Food For Thought: The Roman Time Salary Was in Salt!

I just learned something that I think you will appreciate: the word salary comes from the Roman times from 200 BC to about 600 AD when soldiers got their salaries in salt–the word salary is derived from the word salt to soldiers. Salt was a rarer commodity than anything else and highly prized! Thus salt has been known to be a beneficial and a required mineral by humans for over 2000 years and today the heart healthy diets are trashing all that wisdom! Food for thought!

What happened with salt that it got such a bad name that today so many put it aside thinking it is not important? Salt did not change; it is still sodium chloride NaCl. I can tell you what happened: fads arrived!

Today we see new fads: Sea Salt!!! Has anyone ever thought any salt on earth is not sea salt? Really? Honestly? All salt on earth is sea salt! I cannot tell you how many times I get this question: should I get sea salt or regular? It doesn’t matter.. all are the same sea salts! Even Himalayan salt is sea salt as is table salt. Now there is an issue of pure versus “natural.” Some show colors, like Himalayan salt, which has orange, yellow, all kinds of colors–makes beautiful lamp. But in terms of eating that, you are eating metals! Yep! Natural sea salt is white. So if you are not eating white salt, you are eating salt that is not pure.

I looked at the various “sea salt” colors… gray, brown, etc. Celtic sea salt is gray. It has iron in it… do you need iron? Not if you are a man or a woman post menopause. Not sure what the brown stuff is all about and not sure I want to go there… but note: sea salt taken from anywhere “as is” contains dead bodies of animals and organic other things, perhaps going as far as fish dropping. I think you agree that “pure” is better than “natural” when in comes to salt. Table-salt has been purified to the max and all is left is sodium chloride, and guess what! That is all you need!

But the best (and scariest) story is yet to come.

A friend, an MD, and I were chatting the other day and she said: oh I eat Celtic salt so it is not sodium chloride!  I thought to myself what the heck? Salt that is not sodium chloride? So I looked up on the Internet and sure enough Celtic salt does not list Chloride on the ingredients! This MD believed that she was only eating sodium! Now how many of you have been to college chemistry class 101 lab?



Sodium photo taken  from Wikipedia.

The first item of experiments is usually a dark silver colored chunk of metal called sodium they bring for you to learn the trade with. They usually put it on top of a dish full of water under heavy protection and you watch how the sodium runs around like a torpedo with fire and blows up; many lab fires were created by sodium. Sodium is an ion that is positively charged Na+, meaning it has one electron more than ideal on its outer atomic layer. In must get rid of it in order to become neutral. Chloride has one electron less on its outer layer and it wants one to become stable.

I link you here to a picture that I did not create but shows you what sodium and what chloride look like that create salt.

Sodium chloride - salt

Sodium chloride – salt

Thus one cannot eat sodium without blowing up… in fact it would catch fire from the moisture in your hands… I understand if people who never took chemistry class don’t know that but an M.D.??? Really?  Doesn’t know that salt is sodium chloride?

I also had some people tell me it is acidic; others that it is basic. OK people: it is neutral. When one + and one – meet as in Na+ (sodium) and Cl- (Chloride) they neutralize each other. Thus salt is neither acidic nor basic; it is neutral. If you get your stomach burning from salt, it is because you had acid in your stomach before the salt since salt is neutral, it cannot make it acidic.

So with this I just permanently wanted to note that

  1. salt is an amazingly important and highly valued mineral without which our body cannot survive and
  2. I hopefully explained what it is and that it is not acidic.

The one thing I did not mention is why everything we eat only notes sodium as the important ingredient. It is because in our bodies sodium and chloride separate into ions and sodium stays inside cells, holding onto water. Thus too much sodium (if you don’t drink enough water and eat enough potassium) can harm you and cause hypertension. The chloride part stays outside of the cell and its function is to create a voltage difference so the cells pumps, gates, and channels can operate.

Salt is very important for the human body so don’t forget your salt today!

Appreciate your comments!


About Be Healthy

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist who evaluates changes in behavior, chronic pain, decision-making, as a result of hormonal variations in the brain. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a migraineur, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic mutations of insulin and glucose transporters, and voltage gated sodium and calcium channel mutations. Such mutations cause major shifts in a migraine brain, unlike that of a non-migraine brain. A non-migraineur can handle electrolyte changes on autopilot. A migraineur must always be on manual guard for such changes to maintain electrolyte homeostasis. The book Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: How To Treat and Prevent Migraines Without Medicines - An Insider's View explains why we have migraines, how to prevent them and how to stay migraine (and medicine) free for life. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and new research and findings, she is now finishing the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraines, incorporating all there is to know at the moment and also some hypotheses. It includes an academic research section with suggestions for further research. The book is full of citations to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. While working on the 2nd edition of the book she also published academic articles: "Migraine Cause and Treatment" Mental Health in family Medicine, November 23, 2015, open access "Functional Prodrome in Migraines" Journal of Neurological Disorders, January 22, 2016, open access "Are Statistics Misleading Sodium Reduction Benefits?", Journal of Medical Diagnostic Method, February 3, 2016, open access “A Comment on Severe Headache or Migraine History Is Inversely Correlated With Dietary Sodium Intake: NHANES 1999-2004” Angela A Stanton PhD, 19 July 2016 DOI: 10.1111/head.12861 not open access, subscription is required to read it. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers. For relaxation Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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6 Responses to Food For Thought: The Roman Time Salary Was in Salt!

  1. Pingback: What Salt Are You Eating? | cluelessdoctors

  2. Pingback: Iodine in Salt and Why You Need It! | cluelessdoctors

  3. Roald Michel says:

    Um…….although you explained the matter splendidly, many will refuse to accept your salty wisdom.

    Did you know that a good chunk of the American public believes that Afghanistan is a country in South-America, and insists that’s the case even after it was pointed out to them that their boys and girls are losing their lives, arms and legs somewhere in Asia?

    Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree but I do not believe those Americans will bother with my blog. I really hope to catch the attention of some doctors! I am getting major angry here of all the things I learn Roald! This country has become a country of herds with many incompetent leaders and doctors. And people do not know better. So I hope to get someones’ attention to get things changed!


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