Is Salt Good for Us?


Man began using salt because he thought it made his food taste better and now he has become addicted to it …. it’s not because he needs it to live. Those who have never used salt find it unpleasant.

I contend that salt is a contributing factor in practically every disease to which the human race is heir …. including many forms of cancer. In fact, the famous Dr. Max Gerson issued a taboo on salt and positively forbade its use by any of his patients, for which he was dubbed “No Salt Gerson.”

Well, it has been about 12 years since I wrote my book condemning salt. Before that time I was a heavy user of salt and many people took me to task for it, so I decided to research the subject in an effort to justify its use. However, I could find nothing good about salt and, thus, my salt book was born.

I really loved salt and just couldn’t bear the thought of having it removed from my diet. Besides, I was familiar with the many frequently published statements, some dating back for centuries, that proved the importance of salt in the lives of mankind. For example, the trade routes mapped out in most countries throughout the world followed places where salt was mined or found.

However, soon after I started to dig into the topic, I realized that salt was bad and, when I had completed my research, I was surprised to learn that there was absolutely nothing good that could be said for salt …. not from a nutritional point of view anyway. So I concluded my book by warning against the use of salt in any form and pointed out that salt was a genuine danger.

I meant every word I said in my book at that time but now I have much more to add and most of it centres around the plain, simple truth that the damage salt does to human beings is much, much worse than I had thought.

Salt today is not the same as the salt of the Bible. The salt of the Bible contained many additional natural elements, besides the sodium and the chlorine. It is claimed by some authorities that salt as brought up from the salt mine, or as taken from the sea, contains as many as 44 other elements and thus can supply one’s body with many valuable nutrients. Today’s salt has chemicals added to it to make it flow freely, to prevent it from caking and for various other reasons. It contains some or all of these added chemical ingredients: potassium iodide, sodium bicarbonate, tricalcium phosphate, hyposulphite of soda. The danger of these added chemicals is not in the quantity, which is small, but they are cumulative.

Excess salt, it is claimed, causes improper calcium absorption. Give a no salt diet a chance if you have a problem that does not respond to the regular treatment.

Many medical and other authorities have pointed to salt as a factor in the causation of cancer and here I would like to mention a few.

L. Duncan Bulkley, M.D., who was the editor of the magazine called, “Cancer,” published under the auspices of the American Association for the Prevention and Cure of Cancer, said:

“Recently a very intelligent lady aged 46, from the West, whom I was attending for cancer of the breast, on inquiry as to how she was doing since her previous visit, remarked very simply ‘that she had improved and that the breast had improved much and was softer since she had left off the use of salt and sugar.’ In directing her diet I had never mentioned salt, and could not learn why she had made the change. I could understand why the absence of much white sugar could be of great advantage to her cancer, but the matter of salt, as mentioned, I did not give a thought to. So the thing went from my mind, until this evening when reading some printed material from Mr. Frederick Marwood of Blackburn, England, whose book What Is the Cause of Cancer? Is it the Excessive Use of Common Salt, Salted Foods, and Salt Compounds? (which book was reviewed in Cancer, Vol. III, No. 2, January, 1926) brought the incident to my mind.

“I may add that another lady patient, aged about 50, with cancer of the breast, has just been directed very carefully to cut out all salt, and to make no other change in treatment, and we will see the results in a couple of weeks, no longer.”

Frederick L. Hoffman, M.D., who was a lawyer, physician and statistician, a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, and statistician for the Prudential Insurance Company of America, gathered enormous quantities of material about salt. In his book, “Cancer and Diet,” he tells of the harm of salt dating back to 1839. Hoffman says, “Those who believe that excessive salt consumption is a factor in cancer causation may derive much support for their views from the fact that a low rate of salt consumption coincides with a low rate of frequency in cancer occurrence.”

James Braithwaite, M.D., one of the earliest writers on salt and cancer, wrote a book called, “Excess of Salt in the Diet and Three Other Factors, the Probable Causes of Cancer.” Braithwaite claims that salt does harm because it is not a food but an inorganic chemical. He claims that salt is a stimulant to cell metabolism and that too much salt is dangerous. He stresses that salt is not a food but an inorganic chemical stimulant.

Back around 1910, Frederick T. Marwood, a layman, wrote a book entitled “What is the Root Cause of Cancer? Is it the Excessive Consumption of Common Salt, Salted Foods and Salt Compounds?” He “investigated over 100 cancer deaths and in every instance, excepting one, I have found the victims have been abnormally fond of salt and salted foods, or had taken aperient salts daily for many years. The exceptional case referred to was one of a female who, as far as I could trace, had not shown any particular partiality for salt but was admittedly a ‘big eater’ which, with normal modern diet, implies an extra consumption of salt.”

Here is a list of various conditions or illnesses said to be caused by salt in amounts ranging from light to heavy: headaches, insomnia, migraine, heart disease, hives, kidney ailments, Meniere’s disease, dropsy, cirrhosis of the liver, colds, sinus conditions, hearing problems, epilepsy, nervous tension, rheumatism, arthritis, obesity and eclampsia of pregnancy. A low sodium diet reduces the tension of the pre-menstrual state. Salt has been found to be a leading factor in miscarriage.

One gram of salt holds or ties up 70 grams of water. Excess salt can cause the body to carry about an extra gallon and a half of fluid without one’s knowing it. Well, anyone can readily understand the danger in such an overload as that! Furthermore, salt excites thirst and causes an increased flow of saliva, which in turn creates an appetite.

Some people are genuinely concerned that a low salt diet or a salt-free diet can cause trouble. They firmly believe that the body cannot function without salt …. and with this thesis I firmly agree. However, even if you don’t add any salt to your food at all, you will still get 1/2 to I gram of natural salt per day from the food itself. Now listen to this….

The renowned Ragnar Berg, one of the great early physiologists and top ranking scientists, removed all salt from the diets of a group of researchers for a whole year, yet those taking part in the experiment were still excreting salt at the time the experiment ended. Thus, as long as you are eating a proper diet, especially a diet that contains ample raw vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts, you will still be getting more salt than the body can use.

Once and for all, we should lay to rest the much touted but erroneous belief that if we perspire a lot we need to take salt tablets to replace the sodium chloride lost in the perspiration. In The Year Book of Agriculture, 1939, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this salt intake was considered necessary, but in The Year Book of Agriculture, 1959, it was considered redundant. Time changes many things.

In my ‘Salt’ book, published in 1965, I pointed out that table salt is injurious to the animal body. Twelve years have passed since I wrote that book and my updated comment is, “Salt is even more deletorious to the human or animal anatomy than I first realized. Omit salt from your diet and add years to your life.”

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Adam Brookover

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