Using Salt to Optimize Mental & Physical Performance | Episode 63 - Deepstash
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Brain-Gut Connection & Its Role In Taste

Brain-Gut Connection & Its Role In Taste

  • Neurons activated in the gut are activated when sugar, fatty acids, and amino acids are present
  • Nerve cells in the gut are collecting information about what’s there and send that information up to the brain
  • Neuropod cells sense nutrients, particularly sugar, which activates areas of the brain that cause you to seek out more of that food
  • The selective preference for seeking out sweet foods occurs even if you can’t taste the food and it is injected straight into the gut
  • The gut can detect the difference between sweet things that contain calories and things that do not (artificial sweeteners)


654 reads

General Functions Of Salt

General Functions Of Salt

  • Fluid balance: salt regulates how much fluid you desire and how much you excrete
  • Salt appetite: you crave salty things when salt stores are low and avoid salt when stores are high
  • Nutrient appetite: salt regulates appetite for sugar, carbohydrates, and other nutrients
  • Scientifically, table salt and sodium are not the same things – one gram of table salt contains 388 mg of sodium


559 reads

Functions Of Salt In The Brain

The blood-brain barrier prevents substances from entering the brain unless those substances are very small or required for brain function – but there are special areas (organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis; OVLT) that monitor salt and osmolarity sense contents of blood and salt levels

OVLT detects changes to salt levels in bloodstream and sends signaling cascades accordingly – thirst, regulation of blood pressure, kidney function, secretion of salt


516 reads

Types of thirst

Types of thirst

  1. Osmotic thirst (concentration of salt in the bloodstream);
  2. Hypovolemic thirst (thirst related to drop in blood pressure)

The cascades are set off for concentrations of both high and low sodium in the blood.

  • Osmotic and hypovolemic thirst are not just about seeking water – they’re also about seeking salt which can help retain water
  • Sodium engages the action potential, which is the firing of electrical signals by neurons
  • If you ingest too much water (this requires A LOT of water), you will actually kill yourself because you’ll disrupt the body’s ability to communicate, brain, and neurons


448 reads

Kidneys: It’s a complicated, highly contextual balance between hormones, salt, and fluid

  • The kidneys are responsible for retaining and releasing substances in the body such as glucose, amino acids, urea, uric acids, salt, potassium, etc.
  • Very general mechanism: blood enters the kidney and responds to hormonal signals to make mechanical or chemical changes to retain or release substances accordingly
  • Your urine is filtered blood!
  • Vasopressin: anti-diuretic which prevents urination by increasing permeability of distal tubes
  • Water follows salt: the kidney holds on to water in the body when it needs salt
  • When estrogen levels are high, there’s water retention


418 reads

Blood Pressure And Salt Intake

Blood Pressure And Salt Intake

  • Blood pressure is in part regulated by sodium intake and sodium balance
  • An increase in sodium could help combat symptoms of low blood pressure
  • Historically, we’ve been taught that a high salt diet may be consequential for brain function
  • However, high salt diets are likely related to other unhealthy factors like processed foods, poor balance of carbohydrate and fat, etc.
  • A high salt diet can have detrimental health consequences – but – a very low salt diet can also have deleterious health events


382 reads

Mental & Physical Aspects Of Cravings For Sodium

  • There’s a direct relationship between the stress system (glucocorticoid system) and the salt craving system
  • Bringing sodium in the body counteracts or resists stressors in our lives
  • If sodium is too low, our ability to combat stressors is impaired
  • If you’re feeling anxious, slightly increasing sodium intake can stabilize blood pressure and ability to lean into stressors and challenges
  • Additional sodium intake is naturally stimulated by stress


403 reads

Other Related Minerals: Potassium

Other Related Minerals: Potassium

Sodium and potassium work closely together in the body. Recommended ratios of sodium to potassium vary widely

  • Diet is an important contextual element to your ideal sodium-potassium ratio
  • Low carb dieters excrete more water so lose sodium and potassium at a higher rate and may need to adjust dietary intake accordingly
  • If you are time-restricted eating or fasting you may want to consider increasing electrolytes if you ingest caffeine since caffeine is a diuretic
  • Rule of thumb: for every ounce of caffeine, drink 1.5x as much water with a touch of sodium


346 reads

Other Related Minerals: Magnesium

Other Related Minerals: Magnesium

  • There’s some evidence that supplementing with magnesium malate can reduce muscle soreness
  • Mangesium threonate may promote transition into sleep and cognitive function
  • Magnesium bisglycinate is an alternative for magnesium threonate as far as the transition to sleep, but no studies have been done on cognitive function
  • Magnesium citrate is an effective laxative


389 reads



Friend of animals everywhere. Hardcore internet enthusiast and avid reader. My favorite topic is how to live a healthy life


Conscious and unconscious salt intake and sensing modulate cravings for sugar, water, and other things have a direct relationship between the stress system (glucocorticoid system) and the salt craving system if you’re feeling anxious or stressed.


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