Friday, 19 April 2013

Salt Supplementation

A Celtic Salt Farmer in France

Ok so my approach to this is not widely done. But I would like to share some thoughts on the approach I take on salt supplementation (which includes Bicarb (sodium), salt tablets any salt replacement therapy) 

For those who are unfamiliar with this topic, people with CF are commonly recommend to replace salt in their bodies as we lose salt through our skin. It's a key part of the dysfunction of CF. Indeed, this very defect is what Kalydeco corrects, salt regulation & hydration ability of out bodies. So generally when people are initially given a positive CF diagnosis it's done by a sweat test, they take a sample of you sweat and test for sodium levels. You get a score, under 40 is non-CF, 40-60 boarder line, 60- and beyond = CF. Later they go on to take blood to test for gene types and work out a treatment plan.

So I have never been given salt replacement treatment as an ongoing therapy. Certainly no hospital based ones. My mother was prescribed salt power for me as an infant, but tasted it, read the ingredients & threw it out! Started to research salt regulation/function.

Early on before she knew anything about  sodium/potassium balance, my mum switched  to a natural supplement By Blackmores. They are the makers of professional celloid mineral therapeutics. I had tablets called, S.S.P.C. they contain: Sodium Sulphate and Potassium Chloride. This is key: I had Potassium with the Sodium. To have salt therapy for CF with out potassium to my understanding is quite risky to ones health in the long term. 

Explanation why: let's start with a Cell. Our bodies are made of them. A healthy cell should have potassium on the inside, while the sodium is outside, free to circulate where it should. Here's a visual of a healthy cell...

Now with a sick cell, the sodium invades the cell, therefore displaces the potassium from where it should be. The salt should not be there, once the potassium returns to it's rightful place it frees up salt to get around where it needs to, outside the cell!

Quick Q & A

How does salt get in? Free radical damage. Free radicals cause damage to anything it comes in contact with, it's like internal rust! Letting in many different things that are not meant to be there i.e. Bad fats or salt (to name a couple)

What can help protect your cells from free radial damage? Antioxidants, Minerals & Fatty acids (are my first picks)

What ones are particularly good for helping CF (protect against free radical damage)? Glutathione, Vitamin C, Flax seed oil, Zinc, Vitamin E, n-acetyl cysteine (NAC) & Selenium. 

Fact: There is a salt regulation dysfunction with CF. What I question is HOW to to approach this problem. Hospitals recommend salt supplementation to replace the salt lost through the skin, however over the years my mother & now I have thought outside that box to come to the understanding Potassium supplementation is MORE crucial to balance the salt regulation problem. 

See the way I understand it is there is salt in the body, the skin of a CF patient can testify to that, we excrete sodium through our skin. By taking potassium it will enable the body to restore potassium where it should be inside the cells, get the salt out of the cells, then the fatty acids heal & protect the cell walls from invasions. Therefore correcting the regulation (as much as can be done in a body that has this defect), balancing the system, hydration process is assisted by the correction = less salt excreted through the skin. 

One of my main concerns about excess sodium is that it displaces Zinc. The symptoms of Zinc deficiency as taste disturbances, decreased appetite, impaired growth, but also disturbed fatty acid profiles and disturbances in immunity, inflammation and oxidative stress defence. Basically ALL cystic fibrosis problems!! Bottom line CF patients all need Zinc. Zinc is essential for numerous enzymes essential in DNA. Many of these enzymes are involved in acid-base balance, amino acid metabolism & protein synthesis. If one has a high intake of sodium, displaces Zinc, then one would achieve the above result quicker than it would happen naturally.

The other concern is the effect that excess salt has on organs. I know the common consensus is that with CF patient are sodium deficient because of how much we excrete through the skin. However I question this and ask are we deficient or do we have excessive sodium? Therefore the possible reason for excreting so much? The more salt we intake, the more excretions (higher the sweat test)? Causing the common zinc deficiency seen in CF? Then causing all the side effects of that? ... So I have a lot of questions about it all and have read a lot on  sodium/potassium balance. I have found that once I approach my health (in my late teens) with this in mind, my health turned around. 

I could go into a lot more depth on this subject, but we'd be here for hours! I encourage you to learn more about sodium/potassium balance. Most of my understanding of this topic is from the findings of Dr Max Gerson, I would suggest his work as a good place to begin.

Natural food source of potassium? Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Juices
As far as supplements go I use: Kelp tablets (which contain both sodium & potassium) or Potassium Compound salts

In conclusion, Yes I need salt. Yes, I eat salt (Celtic Sea salt), but only normal seasoning or on my margarita glass! (Mejores margarits que he tenido eran de México! xo)

 Pass the salt please! 

Best song to drink a Margarita to :)


  1. Very informative Faye, thank you.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it 'Cystic Fibrosis' and thank you so much for your ongoing support!! xo