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4 Salt Water Benefits and Major Drawbacks

The practice of drinking salt water, be it for bathing, rinsing, or drinking, is becoming increasingly popular. Gone are the days that limit it to the beach. Salt water benefits are plentiful. Let’s take a look at this trend and some of the salt water benefits.

Salt Water and Sea Water

An image of someone adding salt to a glass of waterThe term salt water is pretty self-explanatory: it’s water with dissolved salt. Salt water is found naturally in sea water and can also be made manually by mixing table salt in water.

Sea water not only contains salt (or sodium chloride, technically speaking), but it also contains additional minerals. The sea water gets its salt from the water moving over the land and rocks. The minerals of the rocks eventually break down and enter the water, making salt water. This results in seawater containing a combination of different salts and minerals.

Salt water made manually contains the sodium chloride from the addition of table salt and contains the minerals already present in the water. The make-up of this water is slightly different from sea water, as it has the addition of table salt instead of salts from rocks.

Top 4 Salt Water Benefits

Salt water can be used in many different ways. It can be ingested, gargled, or used as a rinse or wash. This can result in a range of salt water benefits for your health.

Benefit #1: Skin Care

You may have found that after swimming in the sea, your skin appears dry. Salt water has the effect of drying the skin out. This is beneficial if there is an excess of oil and if you are experiencing acne. Whilst it’s not a stand-alone remedy for acne, it can provide some relief and can aid in clearing your skin.

If you would like to use salt water in your skincare regimen, try to opt for a fine salt rather than coarse salt when you make your salt water. When using the salt water, use it as a wash, and don’t scrub your skin. This can be effective if done as little as once or twice a week.

Not only does salt water help with acne, but it can also benefit other skincare conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and it can help to reduce allergic skin reactions.

Benefit #2: Flushing Out Toxins

Salt water can be abrasive and not as smooth as fresh water. This abrasiveness can be beneficial to your digestive tract. When you drink salt water, the salt water gently scrapes the walls of your gut and can help to push any toxins in your gut through the digestive tract.

The amount of water needed for this is not a lot and can be done with two teaspoons of salt in four cups of water. This can be used for general health or it can be used if you are not feeling well. If you do plan to drink salt water, make sure you are by a restroom - the reaction from drinking salt water can be pretty prompt!

Benefit #3: Aiding Digestion

The many salt water benefits also extend to your digestion. When you eat food, the digestion starts in your mouth during the chewing process. Saliva contains proteins, known as enzymes, that help to break down the food. When you drink salt water, the salt triggers your body to make more saliva.

As a result of this, it enhances your body's ability to break down food. The salt in the water also stimulates your stomach to produce more hydrochloric acid. This acid is responsible for digesting the food when it reaches your stomach. A lack of this acid can result in feelings of indigestion and bloating. Salt water then can prevent these symptoms by aiding the production and function of the digestive acid in the stomach.

Benefit #4: Can Replace Lost Sodium

Sodium is an important electrolyte in your body. It plays a vital role in the functioning of your muscle and nerve cells. It also helps to regulate the fluid balance in your body.

Your body can lose sodium through sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea. Low levels of sodium are dangerous for the body and can result in muscle cramps, lightheadedness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting as well as confusion. Therefore, it is vital to maintain an adequate level of sodium in your body.

Salt water contains salt in the form of sodium chloride. Drinking salt water can thus help replenish your body’s sodium levels. It can help level out your blood pressure if you tend to be on the lower side.

Drawbacks of Salt water

An image of a woman holding her stomach in distressAfter reading about some of the salt water benefits, you may be keen to try it. But drinking salt water is not for everyone. Salt water, whilst it does have its benefits, also has its drawbacks.

Salt water, when consumed in excess, causes diarrhea, dehydration, and can damage your kidneys. It also does not contain all the electrolytes your body needs to function at its best, resulting in electrolyte imbalance in some cases.

Your kidneys act as filters in your body and help to get rid of toxins, waste products, and helps the body maintain a balance of electrolytes. If salt water is consumed in excess it can cause strain on your kidneys and can lead to kidney damage.

Because of this, individuals experiencing kidney conditions are advised not to drink salt water. If you would like to start using salt water and are currently experiencing a medical condition, chat with your healthcare provider for guidance.

One of the biggest drawbacks to drinking salt water is that, if you would like to replace lost sodium in your body, it is very difficult to determine your levels of sodium without having a blood test. This increases the risk of consuming too much sodium and can cause negative effects on your body. Salt water can also increase blood pressure, so shouldn't be taken in for those with high blood pressure.

Should I Try Sea Water or Salt Water?

Sea water has a higher concentration of salt than salt water, and though it’s ok to swallow a little accidentally whilst, swimming it can be dangerous to your health. The high concentration of salt overburdens your kidney and can dehydrate you.

Whilst man-made salt water also runs these risks, the concentration of salt can be better controlled, reducing the risk of kidney damage and dehydration.

Drinking Salt Water With Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is a cluster of symptoms that individuals experience as a result of chronic stress. The adrenal glands are two glands that support your body in times of stress by releasing hormones. If these adrenal glands are continuously stimulated through chronic stress, these hormones can become depleted. This results in AFS.

The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) system supports your adrenal glands. Six circuits of related organ systems make up the NEM. The Cardionomic circuit consists of the adrenal glands, cardiovascular system, and autonomic nervous system. This circuit helps you to manage short-term stress.

During AFS, this circuit may become imbalanced. When it becomes imbalanced, it can lead to hormone imbalances that disrupt the electrolyte balance, increase the risk of dehydration, and cause a salt craving. This is a major symptom of AFS.

Drinking salt water to balance the electrolytes and satisfy the salt craving may do more harm than good. During AFS your body becomes very sensitive to external products such as salt water. If you make salt water yourself it is easier to control the concentration of salt. However, it is very difficult to determine how much salt you need to maintain optimal levels. This can result in further electrolyte imbalances and dehydration.

Conclusion

There are many salt water benefits, and some of them show promise in aiding health conditions such as skin conditions. But though these benefits are promising, there are also major drawbacks to drinking salt water. It is hard to tell how much salt your body needs, and easy to overdo the salt, leading to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and potentially more severe symptoms. It is always important to chat with your healthcare provider before using salt water as a remedy.

If you are interested in finding other ways to deal with skin conditions, electrolyte imbalance, or salt cravings, you can chat with our team at +1 (626) 571-1234 or click here.

© Copyright 2022 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Saline solution is a form of salt water. It contains a similar salt concentration to your sweat and tears. This solution is made with purified water, has a controlled amount of salt, and is sterilized. This solution is often used for medical uses such as rinsing, gargling, and cleaning the skin.

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