Salt, like fat, has gotten a bad wrap over the years. We have all heard that salt causes hypertension or high blood pressure which can lead to atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and early death. So much fear is associated with this, that we have attempted to remove all salt from our diets. Our salt shakers stay tucked away. When a recipe calls for “salt to taste” we assume it means it’s actually unnecessary.
What I aim to do here is bring the light onto salt to understand how it actually is essential to life and avoiding it at all costs can have a negative impact on your health and function. This blog is not a treatment for heart disease, rather an acknowledgement of the importance of essential electrolytes that we cannot survive without. (In case you were wondering, people sensitive to salt do in fact result in a hypertensive response, BUT this is a small portion of the population and those with renal disease are the most salt sensitive.)
Pain is a subjective experience determined by a localized response and a behavioral response. The localized response is driven by the pain receptors (mechanical, heat and chemical receptors) and nerve endings in the tissue of the injury or damaged area. This information is transmitted to the spinal cord via afferent nociceptors. At the spinal cord the message is relayed through a well-defined pathway to the higher centers in the brain. It is at the higher centers that the behavioral response is stimulated to begin behaviors that are directed at relieving or terminating the experience of pain.
The importance of Vitamin D cannot be ignored. Vitamin D is a natural conversion of blood cholesterol in the presence of UVB spectrum sunlight hitting the skin. Specifically related to intestinal permeability, Vitamin D3 has been shown to preserve epithelial barrier function in the presence of intestinal injury, be it Crohn’s disease or ethanol-induced or poor lifestyle choices. The free source of vitamin D3 is full sun exposure to a majority of your skin, without burning. Yet, during certain times of the year or even job requirements, it is not possible to get the needed skin exposure to produce adequate and therapeutic amounts. You can check your area for when the sun is above the 50 degrees altitude in order to provide UV B exposure for Vitamin D conversion. Spending five to ten minutes for fair skin during peak UV B exposure on a large portion of skin is the most effective and efficient. It’s important to gauge your skins response to avoid burning.
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.