Salt and Physiology

The Link Between Salt and Physiology and Exploring Salt Substitutes

Jul 01, 2024

Salt has been a vital part of human civilization for millennia, as a seasoning and preservative and as a crucial element for maintaining physiological homeostasis.

Understanding the relationship between salt and physiology is essential for appreciating its importance in health and disease. Considering salt substitutes as alternatives further highlights the importance of managing salt intake effectively for overall well-being.

How Salt Influences the Human Body

When you consume too much salt, your body retains water to dilute the excess sodium. This increases your blood volume and can lead to symptoms like excessive thirst, bloating, and a rise in blood pressure. If this becomes a regular habit, it puts strain on your heart, blood vessels, and kidneys, potentially leading to long-term health issues.

What Are Signs of Too Much Salt: Avoid High Sodium Intake

Consuming excessive salt or sodium can lead to various symptoms and effects on the body.

If you consume too much sodium, your body will have trouble balancing fluids, resulting in bloating and discomfort, particularly in the abdominal region. 

You might also experience increased thirst and more urination since the body is trying to eliminate excess sodium. 

Over time, consistently high sodium intake can contribute to elevated 

  • blood pressure
  • swelling (especially in the hands and feet) 
  • headaches
  • fatigue, and 
  • palpitations. 

Monitoring your sodium intake and making mindful choices like switching to plant-based salt substitutes can help prevent these symptoms and support better overall health.

Effect of Salt on the Human Body

While it's important to be aware of the immediate effects of consuming too much salt, the long-term consequences are also significant.

  1. Balancing Fluids and Blood Pressure

Salt, specifically sodium, helps keep the right balance of fluids in your body. It attracts water, essential for hydration and ensuring your cells work properly. Sodium also plays a significant role in controlling blood pressure by regulating blood volume. Too much salt, though, can throw this balance off and lead to issues like high blood pressure and heart problems.


Dehydration or Overhydration: An imbalance in sodium levels can affect your hydration status.

Hypertension: Too much salt can raise blood pressure, putting you at risk for kidney problems and heart disease.

  1. Supporting Nerve and Muscle Function

Sodium is like the conductor in your body's orchestra, helping nerves send signals and muscles contract. When a nerve tells a muscle to move, sodium rushes in to make it happen. Without enough sodium, your nerves and muscles can't communicate properly.


Muscle Cramps and Weakness: Low sodium levels can lead to cramps and muscle weakness.

Nerve Issues: Insufficient sodium can cause nerve problems, affecting how you feel and move.

  1. Aiding Digestion and Maintaining pH Balance

Salt is also essential for digestion. Chloride in salt helps your stomach produce acid that breaks down food and absorbs nutrients. Sodium and chloride work together to stabilize your body's pH levels, which is crucial for overall health.


Digestive Problems: Not enough chloride can lead to poor digestion and nutrient absorption.

pH Imbalance: Incorrect sodium and chloride levels can affect your body's acidity, affecting how organs work.

What are the effects of low salt levels in the body?

When salt levels drop too low, a condition known as hyponatremia, symptoms such as nausea,

  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Fatigue, and 
  • Confusion can occur. 

It can cause seizures, comas, or even death in extreme cases. This condition is more common in older adults, who often take medications or have health issues that contribute to the risk.

What are effective ways to balance salt in your body?

Too much sodium can adversely affect health, while too little can be equally challenging to balance. Maintaining a proper sodium balance is crucial for overall well-being.

It can be achieved through simple lifestyle adjustments and incorporating plant-based salt substitutes.

✔️ Hydrate regularly and keep your body moving or exercise regularly to help normalize sodium levels.

✔️ Ensure you consume enough potassium, which works with sodium to maintain blood pressure and heart health.

✔️ Use low-sodium salt substitutes to minimize sodium consumption.

✔️ A plant-based diet can help, offering lower sodium and higher potassium options.

Considering Salt Substitutes by Replacing Regular Salt.

Salt substitutes are worth considering if you're thinking about cutting back on salt. Often, they use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride, which can keep your food tasting great while reducing the risks associated with too much sodium.


  • Lower Blood Pressure: Using salt substitutes can help manage blood pressure and reduce heart disease risks.
  • Great Taste: They still give your food that salty kick without the health concerns of regular salt.

Understanding the Relationship Between Potassium and Sodium

Potassium and sodium are essential minerals that work together to keep our bodies functioning properly. 

Here's how they play key roles in our health:

Maintaining Fluid Balance: Potassium and sodium help regulate the balance of fluids inside and outside our cells. Sodium is mostly found outside cells, while potassium resides inside. This balance is crucial for cell function and overall hydration.

Nerve and Muscle Function: Both minerals are involved in nerve transmission and muscle contraction. Sodium generates electrical signals that enable nerves to communicate, while potassium helps nerves return to a resting state after transmission. In muscles, sodium triggers contractions, and potassium relaxes them afterward, ensuring smooth movement.

Blood Pressure Regulation: Sodium tends to increase blood pressure by retaining fluid, while potassium helps lower it by relaxing blood vessels and promoting the excretion of excess sodium through urine.

Kidney Health: We rely on our kidneys to maintain a healthy sodium and potassium level. They filter these electrolytes, adjusting their levels based on the body's needs to maintain balance.

Balanced Diet: A diet rich in potassium (found in fruits, vegetables, and legumes) and moderate in sodium (avoiding processed and salty foods) supports a healthy heart and reduces high blood pressure.

As we know how potassium and sodium are linked, look for potassium-rich and low-sodium salt substitutes by replacing traditional table salt.

Final Thoughts

Salt is crucial for many bodily functions, from keeping fluids balanced and regulating blood pressure to supporting nerve function and aiding digestion. Moderation is key to avoiding health problems associated with excess salt. 

Exploring salt substitutes can be smart for managing your salt intake while enjoying flavorful meals. 

At SaltWise, we believe in promoting health through mindful choices. 

Our Salicornia Green Salt and Salicornia White Salt, with their low sodium and high potassium content, offer a nutritious salt substitute for traditional table salt. 

By choosing our salts, you're not just seasoning your food—you're positively impacting your health and overall well-being.

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