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Thinkin Bout Things, not COVID for a change, but salt

With a bit of time, even things like the COVID virus are accommodated by our fears and broader concerns bubble back up.  One of the challenges faced by a lot of people with serious chronic illness is that they are alone physically or emotionally.

As I think about these past weeks and staying at home I realize that I am so very fortunate. My wife Rosemary makes my days in isolation a joy rather than a burden but I see messages in our patient forums that break my heart from people who are literally dying deaths of despair.  If you are well enough, reach out to those you know who are lonely. Chronic illness is difficult enough without having to do it alone.

Click the picture below for a link to a bit of fun on the subject of introspection. Many of you are old enough to remember this but it may be meaningful to our younger folks as well. (The picture isn't related, I just like it)



That was fun, but this article is about salt. We get a lot of questions about salt and our recommendation is to use less of it, a lot less. Just as a review you might look at our comments about a diet supportive of NASH.


We talk a lot about fructose and how bad it is for you.  If you would like a refresher on that here is a link to a short video explanation


The usual reason given to limit salt is about fluid retention and issues like edema.  We all know about those but there is another reason that we say to really cut down on salt.  A common recommendation is 2000 mg per day, but personally I prefer 1000 to 1200 as a target.

Research has shown, and this comes from work on kidney disease, that increased serum sodium triggers an enzyme called aldose reductase which causes the liver to convert glucose to fructose.  This is particularly a challenge for diabetes patients because they often have elevated blood glucose levels.  That is bad enough, but if you trigger the aldose enyzme the risk of developing a fatty liver is increased and that also puts extra stress on the kidneys.

Just think of that for a minute.  You are working to avoid fructose because you know it is a problem for fatty liver and your love of salty snacks is sabotaging you. This is really an example of how the broad range of comorbid conditions develop over time.  You may have symptoms because of one organ system or another but in reality they are all intertwined and present problems based upon your particular genetics and the health risks you have in your life.

There are a number of reasons why too much salt is bad for you but I imagine this one wasn't on your list. Just a reminder of how complex the chemistry of the body really is and why reading the labels on the food you buy matters.

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