194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
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Unusually high salt intake

by (3979)
Updated October 23, 2014 at 4:15 AM
Created September 25, 2013 at 10:11 PM

I mean, VERY high. I'll eat 2 ounces of anchovies along with some other fish and avocado and veggies with another heaping teaspoon of salt. Meal after meal. I just feel great when I have a lot of salt, especially mentally. If I don't, I feel irritable, foggy, groggy, etc. With it I feel clear, calm, centered.

I'll eat 200% DV of sodium for every meal, 2 or 3x a day. What do you think this means about my body?

01f49b2c56fcbd16b030f36340f0487a
-1 · July 31, 2014 at 10:21 PM

"I did get my blood tested by a urologist a few years ago"

So this has been going on for a few years then. How's your blood pressure? conventional medicine would say that too much sodium may increase blood pressure, and potassium can lower/normalise blood pressure

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · July 31, 2014 at 4:24 AM

it was either deleted or contains what PH deems as a 'naughty' word

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · July 31, 2014 at 4:16 AM

my money's on a Magnesium deficiency as the primary culprit.

esp as you wrote previously; "I also did Dead Sea salt baths, which definitely replenish magnesium, and that temporarily reduced salt cravings, but after a few baths, it stopped having an effect on salt cravings (still was nice though)"

01f49b2c56fcbd16b030f36340f0487a
-1 · July 31, 2014 at 4:04 AM

"I *did* get my blood tested by a urologist a few years ago"

So this has been going on for a few years then. How's your blood pressure? conventional medicine would say that too much sodium may increase blood pressure, and potassium can lower/normalise blood pressure

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1
11 · July 31, 2014 at 1:55 AM

Do you eat 10 ounces in 10 days? So one ounce a day? That's 28 grams. The u.s. average is about 9 grams, so you would consume about three times the average. Maybe your real salt has less sodium than the average salt, which would mean you eat even less.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21916712

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1
11 · July 31, 2014 at 1:09 AM

If you consume veggies, maybe you have a good calcium intake despite not consuming milk. I'm hesitant to suggest supplements such as calcium carbonate as they risk the health of the kidney if one consumes too much (which changes from person to person).

Do you cook kale and such? You should.

For what it's worth, I don't think you'll become dependent on pregnenolone. I used it, it improved many symptoms, then stopped having an effect, and I dropped it (but the improvements remained).

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 31, 2014 at 1:03 AM

But alas, I am wary of artificially adding human hormones to my body. I'm afraid I would become dependent and not address the root cause. In the past, any supplement or hormone/neurotransmitter-related supplement I put in my body was eventually rejected by my body in various ways.

I wonder if there are natural ways to boost pregnenolone with diet and lifestyle changes.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 31, 2014 at 1:02 AM

I'm surprised you'd suggest I drop the fancy salts. I am anemic and most likely magnesium deficient, so I am naturally drawn to them. They also taste better. I still may try your suggestion, but I am highly doubtful it would have an effect.

What you say about hormones makes a lot of sense. The salt cravings turned up around the same time a major depression associated with sexual activity showed up. Enough salt in my system seems to clear up all these symptoms. I bet this is it.

[One more comment below...]

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 31, 2014 at 1:01 AM

My potassium intake varies, but usually it's pretty high. I don't do fruits for several reasons, for both mental and physical health. But I am usually pretty good about getting a lot of greens in, whether it's sauteed kale or kale juice, or apple cider vinegar. I think my potassium levels are ok. I can't see that comment either--I guess it disappeared into the abyss.

I also definitely can't do any kind of dairy/milk, due to my rheumatoid arthritis and itchy irritable reactions.

[to be continued in subsequent comments...]

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1
11 · July 31, 2014 at 12:38 AM

With things like sodium and sugar, I'm pretty sure your body tells you when you had enough. Try to eat as much salt as you can and see what happens. You'll quickly acquire a distaste for it.

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1
11 · July 31, 2014 at 12:23 AM

why can't I see the comment posted by the other user? I click "show 1", nothing happens.

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41452 · July 31, 2014 at 12:13 AM

He wants validation. He wants paleo to tell him that sodium doesn't matter. Or maybe he doesn't have a good handle on how often one should urinate (i.e. not every 12 minutes) or how much water he should drink daily (i.e. not 10 gallons)?

01f49b2c56fcbd16b030f36340f0487a
-1 · July 30, 2014 at 11:02 PM

i was just about to edit & mention that some 'electrolyte' tests are not that comprehensive.

really you need, Electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Bicarbonate.

Minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphate, Potassium.

Liver Function Tests.

Renal/Kidney Function Tests.

I expect there are others as well...

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 30, 2014 at 10:54 PM

Oh, I guess I forgot to mention... I *did* get my blood tested by a urologist a few years ago. electrolytes were normal.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · July 30, 2014 at 9:41 PM

& i vaguely remember something to do with caffeine consumption screwing with sodium levels &/or balance. so if you intake a fair bit of caffeine, it's probably worth a google: caffeine sodium

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455 · July 30, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Trololololololo XD

Dan: I eat a lot of salt! LOTS!

Matt: Stop.

Dan: Go F yourself!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41452 · July 30, 2014 at 1:34 PM

But can you tell the difference between instinct and whim/fancy? What of my Oreo craving? Instinct or whim?

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3979 · July 30, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I don't think you should worry if you feel fine. No need to force your body into doing something it doesn't want to do. Trust your instincts, trust your body's messages.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · July 30, 2014 at 8:22 AM

i vaguely remember something to do with caffeine consumption screwing with sodium levels &/or balance. so if you intake a fair bit of caffeine, it's probably worth a google: caffeine sodium

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 30, 2014 at 2:08 AM

Well screw you for not believing me, then.

141c6b3d5e9506dd93881e3f9737f297
55 · July 28, 2014 at 10:23 PM

"Doctors don't know what to make of it"

Did your doctors run blood tests ?

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41452 · July 28, 2014 at 1:54 PM

I'm not for validating folks' dysfunctional eating. 12X DV is not healthy, so stop it. Asking why is valid, though for vague benefits like 'sleep patterns, mood and mental clarity'… it's suspect.

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4393 · July 28, 2014 at 2:23 AM

post up all your blood tests etc so we have some hard data to look at.

do you have any other symptoms.

are you on any medications.

are you using iodized salt.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 27, 2014 at 8:42 PM

And just because it's "not normal" doesn't mean the solution is as simple as telling the person to stop or cut it down. There is obviously another problem underneath, and that is what this thread is about.

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41452 · July 27, 2014 at 7:19 PM

And there are people who love eating paper, drywall, etc… doesn't mean it's normal!

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41452 · July 27, 2014 at 6:27 PM

Gotta have calories, Oreos have calories. Valid comparison.

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3979 · July 27, 2014 at 6:03 PM

You can't compare salt to oreos. Oreos do not fulfil vital life processes in our body. It's more than just taste. I've tried going weeks cutting down on salt, and it just sucks. I feel lethargic and out of it, until I restock on salt again.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41452 · July 26, 2014 at 10:34 PM

You know, you can put down the salt shaker, you don't NEED 12x the DV… you simply like it. I like eating Oreos, that doesn't mean they're healthy when I eat 2-3 boxes in a sitting.

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245 · July 20, 2014 at 7:45 PM

.It's my understanding that you really want to work on reducing stress, as your body burns through the adrenals when you're stressed obviously. Other things that can help might be sleeping well, supplementing with something that will raise your blood pressure in the morning... so your body doesn't have to produce as much cortisol and things like supplementing proper vitamins ( B, C, Mag )

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 20, 2014 at 4:37 PM

I'm not ketogenic, not low carb.

I can buy into the adrenal insufficiency thing as a cause, but... then what? I've tried taking animal adrenal extracts and other supposedly adrenal-nourishing supplements, but they haven't healed the condition. No, the salt shaker I have holds 10oz (Real Salt, second best tasting salt in the world), and I go through one every 10 days.

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41452 · July 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM

That's not normal.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41452 · July 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Those recommendations are for sodium chloride, not sodium, I think. So it comes out to the normal 1500-2300 mg per day that everybody touts as healthy.

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3979 · July 20, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Yeah, I eat about 1 oz of salt a day, which is over 28 grams. 28g>7g. heh.

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4393 · September 26, 2013 at 4:10 AM

& if your urine is clear or close to clear, then you are likely over-hydrating & peeing away too many minerals/electrolytes that you bodies craves to be replenished

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · September 26, 2013 at 4:09 AM

& if your urine is clear or close to clear, then you are likely over-hydrating & peeing away too many minerals/electrolytes that you bodies craves to be replenished

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · September 26, 2013 at 2:35 AM

a magnesium deficiency could result in Hypokalemia (low blood potassium), which would probably screw up the balance of everything else as well, sodium etc

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · September 26, 2013 at 2:24 AM

so i was thinking along the lines that you have an 'electrolyte imbalance'.

if you sweated a lot (manual labour on a hot day) then you would expect to crave salts, to replace lost minerals/electrolytes, but not applicable to you.

if you urinate a lot you will lose minerals/electrolytes that need replacing.

may be worth getting some tests done if you can, ie. get your electrolytes tested & liver function tests (& anything else the Doc recommends).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · September 26, 2013 at 2:17 AM

yep, the comment issues are annoying.

& i just had nearly 10 goes at writing an answer to another question, which kept stuffing up the formatting. even a cut&paste from notepad ended up as 'code'

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12 Answers

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
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4393 · July 31, 2014 at 4:17 AM

"I am anemic and most likely magnesium deficient..."

My money's on a Magnesium deficiency as the primary culprit.

esp as you wrote previously; "I also did Dead Sea salt baths, which definitely replenish magnesium, and that temporarily reduced salt cravings, but after a few baths, it stopped having an effect on salt cravings (still was nice though)"

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1
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11 · July 31, 2014 at 12:22 AM

The first question I would ask would be: What's your potassium intake? Go on a binge of fruit juices to increase your potassium and see if something changes. I see somebody else asked that question, and when I click 'show' to see your answer in a comment, I don't see anything. What did you answer?

To the fruit juices I would also add milk, to have a high intake of both potassium and calcium. Maybe you need more alkaline minerals.

I would drop the fancy salts. They often come with a lot of unnecessary minerals/heavy metals/contaminants/excess iron. Consume the simplest salt you can find for a while and see what happens, like the non-iodized morton canning and pickling salt.

Excretion of sodium is regulated by hormones. If you're not afraid of pregnenolone, I would use it for a week to see if it restores some degree of hormonal balance. Life Extension Pregnenolone 100 mg is one that used for a while. If you're going to use another brand make sure it doesn't have bad additives.

Do you recall when the cravings started? Was that shortly after a change in diet, supplements, or activity?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · July 31, 2014 at 4:16 AM

my money's on a Magnesium deficiency as the primary culprit.

esp as you wrote previously; "I also did Dead Sea salt baths, which definitely replenish magnesium, and that temporarily reduced salt cravings, but after a few baths, it stopped having an effect on salt cravings (still was nice though)"

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 31, 2014 at 1:02 AM

I'm surprised you'd suggest I drop the fancy salts. I am anemic and most likely magnesium deficient, so I am naturally drawn to them. They also taste better. I still may try your suggestion, but I am highly doubtful it would have an effect.

What you say about hormones makes a lot of sense. The salt cravings turned up around the same time a major depression associated with sexual activity showed up. Enough salt in my system seems to clear up all these symptoms. I bet this is it.

[One more comment below...]

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 31, 2014 at 1:01 AM

My potassium intake varies, but usually it's pretty high. I don't do fruits for several reasons, for both mental and physical health. But I am usually pretty good about getting a lot of greens in, whether it's sauteed kale or kale juice, or apple cider vinegar. I think my potassium levels are ok. I can't see that comment either--I guess it disappeared into the abyss.

I also definitely can't do any kind of dairy/milk, due to my rheumatoid arthritis and itchy irritable reactions.

[to be continued in subsequent comments...]

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 31, 2014 at 1:03 AM

But alas, I am wary of artificially adding human hormones to my body. I'm afraid I would become dependent and not address the root cause. In the past, any supplement or hormone/neurotransmitter-related supplement I put in my body was eventually rejected by my body in various ways.

I wonder if there are natural ways to boost pregnenolone with diet and lifestyle changes.

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1
11 · July 31, 2014 at 1:09 AM

If you consume veggies, maybe you have a good calcium intake despite not consuming milk. I'm hesitant to suggest supplements such as calcium carbonate as they risk the health of the kidney if one consumes too much (which changes from person to person).

Do you cook kale and such? You should.

For what it's worth, I don't think you'll become dependent on pregnenolone. I used it, it improved many symptoms, then stopped having an effect, and I dropped it (but the improvements remained).

01f49b2c56fcbd16b030f36340f0487a
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-1 · July 30, 2014 at 10:12 PM

If you want to get to the bottom of this, get your doctors to run some blood tests.

...& post up the findings, they could be interesting.

as another commenter mentioned earlier (last year)...get your electrolytes tested, liver function tests & anything else the Docs recommend

Edit: some 'electrolyte' tests are not that comprehensive. really you need,

Electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Bicarbonate.

Minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphate, Potassium.

Liver Function Tests.

Renal/Kidney Function Tests.

I expect there are others as well...

01f49b2c56fcbd16b030f36340f0487a
-1 · July 30, 2014 at 11:02 PM

i was just about to edit & mention that some 'electrolyte' tests are not that comprehensive.

really you need, Electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Bicarbonate.

Minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphate, Potassium.

Liver Function Tests.

Renal/Kidney Function Tests.

I expect there are others as well...

01f49b2c56fcbd16b030f36340f0487a
-1 · July 31, 2014 at 4:04 AM

"I *did* get my blood tested by a urologist a few years ago"

So this has been going on for a few years then. How's your blood pressure? conventional medicine would say that too much sodium may increase blood pressure, and potassium can lower/normalise blood pressure

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 30, 2014 at 10:54 PM

Oh, I guess I forgot to mention... I *did* get my blood tested by a urologist a few years ago. electrolytes were normal.

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455 · July 30, 2014 at 4:53 PM

What do you want to hear? It seems like you're here asking this question looking for an answer like: "OMG, you're so cool! I wish I could eat 50 pounds of salt a day too! OMG, when I grow up I want to be like youuuuu!!!"

Look man, if you want to eat a bucket of salt everyday that's your call, but it's a really stupid idea. It doesn't say much about your body other than you like salty food. There's nothing else to say.

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41452 · July 31, 2014 at 12:13 AM

He wants validation. He wants paleo to tell him that sodium doesn't matter. Or maybe he doesn't have a good handle on how often one should urinate (i.e. not every 12 minutes) or how much water he should drink daily (i.e. not 10 gallons)?

B8139a868ab2e819ca6e582f1f064426
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5 · July 30, 2014 at 9:43 AM

I seem to have the opposite problem low sodium intake but oddly enough I don't get any symptoms and feel fine, should I worry about low sodium intake I don't use salt of any kind and eat lots of vegetables. Perhaps I should eat more olives.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 30, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I don't think you should worry if you feel fine. No need to force your body into doing something it doesn't want to do. Trust your instincts, trust your body's messages.

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3979 · July 27, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Invalid comparison. You can live without oreos. You can't live without salt. If you're going to insist that it's just a taste thing, this conversation is over. Salt makes my body feel completely different (better). It affects my sleep patterns, my mood, mental clarity, etc... all the things *electrolytes* should do.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41452 · July 27, 2014 at 7:19 PM

And there are people who love eating paper, drywall, etc… doesn't mean it's normal!

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 27, 2014 at 8:42 PM

And just because it's "not normal" doesn't mean the solution is as simple as telling the person to stop or cut it down. There is obviously another problem underneath, and that is what this thread is about.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
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3979 · July 27, 2014 at 6:03 PM

You can't compare salt to oreos. Oreos do not fulfil vital life processes in our body. It's more than just taste. I've tried going weeks cutting down on salt, and it just sucks. I feel lethargic and out of it, until I restock on salt again.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
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3979 · July 26, 2014 at 10:28 PM

Update: I just did some recalculations, and it turns out I eat TWELVE TIMES the recommended DV of sodium/salt per day. And it's showing no sign of stopping. It's really weird, and a little scary. I still need help on this. Doctors don't know what to make of it.

141c6b3d5e9506dd93881e3f9737f297
55 · July 28, 2014 at 10:23 PM

"Doctors don't know what to make of it"

Did your doctors run blood tests ?

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1
11 · July 31, 2014 at 1:55 AM

Do you eat 10 ounces in 10 days? So one ounce a day? That's 28 grams. The u.s. average is about 9 grams, so you would consume about three times the average. Maybe your real salt has less sodium than the average salt, which would mean you eat even less.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21916712

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · July 28, 2014 at 2:23 AM

post up all your blood tests etc so we have some hard data to look at.

do you have any other symptoms.

are you on any medications.

are you using iodized salt.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · July 30, 2014 at 9:41 PM

& i vaguely remember something to do with caffeine consumption screwing with sodium levels &/or balance. so if you intake a fair bit of caffeine, it's probably worth a google: caffeine sodium

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41452 · July 26, 2014 at 10:34 PM

You know, you can put down the salt shaker, you don't NEED 12x the DV… you simply like it. I like eating Oreos, that doesn't mean they're healthy when I eat 2-3 boxes in a sitting.

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9
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245 · July 20, 2014 at 3:36 PM

On other possibilities:

People that eat ketogenic require more salt I believe.

Also people with adrenal insufficiency require or could use more salt in general.

28 grams does seem high though, are you going through like a half salt shaker of salt each day??

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
3979 · July 20, 2014 at 4:37 PM

I'm not ketogenic, not low carb.

I can buy into the adrenal insufficiency thing as a cause, but... then what? I've tried taking animal adrenal extracts and other supposedly adrenal-nourishing supplements, but they haven't healed the condition. No, the salt shaker I have holds 10oz (Real Salt, second best tasting salt in the world), and I go through one every 10 days.

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529 · September 26, 2013 at 5:03 AM

Most Paleo sources say that 4-6g of sodium a day is optimal, and going under 3g or over 7g is associated with significantly increased mortality.

I recently weighed out how much sodium I was eating (about 7g in a tablespoon of table salt, I believe) and it was waaay beyond 7g a day.

I love salt, but I'm cutting back now. I use more acids in my cooking (usually white vinegar) and it's helped a lot.

If you crave salt, you might want to research aldosterone and adrenal fatigue syndrome.

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3979 · July 20, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Yeah, I eat about 1 oz of salt a day, which is over 28 grams. 28g>7g. heh.

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41452 · July 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Those recommendations are for sodium chloride, not sodium, I think. So it comes out to the normal 1500-2300 mg per day that everybody touts as healthy.

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3979 · September 26, 2013 at 2:04 AM

I don't think I sweat any more than the average person. I urinate often, because I hydrate very well. I can't tell if I consume the salt to balance out how much I hydrate, or hydrate so much to balance out all the salt I eat, or both at the same time. Potassium varies depending on how much veggies I'm eating, but it doesn't seem to affect salt cravings. Usually it's enough, since I eat lots of avocados and often veggies. Magnesium, not so much. I did try supplementing with natural calm for a while, and it didn't seem to affect anything. I also did Dead Sea salt baths, which definitely replenish magnesium, and that temporarily reduced salt cravings, but after a few baths, it stopped having an effect on salt cravings (still was nice though). For some reason I couldn't type this as a comment. Oh well. I don't think I like the new PaleoHacks format.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · September 26, 2013 at 4:10 AM

& if your urine is clear or close to clear, then you are likely over-hydrating & peeing away too many minerals/electrolytes that you bodies craves to be replenished

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · September 26, 2013 at 2:35 AM

a magnesium deficiency could result in Hypokalemia (low blood potassium), which would probably screw up the balance of everything else as well, sodium etc

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · September 26, 2013 at 2:24 AM

so i was thinking along the lines that you have an 'electrolyte imbalance'.

if you sweated a lot (manual labour on a hot day) then you would expect to crave salts, to replace lost minerals/electrolytes, but not applicable to you.

if you urinate a lot you will lose minerals/electrolytes that need replacing.

may be worth getting some tests done if you can, ie. get your electrolytes tested & liver function tests (& anything else the Doc recommends).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · September 26, 2013 at 2:17 AM

yep, the comment issues are annoying.

& i just had nearly 10 goes at writing an answer to another question, which kept stuffing up the formatting. even a cut&paste from notepad ended up as 'code'

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · July 30, 2014 at 8:22 AM

i vaguely remember something to do with caffeine consumption screwing with sodium levels &/or balance. so if you intake a fair bit of caffeine, it's probably worth a google: caffeine sodium

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
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4393 · September 26, 2013 at 12:53 AM

just a few thoughts/questions,

do you sweat a lot?

do you urinate a lot/often?

what is your potassium intake like? (US DRI for potassium is three times greater than sodium, 4.7g vs 1.5g for adults).

what is your magnesium intake like? (US DRI ~400mg for adult male).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · September 26, 2013 at 4:09 AM

& if your urine is clear or close to clear, then you are likely over-hydrating & peeing away too many minerals/electrolytes that you bodies craves to be replenished

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1
11 · July 31, 2014 at 12:23 AM

why can't I see the comment posted by the other user? I click "show 1", nothing happens.

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