The past couple of weeks have been hell to say the least.
I have just completed my Obstetrics block for the last time as a student intern and for the second last time as a Doctor (the next, and absolute last, time I will have to do it is as an intern). I have absolutely no interest in the profession and find it quite laborious. The way conditions are managed is based on observational evidence which weighs up the, often theoretical, risks and benefits of certain interventions – there is little scientific basis and different colleges and institutions follow slightly different protocols. My brain is too scientific to accept such arbitrary things! 🙂 However, now that I’ve said that, this blog post is largely theoretical as there are few clinical studies that have been done on the topic – a common issue when dealing with more natural forms of medicine! If anyone has read the book “Bad Pharma”, you will have already heard about the atrocious manipulation of research by pharmaceutical companies and governmental organisations in the pursuit of profit. So, alas, if there aren’t any sponsors, no research will be done, and we rely on anecdotal, often ancient, evidence of how some of these more natural methods have worked.
On completion of my block, it deserved to be celebrated with a good cup of coffee and a raw vegan carrot cake from one of my favourite places in Cape Town. As I was paying, the owner was shaking some pink liquid in a jar… what she called ‘Sole’. Sole is essentially Himalayan Salt Crystals dissolved in water to the point of saturation. Naturally, I had to research this more – another biohack to add to my repertoire, along with my daily turmeric milk at night and MCT oil pre-training (blog posts on these to be posted soon!)
Himalayan Salt comes from a mine in the Punjab region of Pakistan – it has been there for over 250 million years under extreme tectonic pressure and has very little exposure to environmental toxins. It is known as “white gold” and rightly so, containing the same 84 minerals found in the human body. Not surprisingly I guess, the evidence is sparse – I could only find 2 trials that have ever been done and honestly, the parameters they used as outcome measures were quite vague. But the anecdotal evidence was abundant with reports of increased energy throughout the day, better sleep, improved digestion, and enhanced muscle function and recovery. Theoretically, and scientifically, these claims all make sense.
- Blood sugar stabilisation: chromium plays a vital role in the production and regulation of insulin, vanadium has insulin-like effects on blood sugar, and magnesium is essential to the digestion of sugars and fats
- Digestion: magnesium has been shown to stimulate salivary glands in the mouth, hydrochloric acid production in the stomach, gallbladder contraction, and intestinal gland secretion – all providing the correct pH balance and necessary enzymes for digestion
- Muscle contraction and cramps: Himalayan salt is a source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium which are essential minerals in both nerve conduction to the muscle as well as the contraction of the muscle itself, and deficiencies often result in dreaded cramps – if anyone has ever engaged in intense activity, you will probably have first-hand experience of this; I used to get incredibly painful cramps in my calves at night during times of intense training bouts if I was not supplementing with magnesium
- Stabilisation of neuromuscular membranes: although the mechanism is not completely clear, magnesium is used to prevent seizures in pregnant patients with pre-eclampsia (the pathology of which is widespread blood vessel dysfunction) and is also used to treat some cases of acute cardiac arrhythmia. It is thought to effect this through vessel dilatation, blocking of calcium influx into cells to inhibit contraction, and decreasing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. How is this relevant to you? These same mechanisms operate in health too, aiding blood pressure regulation, relieving anxiety and restlessness, and promoting restful sleep.
- Adrenal support: most of us live chronically stressful lifestyles, whether it be work, studies, or even training, and although not recognised by conventional medicine, adrenal fatigue is commonplace. Himalayan salt helps to take a load off the adrenals by performing functions which would usually require hormone release: salt raises blood pressure in the morning, avoiding the surge of adrenalin required by the adrenals, and it also enhances hydration through the process of osmosis, which relieves the role of aldosterone that usually has to step in to effect salt retention by the kidneys in order to maintain water balance
So great benefits right? Now how can we implement it practically…
1 jar filled 1/4 of the way with big Himalayan Rock Salt pieces and then filled to the top with spring water – seal preferably with a plastic lid (salt and metal aren’t a great match) and leave overnight to saturate – the water is fully saturated when there are still a few crystals lying at the bottom that were unable to dissolve
Then every morning you take one teaspoon of the brine in one glass of water
Supports the adrenals, cleans out the GI system, and provides a hydration boost! All before you’ve had time to switch on the kettle for some coffee and MCT oil! #biohack #youreawesome #superhero 😉
Here‘s a link to a podcast I recently listened to which makes reference to the power of Himalayan Salt – it’s hosted by Abel James (The Fat Burning Man) and he interviews Elle Russ, the author of The Paleo Thyroid Solution, who solved her own thyroid issues through lifestyle.
Small changes, big results – time to give it a go 🙂
More posts soon – feedback always appreciated! Have a healthy week xxx