The history of humans and salt why it is so important

Sodii Hydration - The history of humans and salt why it is so important

Salt 101: The History of Salt

A very brief history of salt + you.

In this blog you will learn

The history of Salt + Sodium.

How you evolved with sodium.

Why sodium was demonised.

Why you should eat more salt.

Welcome, fellow citizen scientist, to Salt 101.

Even on our blue planet, it's surprising that over 80% of us are walking around experiencing symptoms synonymous with dehydration. So what gives? What importance do electrolytes have in the greater picture of hydration and human function, and how can we utilise ancestral wisdom and modern research to optimise health? You are here because you are one curious individual, excited to learn more about your body, salt and how the two are intrinsically linked. We are here to unpack the FAQs and clarify the common myths surrounding electrolytes, what they are and why we need them for:

    💪  Physical Health  
     🧠  Brain Health 
     🫀  Circulatory Health 
     👅 Metabolic Health 

    👤 Cellular Health

You're one salty organism 💧

You're one salty organism. Really. Humans share very real similarities with the oceans that make up 71% of the Earth’s surface, which also make up 99% of the Earth's total living space. Sodium Chloride, aka salt, constitutes 90% of the entire oceans mineral content, which is the same percentage of mineral content found in the human bloodstream. From the ocean, came life, where cells could only survive within a narrow range of electrolyte levels in the extracellular fluid that bathes them. Thus, the development of several salt regulating systems had to occur for life to thrive, which are still prevalent in our bodies today, including our skin, adrenal glands and kidneys. These systems drive us to seek out and retain salt when we need it, and secrete it when we don't.

Yep, that's right. You evolved from an extremely salty environment, and took with you the ability to thrive in not-so-salty environments with bodily systems that control the precise electrolyte levels that facilitates cell life.

But isn't salt bad for you?

Well, no. Due to a number of drastically irresponsible recommendations from health organisations, based on research that had very little scientific evidence supporting these recommendations, the common belief was to reduce salt intake in order to reduce blood pressure and cardiovascular events. The hypothesis was that with an increased consumption of salt, you would need to drink more water. Your body would hold onto that water to dilute the excess salt in the blood, thus increasing overall blood volume and subsequently blood pressure leading to cardiovascular events.

Something doesn't add up here...

What they failed to mention is that these studies of the high-salt, high blood pressure connection saw positive results in only 20% of the population. To be in 20% of the population that saw an increase in blood pressure, two important factors needed to be met. You needed to be genetically predisposed to high blood pressure, or have a diet low in potassium.

So, despite 80% of the population not seeing the blood pressure raising effect of high salt, a blanket low-salt guideline was administered across the total population, in an attempt to curb cardiovascular events. Furthermore, reducing salt intake to around 2,300mg / day (1 tsp) only saw an insignificant 1% drop in blood pressure, where, the negative side effects of reducing ones salt intake are far worse than the blood pressure reducing effects experienced.

Despite an overwhelming amount of critics advocating against this high-salt, high blood pressure theory, it was taken to the mainstream population prematurely, without sufficient evidence supporting its claims. Instead, if they had looked at the all important point of why salt may increase blood pressure in some, and not in others, they would have found it had nothing to do with salt, and in fact, addressing the underlying issue would completely fix one's salt sensitivity.

What causes high blood pressure?

Sugar is to blame, not salt which is an essential mineral to the human body and its performance. Sugar has an adverse effect on insulin (body nutrient storage hormone), which creates an overload of fluid in the body (blood volume) that leads to elevated blood pressure, heart rate and disease. Never eating sugar again won't hurt you but never eating salt will.

So why should you eat more salt?

If you are one of the majority of people who are not salt sensitive, your body has the ability to easily clear excess sodium using the mechanisms responsible for maintaining healthy electrolyte levels in the body. Contrarily, with little mechanisms built in to handle the massive amounts seen in modern diets today, sugar wreaks havoc on your body by diluting salt levels in your blood, causing dehydration, hypertension, insulin resistance and much more.

So what is salt anyway?

We are glad you asked! We break this down in a bit more detail here, however salt is a mineral made up of predominantly Sodium Chloride, as well as trace minerals including Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium Iodine. As we mentioned, Salt has been with us since the very beginning, where the precise make up of minerals will depend on the source and quality of the salt.  Salt is considered one of six essential nutrients to humans, where we can't live without it. 

As we lose minerals through sweating and urinating throughout the day, you can start optimising your daily routine by adding in some form of salt into your water. If that doesn't sound great, try our Everyday Hydration Salts. 

Related Blogs

Salt + Exercise + You

Humans Evolved To Thrive With Salt, Not Sugar

Salt is Essential not Optional

Low Carb Diets + Salt

Reading next

What's a hangover and how to cure it the Salty way.
Sodii Hydration - How to hydrate after coffee

Finished reading?

Ready to start your salty journey?

Shop Sodii Now