, that could be considered a stress factor in my life. But I believed that there were chemical and physical factors, and then there were moments when I was absolutely in control of myself.

If you look up benefits of salt online, there are quite many articles. Those two links below interested me the most. They talk about being beneficial to the brain cells and nerves.

I dare say this, the lack of salt is at least a factor, and a major factor from my experience, to the degrading mental health. I know the medical established will probably laugh this off. But if some doctor or researcher could design a study on the effect of salt on Alzheimer's disease, I think they will be positively surprised. I believe in simple solutions, and a good solution should be explained using common sense. When things become too fancy and complicated, they usually fail, like those complicated mortgage contracts that caused the financial crisis.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1477
   Posted 3/14/2011 9:54 PM (GMT -6)   
I was told many year ago that h high percentage of people in mental institutions have low cholesterol or low blood pressure.
this is very interesting to me because I have to put a little sea salt in my water otherwise it is going right through me.
When you think about it even lithium is a salt.

has anyone ever googled NMH. I forgot the real name for it but if you google NMH and chronic fatigue and look around you will see how important the salt thing is.
20 yrs of doctors . DEC. 2009 tested positive for lyme, bartonella, ehrichiosis, HHPV6, chlamadyal pneumonia .
parasites :strongylides, diaoebia fragialis, hook worm.

Hep C ....fibro, rhumatoidal,depression,

Salty Soup
New Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/15/2011 7:39 PM (GMT -6)   
I was questioning at one point whether I have some kind of chronic fatigue as well. I read your other post about your father's beer drinking, and I think I know the answer. It has to do with drinking too much fluid, it could be either beer or just soft drinks, and diluting the salt away from his body. His mental capacity is diminished because of reduced salt.

I came to the conclusion about drinking too much liquid sometime last year. One night, I wasn't in a mood to concentrate on anything, so I started drinking orange juice, Pepsi, and just plain water, I wasn't really thirsty but it made me feel better. The next morning, I felt a hung over like after drinking a lot of alcohol, but I knew I just drank water. So I have kept myself from drinking too much water before going to bed. Now I realize that the real effect was more from salt being diluted away from the body than just having too much water itself.

I also read the part about B12. In fact, about a month ago, I started taking B12 complex by accident, and it did bring much better mental clarity. I made me believe that I was deficient in B12 all along. But then my sleep was disrupted and B12 wasn't as effective consistently. Fish oil was effective initially, but then its effect went away. It was only with salt that the mental clarity was consistent.

What I can do now is to replace a cup of coffee with a cup of warm salt water, and could function as well or even better. I am not a big coffee drinker, but I have been drinking a 9oz cup of coffee every morning. I still like drinking coffee because of the taste. But kicking the habit wasn't hard for me.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 3/16/2011 8:12 AM (GMT -6)   
There is a difference between people that are admitted into mental institutions and people that have Alzheimer's. Most people with Alzheimer's do not have a mental illness. Alzheimer's is not a mental illness. There is a true physiological component to AD. The death of these "proteins" in the brain can cause "plaques" to form on the brain of an AD patient. AD patients are discouraged from a high salt intake diet because of high blood pressure. I am only stating this because if someone comes along and thinks that giving salt to their loved ones will help with cognitive difficulties that it may be dangerous, especially if they have high blood pressure to begin with.

But yes, for people with low blood pressure, doctors will recommend a higher salt intake along with more water consumption. My bp drops dangerously low at times and I went thru a tilt table test as well as a stress test with echo. The doctors have told me to increase my salt and water.

I'm glad you found something that works for you Salty Soup. Just be forewarned that too much potassium is not always a good thing either. Which brings a question - have you ever had your potassium checked?
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
Colazal(9 daily)/6mp(50mgs)/Bentyl-Prilosec~allergies-Singulair/Zyrtec~Reynauds~OA-Tylonel Arthritis~Scoliosis~Sacroilitis~Dry eye-Restasis~GAD-Klonopin (.25mgs)~Rosacea-Metrogel/Elidel

panther fern
Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 163
   Posted 3/18/2011 11:15 AM (GMT -6)   
It makes sense in the fact that Sodium/potassium gates open and close neural pathways. it also makes sense because it is so easy to be dehydrated if you even start to feel thirsty you are already at the beginning stages of dehydration, which everyone knows how important fluid is in our bodies. i read an article for continuing ed on headaches, because i am a huge migraine sufferer. anyway the article stated 83% of regular headaches can be totally eliminated by plenty of fluids in a day. Sinus... stress, some cluster and migraine... because you are constantly cleaning and flushing it through your system. for one Caffeinated drink you have to drink two decaffeinated drinks to offset the one.

I would be careful to over do the salt. as it can be hazardous to other things but if you can eat a banana a day for K (potassium) or take it through a pill form up the h20 and use a sea salt. it would be interesting. I get brain fog a lot. I had an 8 hour psych test 4 years after i returned home from serving in the Persian gulf war. i felt like i couldn't do things as well, I am requesting the same test because that was a base line and now i feel more like a rock. lol Even though to me it is not really funny and at times scary when i don't know simple things.

I would re: a metabolic panel ran just to see what you are low on such as K or Na there are simple vitamins and minerals that can cause us to have a fogginess. But I am also the big 40. my husband is healthy and he says he has to read every day or he feels like he doesn't think as well. sometimes, like a muscle maybe we just need to exercise or challenge it. IDK I am not a Dr.

Good luck to you ... but remember everything in moderation... too much of one thing probably isn't good for something else... idk for sure but it is a educated guess.

May each day bring you more joy than the day before and Hope.


It's Genetic
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1540
   Posted 3/21/2012 8:02 PM (GMT -6)   
I haven't read all the threads on this topic, so if I repeat something please excuse me.

I have been reading a lot recently on the use of Celtic salt ( from France) which contains 82 trace minerals and is about as close to the chemistry of fluids of the body as any substance containing salt can be. (After using unrefined salt for about three weeks now, I think I like Himalayan unrefined salt just a little better.  It's really quite good.)

The advantages of Celtic salt are that it will lower blood pressure when it's high, and raise it when blood pressure is low (because of the enzymes and trace minerals in the salt).  Be sure to drink water, too.

It is excellent for modifying and reducing sinus problems , bronchitis problems, asthma, and excess mucus, for the same reasons.  (It is known that people who work in the salt mines of the Himalayas rarely ever have a respiratory illness.)

This is a particularly difficult time for allergies this spring in our section of the country, so I've bought some and plan to use it to see if it really works. I think it must really be helpful.

The major benefit of Celtic salt is that it reduces the acidity of brain cells and helps in creating a more alkaline state of fluids. Those factors alone make it well worth a try. American brands of salt are refined and do not contain the enzymes that can be activated and the multiple trace minerals in Celtic Grey Salt, and so it's really not as beneficial for the human.  In addition, American salts that are refined may have aluminum added for special purposes, and aluminum has been implicated now as a possible influence in Alzheimer's Disease.
(I have no association with any products from France.  I just do my own research on these matters because they interest me, and I
find many of the ideas very helpful.)
I read recently that, during World War II, Navy surgeons who ran out of blood for transfusions used ocean water to inject for blood transfusions and saved many lives aboard ship by doing that. 

If interested, see benefits of  Many other
references are helpful by googling unrefined salt benefits.

It's Genetic

Post Edited (It's Genetic) : 4/16/2012 7:47:46 AM (GMT-6)

baby dumpling
New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/2/2012 9:51 AM (GMT -6)   
Salty Soup, very interesting conclusions you have drawn. I would agree that you would benefit greatly from a medical work-up by your physician and that it should include a complete blood panel and include electrolytes and various other minerals and vitamin levels in your blood.

They all interact so much, that assigning any one as the 'culprit' is often a bit one-sided. We really are made up of a mixture of elements and they all need to be in balance with each other. Too much of one can throw so many others off balance. And remember, that not only our diets, but also our medication consumption and stress levels can impact these elements.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/8/2014 7:41 AM (GMT -6)   

I know this is very old now, but I'd like to have a quick chat with you Salty Soup if possible as I may be having a similar issue to the one you had - and would love a bit of reassurance if you could help?


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