Your doctor has probably told you to cut back on salt, especially if you have high blood pressure. For years we’ve understood that excess salt raises blood pressure and increases deaths from heart disease. The guilty element is sodium, which pairs with chloride to form common salt. So when the journal Lancet recently published a study reporting that low dietary sodium was associated with an increased risk of heart disease and death, controversy was predictable.

A wealth of rigorous scientific studies supports a link between excess sodium intake and high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Yet the Lancet paper reported that people who consumed both high sodium and low sodium diets were more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and death. They concluded that a “moderate” intake of 4-5 grams of sodium daily was the best goal. To put this into perspective, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set an upper limit of 2.3 grams (2,300 mg) daily for most Americans, while the American Heart Association recommends even less, limiting sodium to 1.5 grams (1,500 mg) daily for most people. The average American diet, considered much too high in sodium, contains around 4 grams of sodium.

It’s frustrating to read studies that seem to contradict dogma. They can undermine our faith in science altogether. Therefore, we must carefully analyze all study details to learn whether new science is being discovered, or whether bad science is being reported. And in the case of the sodium story, most experts and an enormous body of evidence support the conclusion that the recent study is flawed.

Studies that measure sodium intake use different methods. The gold-standard, with the highest level of scientific rigor, would be a randomized-controlled trial. That would mean half of a large population eats a high sodium diet and half eats a low sodium diet. Every single food item consumed over weeks, months and years would have to be measured for sodium content. Plus, no one would know which group they were in. Obviously this is not just impractical, it is impossible. So we look for short-cuts, and for indirect measures of dietary sodium.

The best available method for large groups is to measure urinary sodium as a substitute for dietary sodium. Instead of measuring what goes in, we measure what comes out. But the dietary sodium intake of most people is not at all constant. It has wide swings, ranging from very low to extremely high, depending on what we eat on a given day. And therefore the sodium in urine also fluctuates wildly.

The best way to deal with this reality is to collect urine for 24 hours on multiple days, over extended periods of time. Here’s where the problems start with the Lancet study. It did not examine multiple 24-hour urine collections, but rather one single urine collection on only one day from each participant. This resulted in a poor estimation of everyone’s daily intake of sodium.

Another major flaw resulted from a bias called “reverse causality.” It means that the high risk of death wasn’t caused by low sodium intake. Instead, the relationship was backwards. Participants in the Lancet paper were not healthy volunteers, but were enrolled specifically because they were at risk for or diagnosed with conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. It was precisely because of their diagnoses and overall health that they may well have eaten less sodium (and less food overall).

Evidence from well-performed studies and public health strategies clearly shows that sodium reduction prevents cardiovascular disease. Recommending up to 5 grams of sodium daily would result in tens of thousands of more deaths annually. If you are interested in a rigorous rebuttal of the Lancet report, see the Sounding Board published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Debates are healthy, but this one should not distract us from the reality that only a tiny fraction of our population eats a low sodium diet. Most of us are eating far too much sodium. It may well be that low sodium diets are harmful for small subsets of people, but for the majority it will take more convincing evidence to change current efforts at salt restriction.

You may not realize that most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods — not from our salt shaker. This fact makes it even more difficult to cut back, because so many foods we buy are loaded with salt.

Public efforts to reduce sodium intake in America are underway. In fact, the FDA just recommended voluntary sodium reduction targets for the food industry. We are lagging behind other countries like the United Kingdom and Japan, which have set targets for sodium in processed foods and seen falls in blood pressure and deaths from stroke and heart disease.

Reducing sodium in our diets is a health strategy proven to prevent heart attacks and strokes. By paying attention to the sodium in our diet, we can take one more step towards controlling our own health.

FRIDAY, Dec. 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A high-salt diet could raise your risk for a common heart rhythm disorder, new research suggests.

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots or other complications. It affects millions of people worldwide and puts them at higher risk for stroke and, in rare cases, can lead to heart failure.

This study included 716 middle-aged men and women in Finland who were followed for an average of 19 years. During that time, 74 of the participants were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

Those with the highest levels of salt in their diet had a higher rate of atrial fibrillation than those with the lowest salt intake. After accounting for several other risk factors — including age, body fat, blood pressure and smoking — the researchers found that salt consumption was independently associated with the risk of atrial fibrillation.

But the study only found an association — it did not prove that a high-salt diet causes the heart rhythm disorder.

The study was published recently in the Annals of Medicine.

“This study provides the first evidence that dietary salt may increase the risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation, adding to a growing list of dangers from excessive salt consumption on our cardiovascular health,” said study author Tero Paakko, from the University of Oulu in Finland.

“Although further confirmatory studies are needed, our results suggest that people who are at an increased risk of atrial fibrillation may benefit from restricting salt in their diet,” Paakko said in a journal news release.

The chances of developing atrial fibrillation increase with age, and the condition affects about 7 in 100 people 65 and older.

“With estimates suggesting that over three-quarters of salt consumed is already added in processed foods, reducing salt intake at a population level could have a hugely beneficial impact on new-onset atrial fibrillation and overall cardiovascular disease,” Paakko said.


Why do I get heart palpitations after I eat?

The foods and beverages that a person consumes can lead to heart palpitations. Some possible causes include:


Share on PinterestA person may experience heart palpitations after consuming certain foods or beverages.

Alcohol is a common cause of a racing heart or heart rhythm changes.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco found that alcohol was likely to trigger heart palpitations in people with cardiac arrhythmia.

In particular, it was a common trigger for people with atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes the top part of the heart, comprising the atria, to quiver out of rhythm with the ventricles, or lower part of the heart.

Doctors are not sure exactly why alcohol affects the heart in this way, but they do know that some people are more vulnerable to its effects than others.


Caffeine is another food that many researchers believe may cause heart palpitations. Caffeine occurs in:

  • coffee
  • espresso-based drinks
  • sodas
  • teas
  • chocolate
  • some energy drinks

However, a 2016 study that the Journal of the American Heart Association published found no correlation between caffeine consumption and irregular heart rhythms.

Individual reactions

People can also have individual reactions to specific foods or beverages, which may result in various symptoms. These could include heart palpitations.

A doctor will often recommend that anyone noticing symptoms after consuming certain products keeps a journal to monitor what they eat and drink and when they experience symptoms.

This might help them to link their symptoms to specific elements in their diet.

Medications for asthma, diabetes, and other conditions

People should also consider any medications that they take with meals. Some cold, allergy, and asthma medicines contain phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine, which can raise the heart rate.

People with diabetes may use insulin to lower their blood sugar. If their blood sugar gets too low after eating due to excess insulin, they may experience heart palpitations.


Some people take dietary supplements before or after eating, which could affect their heart rate. Examples of nutritional supplements that can affect the heart rate include:

  • bitter orange
  • ephedra
  • ginseng
  • hawthorn
  • valerian


Some people may smoke a cigarette before or after they eat, which can also cause heart palpitations.

Diet and Fluids

Expanding your circulationg blood volume

Salt and fluid will increase circulatory volume and blood pressure.

This usually improves symptoms of PoTS.


Increased fluid intake has been advised, particularly in the morning.

Aim for a total of at least 2-3 litres of fluid per day inadults.

Drinking 2 glasses of cool fluids quickly may also help elevate blood pressure

and lower heart rate.

Children should aim to drink sufficient fluids until their urine runs a pale straw colour.


A high salt diet of between 3-10g per day may be recommended. However this can be dangerous in some patients such as those with high blood pressure, kidney and heart disease. Therefore extra salt should only be taken if recommended by your doctor.

6g of salt is equialent to one teaspoon or 10 slow sodium tablets

*In addition to adding extra table salt to food, the following usually contain higher levels of salt: Anchovies Bacon Bread products Cheese Corned beef Crisps Fish sauce (nam pla) Gravy granules Miso Mustard, prepared yellow Olives Pasta sauce Pickles Pretzels Salami Salted nuts Sausages Smoked meat and Fish Soy sauce Soup – tinned or packet Stock cubes Tomato ketchup

Some manufacturers now make lower salt versions of these products so it is always worth checking the food label for salt content.

If it is not possible to ensure adequate salt intake through diet alone, salt tablets can be prescribed. Slow sodium tablet are available on prescription and are coated to reduce nausea.


Eating small amounts and often can be helpful; avoid large meals. After eating, blood is diverted to the digestive tract and away from maintaining blood pressure and heart rate which may increase symptoms.

*It is important to eat a nutritionally balanced diet.

Caffeinated drinks, alcohol and refined carbohydrates may make symptoms worse, but everyone is different so you need to work out your own triggers.


  • Sit down on a perching stool while preparing food to limit prolonged standing.

  • On a good day, cook a large batch of food and freeze in portions for a bad day.

  • Use energy saving devices such as a slow cooker or electric chopper.

  • Get someone else to do the washing up!

*Currently no available medical evidence. Based on patient or expert experience and opinion. Written by: Lorna Nicholson Medically approved by: Dr Kavi, Prof Newton Updated:1/9/15 Review date: 1/9/15 version 4

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

Exercise for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Physical therapy can make a difference for some people with POTS. Because sometimes POTS symptoms can worsen with exercise, physical therapy has to start slowly and advance based on your tolerance rather than a rigid plan. As your blood circulation improves with medications and diet, the exercise intensity may be gradually increased. The goal is to retrain the autonomic nervous system to allow for more exercise, which then helps increase the blood volume.

Those who can’t stand upright may start exercising in a horizontal or reclined position. Aquatic therapy may work for some POTS patients due to the water creating pressure around the body. Many experts find that manual physical therapy that addresses issues with nerve tightness and range of motion works as a bridge to build better tolerance of exercise.

POTS Medications

While no single medication is effective for everyone with POTS, most people with frequent symptoms affecting their quality of life need some form of medication. The search for the right medication or combination of medications requires patience and persistence on the part of both physicians and patients. These medications may focus on:

  • Improving blood volume

  • Helping the kidneys retain sodium (e.g., fludrocortisone)

  • Reducing heart rate or blocking the effect of adrenal hormones on the heart (e.g., beta blockers)

  • Improving blood vessel constriction (e.g., midodrine)


There’s no cure for POTS, but various things can help with your symptoms.

Medication. Your doctor may prescribe drugs such as fludrocortisone (along with more salt and water), midodrine, phenylephrine, or a type of medicine called a beta-blocker to help with blood flow.

Compression stockings. These help push the blood up from your legs to your heart. You’ll want ones that provide at least 30-40 minutes of compression and go all the way up to your waist, or at least up to your thighs. Your doctor can prescribe a pair.

Diet. Salt and water are key. They keep fluids in your body and raise the amount of blood in your body. Think pickles, olives, nuts, and salted broths. Eat smaller meals more often with a healthy balance of protein, vegetables, fruits, and dairy.

Exercise. POTS can make it hard to be active, but even light exercise such as walking or simple yoga can help with blood flow and keep your heart healthy.

Lifestyle. Plan ahead: If you get tired easily, you may not always have the energy to take care of yourself. Learn how to take your own pulse and blood pressure. Ask your doctor what your numbers should be, and check them regularly.

Sleep. Try to stick to a sleep schedule. You also might raise the head of your bed to make it easier to stand up after lying down.

Communication. POTS can make simple activities a bit harder, and that can be frustrating and stressful. A support group or therapist may help you manage the emotional issues the condition can cause.

Woman dies 36 times in one year due to rare condition

During each episode Sara experiences rapid palpitations that regularly cause her heart to stop beating and her blood pressure to plummet to what doctors record as clinically dead.

On occasion the attacks can last up to half-an-hour.

Sara’s attacks can last up to half-an-hour

She said: “In reality this was quite a mild attack. As you can see my heart rate is very up.

“Then you see me go limp and the doctors and nurses all crowd round.

“They can’t give me CPR because CPR tires the heart out for no reason so it is pointless. When the heart fills up with blood again is when it begins beating again.

“The blood tends to pool in my legs and the doors need to help feed it back to the heart.”

Sara said it is about four minutes into the video, when they start giving her oxygen and applying canulas, that she clinically dies.

“I can’t have oxygen because it prolongs the attack. In the video here it is before I was properly diagnosed so the doctors have panicked which is why you see them giving me oxygen.

“In fact it is just a case of leaving me there and praying. The only thing they can do is put me on a drip,” she added.

The video was shot by medics assessing Sara at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, South Yorks, on June 27, 2012.

Sara, from Doncaster, said each time her heart stops medics have to inflict pain on her to shock her into coming back to life.

She said: “When it happens paramedics try and do anything to inflict pain to try and shock me into coming back to life.

“A lot of the time I’ll wake up with big bruises. On one occasion they ripped an acrylic nail off but that still didn’t make me flinch.”

Sara said that she has contacted people with PoTS, but none of those people’s hearts have stopped; on its own, PoTS does not have this effect and is not life threatening.

“They say when you die your hearing is the last thing to go and that’s been my experience.

“After an attack I’ll wake up and my chest will be killing and I’m really tired.”

“I get asked it quite a lot, but there is definitely no bright light. Everything just goes black.

“You can still hear things and there is a voice in my head that is still active and still conscious and it is trying to communicate with those around me. I can remember what people are saying when I black out but have no other awareness of what’s going on.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article attributed the attacks suffered by Sara Brautigam solely to the Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS) from which she suffers. In fact, PoTS on its own does not cause the heart to stop beating, and is not life threatening. Sara’s condition arises from the combination of PoTS and her other medical conditions. We are happy to make this clear, and the text has been amended accordingly.

Series Parts:

What’s New in S.H.I.N.E. — Part 5: Hormones

Welcome to part 5 of my series reviewing and updating the core elements of the SHINE protocol for CFS and fibromyalgia.

In the first 4 parts of this series, I focused on Sleep — the “S” in SHINE. This week I begin my discussion on Hormones — the “H” in SHINE. And in particular, adrenal hormones.

Adrenal glands sit like caps on top of your kidneys. The middle part of the gland makes adrenaline, while the outer part makes cortisol, DHEA-S, aldosterone, estrogen and testosterone. About two-thirds of chronic fatigue patients appear to have underactive adrenal function. This produces symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue,
  • Recurrent infections and difficulty shaking off infections,
  • Crashing during stress,
  • Achiness,
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), with irritability when hungry. I call these “Feed Me NOW, or I’ll Kill You!” attacks,
  • Low blood pressure and dizziness upon first standing.

Low blood pressure and dizziness upon standing — as well as the “crashing after exercise” exhaustion often seen in CFS patients — are CFS symptoms that are also found in two addressable disorders: POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and NMH (Neurally Mediated Hypotension). Unfortunately, when conventional doctors make a diagnosis of POTS or NMH, they typically don’t recognize their association with CFS. A new study shows that they should.

Association Between POTS/NMH and CFS

Researchers at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee studied 47 patients with POTS. Of these, 93% had severe fatigue with 64% diagnosed with CFS. The folks with CFS had far worse cases of POTS than the others. In POTS, when you stand up you have a speeding heartbeat and low blood pressure, causing symptoms like dizziness, nausea and fatigue. “Fatigue and CFS-defining symptoms are common in POTS patients,” concluded the researchers in Clinical Science.

But weak adrenals isn’t the only cause of POTS in CFS patients.

The area in your brain called the hypothalamus is a “circuit breaker” that controls energy for many key functions within your body, such as sleep and hormone production. It also controls blood pressure and heart rate through what is called the “Autonomic Nervous System” — a system that depends on healthy adrenal glands in order to function optimally. NMH and POTS are disorders of this autonomic function.

A diagnosis of POTS or NMH is likely to be a part of a larger CFS process if:

  • Your fatigue is severe.
  • You have insomnia.
  • You’re young (5 to 30 years old).

One way to confirm this diagnosis is to undergo the “Tilt-Table Test.” In this test, you are strapped to a table and held upright to see if you pass out. Though it’s the best diagnostic test for POTS/NMH, in my opinion it doesn’t add much. I’m comfortable addressing POTS/NMH in CFS patients on the basis of symptoms alone.

The good news is that using the SHINE protocol can not only help CFS, but it can help POTS as well. Coincidentally, the therapies for POTS/NMH, shown below, can help your CFS!

Key Therapies for POTS/NMH

  1. Increase salt and water intake. This supports the function of the adrenal glands.
  2. Get adrenal support. A great supportive supplement for the adrenals is an herbal supplement that supports adrenal function, which supplies high levels of various factors that are a must for strong adrenals, such as vitamin C, the B-vitamin pantothenate, the amino acid L-tyrosine, licorice, and adrenal gland extracts.
  3. Consider taking a stimulant such as Dexedrine, Adderal, or Ritalin. I suspect these medications are overused in hyperactive kids but underused in CFS/FM patients with POTS/NMH. (Caution: Don’t use more than 30 mg a day, as these drugs can become addictive at higher doses).
  4. Consider taking ProAmitine (Midodrine). This medication can help maintain normal blood pressure.
  5. Consider taking Florinef. This prescription synthetic adrenal hormone can help in POTS.
  6. Consider taking Prozac or Zoloft. The class of antidepressant medications called SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) is overused for depression (not a Prozac deficiency) but can help stabilize blood pressure. And studies show they help normalize the tilt-table test in POTS/NMH.
  7. Wear special support socks. When you stand up, blood vessels in your legs contract, shooting blood back up to your head. In POTS, that doesn’t happen as efficiently. Firm compression support socks (compared to mild compression socks, for varicose veins) can help those blood vessels do their job.

To learn more about natural and medical therapies for POTS, visit the POTS Place website.


“Neurohumoral and Hemodynamic Profile in Postural Tachycardia and Chronic Fatigue Syndromes.” Okamoto LE, Raj SR, Peltier AC, Gamboa A, Shibao CA, Diedrich A, Black BK, Robertson D, Biaggioni I., Clin Sci (Lond). 2011 Sep 12.

Question: Are there natural beta blockers that I can use (that actually work), to replace the side-effect riddled synthetic version my doctors keep trying to give me?

Answer: Yes, there are dozens of natural beta blockers on the planet that have little or no side-effects relative to the synthetically derived man-made molecular versions pushed by most MD’s.

I was sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting to see my legalized drug dealer and started to ponder some interesting questions. Why does every pharmaceutical drug have extreme side-effects? Why do these synthetic agents only mask the symptoms and not address the root cause of the problem? Why does The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allow American medical doctors to prescribe synthetic poisons they know really very little about? These are ALL mostly rhetorical questions, and we all know the answer(s) come(s) down to corruption, greed and moreover: MONEY. Let’s save that discussion for another blog post and get into the real meat now.

I have a condition known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (aka: POTS or POTS syndrome). This condition has many theoretical causes, but truthfully, the so-called experts don’t really know or understand what the primary cause(s) or reason(s) are. 1 to 3 million Americans (after much research, I suspect the actual numbers are much higher than this estimate) have this syndrome today and many suffer from its broad ranging symptoms on a sliding scale, from a bit annoyed by its fleeting consequences, to completely disabled and/or bedridden, with little hope of returning to a normal productive and functional life.

The most common symptoms, although far from all inclusive, of this cluster of disease states are high/low blood pressure, high/low heart rate, racing heart, chest pain, dizziness/lightheadedness—especially when standing up, fainting or near fainting, exhaustion, abdominal pain and bloating, fatigue, nausea, temperature deregulation, nervousness, jittery, forgetfulness, brain fog, blurred vision, headaches, excessive sweating, exercise intolerance, diarrhea and/or constipation and the like.

Whatever the cause or severity of this cluster of disease states (syndrome), the one thing I have found that we all have in common is the ability to ATTEMPT TO MAKE OURSELVES HEALTHIER.

This is not a half-cocked run at accomplishing noticeable improvements by minor changes that I’m discussing (as this will not work with a condition or conditions such as POTS), this is a complete overhaul of lifestyle and mental state, that is required by very real efforts and a positive psyche by which to make marked gains back to a semi-functional state of healthy living.


One of the first things we must do, is REALIZE that which we are being told and sold in this country is NEVER GOING TO MAKE US WELL AGAIN–our water, air, so-called food and minds have been and are continuing to be POISONED by the very doctors and governmental agencies originally tasked with healing and overseeing our well-being. Doctors and Big Pharm are no longer in the business of healing, curing and helping their fellow man–No, they are in the business of symptom management through masking problems with synthetic toxins (aka pharmaceutical drugs) that inherently are not designed by mother nature and/or meant to be inside the human body, that cause a host of scary and even sometimes deadly side-effects (they are really effects, but they call them side-effects to downplay the harm they are causing) that also create a need for more drugs to mask more symptoms–and hence, the never ending perverted cyclical money machine scam is created and preserved.

We ask our doctor how long we need to be on these synthetic drugs, and they tell us for our entire life, and we just take it hook, line and sinker like a gullible child being lured into a van with a piece of candy.

We must again, become more mature and self-aware of these glitches in the all too real matrix we are living in, recognize the problems, and take matters into our own hands.


They are medical doctors, so they must know what is best for us—well, they don’t. Did you know American medical doctors have the equivalent of one class credit in hours of NUTRITION learned in medical school? One class!—which means they can’t quite possibly know everything, probably anything, they need to know about nutrition to pass that valuable information on to us, the patients in need. Did you know, medical doctors are one of the top leading causes of death in America? And we are listening to these people for our health resolutions. Did you know that doctors have a much shorter life-span than the average person?

This all might have something to do with an old man I once knew telling me never to go to doctors, because they will kill you. Did you know that 800,000 people in America were KILLED BY SYNTHETIC BETA BLOCKERS in a five year period? Did you know that most pharmaceutical drugs created are derived from the molecular structure of a natural plant or herb? Did you know that the real reason we have so much disease and so many syndromes in America today is because we are ALL DEFICIENT IN MINERALS AND VITAMINS we can no longer get from our depleted soil and/or food? Did you know there is essentially no reason for our government to have Fluoride in our water supply (it is highly carcinogenic)? Did you realize that if doctors or Big Pharma actually created a cure for anything, they would be out of jobs and the giant paychecks they worked so hard for so many years to obtain would stop flowing in? And similarly, did you realize, there is no money in healing people?—THE MONEY ONLY RESIDES IN KEEPING US SICK FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE AND HOOKING US ON AS MANY OF THEIR PRESCRIPTION OR OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS/PAIN PILLS AS POSSIBLE.


People are finally becoming more aware of the corrupt political machine and its agenda and are starting to take their health into their own hands, and rightfully so. Most people have been wrongfully told and sold the idea that natural medicines are not as strong or effective as pharmaceutical poisons (it’s not that they aren’t as strong or effective, it is simply that the drugs mask pain effects/affects and the natural medicines focus on resolve the underlying issue), and are not educated on the fact that you can combine natural medicines (just like synthetic drugs) for a synergistic effect that make them as strong or stronger than symptom masking pharmaceuticals.

Big Pharma would love to see eternally suppressed the idea and/or fact that for every mineral or vitamin we are deficient in, we open ourselves up to ten diseases.

It’s time for a change and time to get back to our natural healing roots by removing as many synthetic chemicals from our daily routines as possible and at the same time correcting our nutritional deficiencies.


After ten years of research, and finally starting to see improvements in my health, I feel it my duty, to help any and all of the millions needlessly suffering from POTS and like “invisible illnesses,” simply due to the brain-washing imprinted in our minds and on our souls by those seeking to control the masses politically, financially, and in any way possible to keep themselves in a position of power and monetary superiority.

I was on a horrible drug for one month prescribed by my doctor from Mayo Clinic after a week-long in stay in Minnesota where I spent thousands upon thousands of dollars of my own money and even more insurance fees for MERE DIAGNOSTIC ANALYSIS resulting in the doctor essentially telling me: “We don’t know for sure what causes POTS and there is no known cure. Here is a beta-blocker, see if it helps. Oh, and make sure to have plenty of salt in your diet, exercise moderately and try wearing compression stockings.” WTH?!! Does anybody care to research and find out what causes POTS? Guess not, why would they want to cure something that would make their expensive diagnostic tests completely unnecessary?

Seriously, that’s what I got for 100K—the experts telling me nothing more than I already knew from my own internet research? What a joke. The best diagnostic hospital in the world was simply that–the best diagnostic hospital in the world. NOTHING MORE.

Needless to say, the synthetic beta-blocker made me much more ill than taking nothing and after I looked at the potential side-effects of these mineral blocking toxic and synthetic drugs, I realized that THE POSSIBLE SIDE-EFFECTS WERE THE EXACT SAME SYMPTOMS I WAS TRYING TO AVOID!

What’s wrong with these people? It’s like taking an anti-depressant to get rid of symptoms of depression and the side-effects are actually more depression in a large number of patients taking these scam drugs!–This is down-right criminal and it is dumbfounding to me how this has become legal over the years in America.

Here are the TOP 20 NATURAL BETA-BLOCKERS FOR POTSies (and the like, other “invisible illnesses”—asterisks denote my experience with the natural beta-blockers):


Theanine is an incredible antioxidant in green tea, which is known to calm the brain and helps you to deal with anxiety. It has been said in studies and the like, that its positive effects occur naturally by increasing GABA and dopamine production in the brain. Theanine is an amino acid that can be found in some mushrooms and teas. It can be found in green and black tea and promotes relaxation without drowsiness. People take Theanine to help ease stress and unwind.


This herb has been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for centuries, helping to improve cognitive functions including memory and concentration. It is also used to help treat anxiety and stress, which would make it very suitable for people who need clear thinking for work and examinations.


Passion flower has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, as well as reduce high blood pressure. It may also frequently be used to treat other conditions such as stress, tension, insomnia, pain, or muscle tightness.


This herb is often used to treat anxiety and mild depression. Doctors even tend to prescribe this supplement due to its proven progressively positive effects on the brain. This herb has been shown to reduce adrenaline in the body while increasing serotonin.

It may even reduce excess levels of estrogen in the body that contribute to depression and anxiety. *(Check pricing and recommended brand of St. John’s Wort here or click the pic).

Adrenaline reduction can be huge for POTSies as many of us appear to have a choline related deficiency causing issues with adrenaline surge, pain control and normalizing levels of epinephrine continued overflow in the blood stream. Another post will be designated for full disclosure of the product I love and also use for normalizing out of control adrenaline: Parasym Plus.


Consuming kava has a relaxing and euphoric effect. Scientists call drugs that have this calming effect anxiolytic. Alcohol, which has very similar effects to kava, is another anxiolytic drug. This South Pacific drink is used to help relax the muscles and the mind by binding to GABA receptors. It has been said that a mild buzz can be felt by individuals taking this supplement as is dependent on dosage. Kavalactones are the active ingredients in this herb and the percentage of these compounds reflect the supplements potency. Kava Kava creates a calm mind and body, reducing stress and mostly, feelings of anxiety.

Kava has been known to have some side-effects when used at certain dosages, so check with your healthcare professional and into dosing/contraindications before using.


The Chinese have long used this herb to promote both mental and physical clarity and it is popular for both mental and physical fatigue. It is said to promote feelings of well-being and improve cognitive functioning.

Rhodiola may help strengthen our response to physical stress like exercise and psychological stressors such as fatigue and depression. Overall, rhodiola has many health benefits, incuding potential anti-cancer benefits, and is considered safe with a low risk of side effects when it’s taken in the recommended dosages.

Learn more here: Rhodiola Rosea.


This herb serves many purposes and benefits the immune, endocrine, neurological and reproductive systems of the body. It improves adrenal fatigue, thyroid function, boosts immunity, lowers cholesterol, reduces stress and fatigue, protects cognitive function, prevents and treats cancer, normalizes blood sugar and reduces anxiety and depression.
This herb will be the topic of future posts, as I have read and heard many first-hand incredible benefits of usage even outside of the benefits listed above—I currently do not have enough information or usage time to feel comfortable recommending a brand, but more information on this herb can be gleaned from here: Ashwaganda.


This herb is very well known for its ability to improve cognitive functions like memory, focus and concentration and animal studies have also revealed that the herb can combat anxiety. It works by activating GABA which in turn helps promote calm and well-being. It is also good for blood flow and circulation, heart health, improves brain function and helps ease anxiety and depression.


Mostly found in teas, the Chamomile flower is packed with antioxidants and it is also believed to help combat anxiety/depression and promote a natural state of calm. It can help control blood pressure, relax the mind and body and help you get a good night’s sleep. It is also used in the form of essential oils.


Antioxidants are compounds that hinder oxidation. Oxidation is the chemical process that can creates free radicals, leading to damaged cells within the body. Antioxidants terminate these negative and damaging chain reactions.


This amino acid is used in protein biosynthesis. Most of its health benefits come from foods such as turkey, salmon, chicken, spinach and the like, as these foods are rich in niacin and thus help improve serotonin levels—in turn, helping sleep and mood.


Fish oil is so amazing for the organ systems of the body as well as handling ailments, that it will come as no surprise to find that it is also a natural beta blocker. Omega-3 fish oils contain two types of fatty acid – DHA and EPA, each of which contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, relieving depression and anxiety and reducing inflammation. These oils enhance brain activity and reduce anxiety by helping to boost the production of the neurotransmitter-dopamine. Dopamine levels are closely associate with and linked to anxiety and similar disorders.

*Fish oil is fantastic for the cardiovascular system and anxiety, among other things, and is one of the 90 essential nutrients the body needs daily for optimal health. Here is the brand I have used for years: Omega-3 Fish Oil.


This amino acid lowers blood pressure levels by dilating the arteries—making it also great for the bedroom. While this nutrient does occur naturally in some foods, supplements appear to provide the body with more concentrated levels of it. It has been suggested in some studies that too much of this amino acid can result in a toxic effect in the brain—so, adhere to recommended daily dosages provided by your healthcare provider. It is also used to treat vascular disorders and the effects have shown to be promising.

*I love this amino acid for multiple reason—better circulation and/or blood flow throughout the body as well as increased libido from the relaxing and dilation of vessels. This product is best used in combination with other beneficial herbs, amino acids and vitamins—the product I’ve enjoyed for the previously mentioned benefits and others works synergistically with other ingredients to provide optimal blood flow and circulation throughout the body–Natures Plus Procreation—which is a great multi-vitamin mineral supplement (male and female version of the product). The stressors of everyday life and health concerns can sometimes be overwhelming, it never hurts to have a little extra boost of circulatory energy.


Fiber is a specific type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. Fiber cannot be broken down in the body, and instead passes through the body undigested, while helping to regulate the body’s use of sugars and hunger—at the same time, keeping blood sugar level.

Fiber is found in peas, beans, apples, oats, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and much more. It promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular bowel movements.

*All forms of fiber seem to be helpful for my POTS related irritable bowel type issues.


Potassium is an essential nutrient that improves blood pressure, reduces anxiety and stress and helps many more health conditions. The health benefits of potassium include relief from stroke, high blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, and relieves stress and anxiety. It helps enhance muscle strength, water balance, electrolytic functions, metabolism, and regulates proper function in the nervous system. Potassium also improves bone and muscle growth, boosts the nervous system, helps with muscle cramps, improves cognitive function, helps normalize blood sugar, maintains peak nerve function, prevents strokes and much more.

Consult with your healthcare professional when dosing, as too much of this nutrient can be harmful to your organ systems, just as too little can be harmful to your organs and bodily functions.

*I always use Potassium in my diet and it is part of my nightly natural sleep remedy a doctor/naturopath friend of mine gave me years ago—it’s always nice to have friends.

5. *GABA

GABA, is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Its principal role is reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.

This is an exceptional supplement for calming an anxious and/or overly excited brain.

*I also use GABA nightly as part of my natural sleep formula given to me by an experienced naturopath. I will not be without it.

4. *5-HTP

5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is the main neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, emotional well-being, sleep and even appetite. Taking 5-HTP supplements increase the production of serotonin which in turn results in greater feelings of contentment and reduced depression—especially in those with low serotonin levels.

Be careful with dosage as one can get unpleasant side-effects if the body gets too much serotonin.

5-HTP may also help people control and/or lose weight.

*This is one of my bedtime supplements I use in concert synergistically with four other supplements to create a very restful natural night’s sleep that seems to work better for me than buying over-the-counter sleep aids. The brand I have been using for years: 5-HTP. This sleep concoction provided to me by a naturopathic friend will be the subject of a future post.


This natural beta blocker calms the body and mind by relieving anxiety and stress throughout. Inositol can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, panic attacks and blood pressure making it a potentially effective natural beta blocker. It works by positively affecting neurotransmitters in your brain, including serotonin. High doses appear to be safe and may be beneficial for treating some forms of anxiety disorders and panic disorders—yet, mixed results have been reported and further research is needed.


Magnesium in the form of supplements also appears to have beta blocking effects. Studies have shown magnesium can reduce feelings of anxiety and its related symptoms, as well as control and/or reduce palpitations, irregular beats and cardiac arrhythmias common in POTS patients.

Foods that are high in magnesium include fish, milk, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, kidney beans, and whole grains soybeans, spinach, celery, oatmeal, walnuts and pine nuts, dark chocolate and avocados—to name a few.

By adding more of these foods to your diet, you can naturally increase magnesium while reducing stress.

*I cannot tell you how much (along with the removal of alcohol) this supplement has reduced my palpitations and irregular or extra beats. The product I’m using that I have extensively researched, and that will have its own post, is called REMAG. It is a form of IONIC PICO MAGNESIUM created by Dr. Carolyn Dean that is so small, it can easily pass the channel barriers other forms of magnesium cannot—making it 100% absorbed vs. the 4% you get in a magnesium oxide. All other forms of magnesium supplementation are inferior to this form of uptake—including chelated magnesium which is absorbed around 85%. I also seem to have much less chest pain since I’ve been taking this miracle form of magnesium—this is another product I will never be without again.


An incredible amino acid which helps to recycle antioxidants throughout the body—one reason glutamine is referred to as the master antioxidant. It helps you to burn fat and build muscle while producing emotional well-being through the production of GABA. It has many other benefits that will be discussed in a post of its own.

*I started taking Glutamine ten years ago to try to heal my leaky gut and manage my irritable bowel, not only did it help improve my digestive tract, it TREMENDOUSLY IMPROVED MY negative looping thoughts, anxiety and depression. I wasn’t even taking it for this reason, but after 10 days of taking 2 to 3 spoonful’s of the powder daily, my depression had resolved 95%–this was by sheer accident and coincidence that I found this out. I also, later read that this occurs from the amino acid binding to and removing ammonia from the brain. Whatever the reason, thank God for it. The brand I get results from is MRM L-Glutamine, check out the details, fact and reviews on this link. This is one of the few supplements I take that I WILL NOT BE WITHOUT FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE—it has truly been magical.


When discussing the dangers and endless serious side-effects of pharmaceutical beta blockers, natural beta blockers come with many more benefits and a TON LESS negative side effects. Synthetic beta blockers have even been noted to cause serious side effects, potentially including DEATH. Why would anyone want to take these synthetic poisons for reasons other than their doctors are telling them they need them and both the doctor and patient may be unaware of what they do?

Plus, natural beta blockers don’t alter brain chemistry like synthetic drugs. They instead target other things that can help reduce the symptoms associated with disorders. They are much safer alternatives to synthetic side-effect riddled pharmaceutical drugs.

Using natural beta blockers is a smart way to reduce your symptoms while promoting better heart and multiple organ system’s health.

Truly, the only way to find out if and how well these natural beta blockers work on your own unique body chemistry—is to try them. Remember to check with a qualified healthcare professional on dosages, contraindications and the like before starting usage.

May these NATURAL remedies and tips help you improve your health to an optimal state beyond that with you imagined possible.


Salt & Its Effect On Your Heart Rate

Watching your salt intake is one of the first things your doctor will recommend for lowering your blood pressure, but what effect does sodium reduction have on your heart rate? Recent research shows that not eating enough salt can increase your heart rate, leading to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.1

So how much salt do we really need?

Finding the ideal balance between eating too much salt and not getting enough salt is dependent on so many factors like health, genetics, environment, and lifestyle. Therefore, it’s hard to accurately predict how much each of us truly needs. For healthy adults, the Guidelines for Adequate Intake of sodium advises a daily intake between 1,500mg and 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon) per day.2

What makes salt a vital nutrient?

Everyone needs a certain amount of salt in their diet. As a chemical compound, salt or sodium chloride, is an essential electrolyte needed for the contraction and relaxation of your muscles, including your heart muscle. Sodium works in consort with potassium to keep your muscles functioning optimally. It also works to maintain a healthy balance of water and minerals in your cellular tissues.

Too much sodium will increase your heart rate

When you have too much sodium in your diet, usually from processed foods, you increase your chances of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. A high level of sodium in your body results in water retention and increased blood volume. As a result, your blood pressure and heart rate will increase.

High sodium diets can also damage your blood vessels, leading to a hardening of the arteries or a disease called atherosclerosis. A high-salt diet is also guilty of leaching calcium from your bones, increasing your risk of developing osteoporosis and kidney disease.

Not enough salt is also bad for your heart

While the majority of Americans consume in excess of 4000mg of salt a day, older adults run the risk of not getting enough sodium in their diets. The term for this rare condition is hyponatremia and symptoms can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Altered mental state or confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Exercise and excess sweating can also deplete the body of sodium, so extra care is needed during physical activity. Low sodium can negatively affect your electrolyte balance, causing muscle cramping and heart palpitations. Replenish your electrolyte balance with a sports drink when you’re working out and avoid drinking too much plain water, which will dilute essential salts.

Just a dash of salt will do

To help you reduce salt in your diet, try following the DASH diet. Designed by the National Institute of Health, the DASH diet teaches you how to replace salt-laden foods for healthier options. It’s a step-by-step guide to tracking your food and listening to the nutritional needs of your body without the fuss of complicated recipes and special ingredients. You work at your own pace and take it one day at a time until your body adjusts to the dietary changes. After about two weeks, eating less salt and consuming more potassium-rich, wholesome foods will be part of your daily routine.

Eating a healthy amount of sodium is the best way to approach heart health and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Being aware of how much salt you’re consuming every day will help you stay on track and take control of your health. See your doctor if you’re in doubt about how much salt you need in your diet.

  1. The Lancet; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30467-6
  2. Harvard School of Public Health: Salt and Sodium

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What’s the sweet spot for sodium intake?

The idea that lowering your sodium intake can improve both your blood pressure and cardiovascular health has been well-documented. But recently, more and more studies are beginning to demonstrate that too little sodium may also be bad.


Let’s take a look at what this lowly mineral—an electrolyte like calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and potassium—does for your body.

Sodium helps your nerves fire to regulate autonomic functions including heart rate, digestion, respiration, brain activity, and blood pressure. It also helps maintain both intercellular and intracellular fluid balances.

Too much sodium (> 145 mEq/L) can adversely affect these fluid balances and thus contribute to high blood pressure. But, too little sodium (< 135 mEq/L) can have detrimental effects as well.

For optimal function, the body needs < 500 mg/d of sodium—less than a quarter of a teaspoon. The American Heart Association recommends a sodium intake of ≤ 2,300 mg/d (about 1 teaspoon), with 1,500 mg/d being ideal for adults. Yet, on average, Americans consume about 3,400 mg/d.

Albeit rare, the problem of getting too little sodium can have wide reaching effects on the body.

In the Prospective Urban & Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study—the largest international study to date on sodium and potassium intake and their effects on blood pressure, death, heart disease, and stroke— researchers found that consuming too little sodium is associated with some health risks.

“In the PURE study, we found the lowest risk of death and cardiovascular events in those who consumed moderate amounts of sodium intake (3 to 6 g per day), with an increased risk above and below that range. While this finding has been reported in previous smaller studies, PURE is the largest international study to study sodium intake and health outcomes and adds considerable strength to the contention that moderate sodium intake is optimal,” said lead author Martin O’Donnell, MB, MRCPI, PhD, associate clinical professor, Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Hematology and Thromboembolism, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

  • See Also: Foods that help you look and feel young

“Low sodium intake does reduce blood pressure modestly, compared to moderate (or average) intake, but low sodium intake also has other effects, including adverse elevations of certain hormones that are associated with an increase in risk of death and cardiovascular diseases. The key question is whether these competing physiologic effects result in net clinical benefit or not,” he added.

With these results in mind, here are some of the possible negative side effects of getting too little sodium in your diet:

Increased risk of hyponatremia. Hyponatremia has many causes and, in severe cases, can result in coma or death. Too little salt and the associated risk for hyponatremia are particularly concerning in the elderly and athletes. The elderly are particularly at risk because of chronic illnesses or medications they take that can reduce sodium levels. Conditions such as chronic kidney disease, cirrhosis, congestive heart failure, and hypothyroidism increase the risk of hyponatremia. Medications that also up this risk include diuretics, mirtazapine, carbamazepine, and tricyclic antidepressants. Athletes are also at risk due to several factors, including overexertion, losing large amounts of sodium via sweating, drinking too much water, and not replacing the sodium lost in sweating.

Increased LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In a Cochrane review, researchers found that low-sodium diets caused a 4.6% increase in LDL cholesterol levels, a 5.4% increase in total cholesterol, and a 5.9% increase in triglyceride levels compared with high-sodium diets. In a more recent Cochrane review, sodium reductions brought about a 1% decrease in blood pressure levels in normotensive adults and a 3.5% decrease in hypertensive adults, but a 2.5% increase in cholesterol levels, as well as a 7% increase in triglyceride levels.

  • See Also: Can this everyday food item help fight cancer?

Increased insulin resistance. Results from clinical trials are conflicting—some investigators have found no effect of a low-sodium diet on insulin resistance while others have found a decrease in insulin resistance. But, researchers of one study, done in 152 healthy participants, noted an increase in insulin resistance after only 7 days on a low-sodium diet.

Increased risk of death in patients with diabetes. In two observational studies, researchers demonstrated a link between low sodium intake and an increased risk of mortality in patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In the first study in patients with type 1 diabetes, researchers found an increased risk of all-cause mortality in patients with the highest daily urinary sodium excretion as well as in those with the lowest sodium excretion. In addition, those with the lowest sodium excretion also had the highest incidence of end-stage renal disease. In the second study, patients with type 2 diabetes demonstrated significant associations between lower 24-hour urinary sodium excretion and increased risks of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

No benefits for heart disease. Besides the effects of low-sodium diets on cardiovascular risk factors, researchers of several observational studies have also looked at the incidence of myocardial infarctions or death. In one study, consuming less than 3,000 mg/d of sodium was linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality. In yet another study, researchers found a higher risk of cardiovascular mortality when the low sodium levels recommended by many guidelines were followed.

Increased risk of heart failure mortality. In a Cochrane review of reduced dietary salt for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, researchers concluded that low-sodium diets did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular or stroke mortality, and actually increased the risk of death from heart failure. The risk of death was 160% higher in participants who restricted their sodium intake. Low-sodium diets, therefore, are not recommended in patients with congestive heart failure.

Although these studies are far from definitive—indeed, many of them conflict with other studies—they are grounds for considering the possible drawbacks of a diet that includes too little salt. As with everything, moderation is key. Too much or too little salt can both have serious consequences on the body.

SaltStick and Dysautonomia:

POTS patients often intake significant amounts of extra electrolytes to help manage their symptoms of low blood pressure, gastrointestinal sensitivity and exercise intolerance under the recommendation and supervision of their physicians. Often, these patients experience extreme discomfort when taking doctor-recommended 1g salt tablets, which can often irritate the stomach lining to the point of nausea or vomiting. Additionally, many patients tire of the flavor that results from excessively salting their food every meal.

Again and again, we have heard people in the POTS community tell us that SaltStick products are the only way they can consume the high levels of sodium they need without upsetting their stomach.

SaltStick was originally engineered for the demanding nutritional needs of endurance athletes. Part of that design is the vegetable-based capsule, which provides the electrolytes sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium in a form the body can easily absorb. Many POTS patients will consume eight or more SaltStick Vitassium by taking two in the morning, two at noon, two in mid-afternoon and two at night.

SaltStick Vitassium and Dysautonomia International

  • In mid November 2016 we teamed up with Dysautonomia International to launch SaltStick’s brand new product, Vitassium.
  • SaltStick Vitassium is a medical food specifically formulated to provide sodium and potassium for the clinical dietary management of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Cystic Fibrosis (CF), and Vasovagal Syncope, when increased plasma volume has been shown to be beneficial.
  • Vitassium helps maintain electrolyte levels, support healthy blood pressure, reduce fatigue, support cognitive function, and reduce dizziness due to low blood pressure.
  • We are proud supporters of Dysautonomia International.
  • Learn more about Vitassium.

Join the SaltStick Vitassium Club!

The Vitassium Club is strictly for individuals with dysautonomia, POTS or EDS that use SaltStick as a medical food. If this describes you, or a child or dependent you care for, then we encourage you to join the Vitassium Club today.

  • Vitassium Club members get the best price on Vitassium and other SaltStick Electrolytes when they order at No need to enter coupons or promos at checkout!
  • Vitassium Club members are the first to know about new medical literature, special promotions and and new products.
  • Join the Vitassium Club today!

Did you know? SaltStick partners with Dysautonomia International to help support funding for dysautonomia research.

In July 2016, SaltStick announced our partnership with Dysautonomia International, and we remain proud supporters today.

Dysautonomia International | US

Learn More

Dysautonomia International educates medical professionals about autonomic disorders, funds medical research on POTS, and works with researchers to speed up the pace of discovery.

POTS Walk & 5k | US

Learn More

POTS Walk and 5k Race takes place along the Mystic River in Medford, MA. Proceeds benefit Dysautonomia International in the support of POTS research.

Race to Beat POTS 5k | US

Learn More

The Race to Beat POTS will take place in Kennett Square, PA on Sunday, June 12, 2016. All proceeds from the event will benefit Dysautonomia International.

SaltStick Feedback

“I’m on a high sodium diet to control super-low blood pressure, and Saltstick has been a lifesaver for me. The capsules dissolve quickly to give me a little boost of sodium without having to gag down liters of icky electrolyte drinks. They don’t cause any heartburn or stomach upset, and they don’t have a bunch of unnecessary ingredients (or calories!).” — Amazon reviewer Delilah

“I suffer from adrenal fatigue, which also takes the salt out of my body. I was given sodium pills to take twice a day. I could not take them with out becoming ill. I found online, and they are a miracle to me. My sodium went up, they don’t make me sick, so this product helped.” — Amazon reviewer Debra Duboux

“I have POTS and this helps me so much! I highly recommended theses, especially if you exercise. It’s a capsule and a glass of water: easy to get down, and I didn’t have any problems with them.” — Amazon Customer

“All I can say is ‘Wow!’ I have Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome (MVPS), which sometimes goes by the abbreviation of POTS or Dysautonomia. When I take these, not only do I feel so much better, but my workouts have been literally twice as effective: I can run longer and bike longer, all while feeling 10 times less fatigue and pain in my muscles that used to be caused by lack of blood flow and lack of electrolytes.” — Amazon Reviewer Daniel

“My daughter uses these to supplement her salt intake. She takes 3-5 a day and has no issues with stomach upset. She has POTS and needs to consume 4,000 -5,000 mg of sodium daily.” — Amazon Reviewer Nora

  • clinic
  • October 27, 2016
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by Jill Brook, M.A. Nutritionist and POTS patient

Like many POTS patients, I eat loads of salt. The 2015 Heart Rhythm Society Expert Consensus Statement recommends 10-12 grams per day because some POTSy bodies don’t properly retain it. I consider this tasty therapy to be the only perk of having POTS. Given that we eat so darn much of this stuff, it makes sense to develop an appreciation for the finer points of salt.

Here are some helpful tips about the only rock we eat:

  1. Salt and sodium are not exactly the same thing. Salt is technically sodium chloride—NaCl—and it consists of about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. So if your doctor tells you to consume 10,000mg salt per day, that is only 3876mg of sodium.
  1. Table salt is heat processed and contains at least 97.5% salt by law, plus anti-clumping agents such as sodium silicoaluminate, sodium thiosulfate or others. Natural salts such as Himalayan, Real Salt, or sea salt are not heat processed and do not have additives.
  1. Sea salt is evaporated sea water, and has trace amounts of numerous minerals and elements. One drawback, however, is that as our oceans get increasingly polluted, so does our sea salt.

  1. Real Salt is a brand from Utah’s salt flats which contains trace minerals without the recent ocean pollution. Himalayan salt is another natural option. These salt sources are left from ancient sea beds, from when the ocean covered different parts of the earth.
  1. Dead Sea salt boasts many health claims, but should not be consumed because it contains too much bromide, which can be toxic.
  1. Iodized salt can be used to get the nutrient iodine if you don’t get enough from other sources, such as seafood, meat, dairy, sea vegetables or cranberries. The US government had iodine added to table salt beginning in 1922 to address an epidemic of goiters from iodine deficiency.
  1. Kosher salt is not typically kosher. It got that name because its large crystals made it good for removing blood when processing kosher meat. Larger salt crystals can have less sodium per teaspoon, so check the nutrition label.
  1. In most people, calcium and potassium are excreted along with sodium. If too much sodium is consumed without enough of these other minerals, the body will leach them from its own tissues, reducing bone density and muscle mass. While I haven’t found research on whether this holds for POTS patients, this possibility motivates me to eat nutrient-rich foods whenever possible.
  1. Eating very salty foods can trigger cravings for sweets…which trigger cravings for more salt…and the vicious cycle is called “tastebud ping pong.” If it’s making you a slave to your cravings, consider using salt pills to replace salty foods.
  1. Tastebuds adapt. After a few weeks your high-salt diet will taste normal. This could have embarrassing consequences if you make Thanksgiving dinner to your own taste preference, not realizing that your dinner guests are practically gagging. (OK, I know what you’re thinking: “like we’d ever have the energy to make Thanksgiving dinner.” We can hope!)

Some health authorities such as the Berkeley Wellness Letter state that table salt and natural salt are virtually the same nutritionally, and that any differences from heat processing, anti-caking agents, trace minerals or elements are negligible. While I believe them, I personally choose to use a combination of Real Salt, Himalayan salt and other natural salts, knowing that I consume 2-3 times the quantity of average Americans and those extra trace nutrients or additives might actually add up over time.

Finally, if you’re a real connoisseur, you may want to learn about salt’s dramatic history by reading Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky. You won’t be bored: Salt has altered the outcome of wars, built and destroyed empires, and shaped how humankind populated the planet. Helping POTSies feel better is just one of its many colorful accomplishments.


O’Mahony M. Salt taste adaptation: The psychophysical effects of adapting solutions and residual stimuli from prior tastings on the taste of sodium chloride, Perception 1979; 8(4): 441-76.

Kurlansky M. Salt: A World History. New York, NY: Penguin Books; 2003.

This past weekend, we attended the Fourth Dysautonomia International Annual Conference in Washington D.C., where we met patients, families, friends and medical professionals who work to alleviate symptoms and conduct research toward discovering causes of dysautonomia.

We were inspired by the patients and their families, who tirelessly told us about their experiences with the condition and how SaltStick has been able to help some of them through day-to-day life. We learned a lot from the physicians and other expert researchers in the field, who shared the latest developments in treatment to address Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and other major symptoms of dysautonomia. We also previewed a new product called SaltStick Vitassium, which is specifically designed to help supply buffered sodium and potassium in a small stomach-friendly capsule. POTS patients often intake significant amounts of extra electrolytes to help manage their symptoms of low blood pressure, gastrointestinal sensitivity and exercise intolerance under the recommendation and supervision of their physicians.

We are grateful to all who participated at the conference, and to those who stopped by our booth to learn how SaltStick products have been used successfully by many of the conference attendees.

We triathletes know how to dress up! We are meeting so many inspiring people here at #dysconf by @Dysautonomia.

— SaltStick (@SaltStick) July 16, 2016

About dysautonomia:

Dysautonomia is an umbrella term used to describe several different medical conditions that cause a malfunction of the Autonomic Nervous System, which controls the “automatic” functions of the body that we do not consciously think about, such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, dilation and constriction of the pupils of the eye, kidney function, and temperature control. People living with various forms of dysautonomia have trouble regulating these systems, which can result in lightheadedness, fainting, unstable blood pressure, abnormal heart rates, malnutrition, and in severe cases, death.

About Dysautonomia International:

Dysautonomia International exists to identify the causes and cures for all forms of dysautonomia and to enhance the quality-of-life of people currently living with these illnesses.

Dysautonomia is not rare. Over 70 million people worldwide live with various forms of dysautonomia, and people of any age, gender or race can be impacted. Despite the high prevalence of dysautonomia, most patients take years to get diagnosed due to a lack of awareness amongst the public and within the medical profession. There is no cure for any form of dysautonomia at this time, but Dysautonomia International is funding research to develop better treatments, and hopefully someday a cure for each form of dysautonomia.

Make sure you follow Dysautonomia International on Twitter and Facebook for updates. Review the hashtag #dysconf to see what happened at the 2016 Annual Conference.

Did you know? At this year’s annual conference, SaltStick announced a new partnership with Dysautonomia International. We pledged to donate to Dysautonomia International 10 percent of all sales of our new and soon-to-be-released product SaltStick Vitassium. Donations exclusively fund research, patient awareness, and patient and family support.

SaltStick and Dysautonomia: How we can help:

One form of dysautonomia is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which is estimated to impact 1 out of 100 teenagers. POTS can cause lightheadness, fainting, tachycardia, chest pains, shortness of breath, GI upset, shaking, exercise intolerance, temperature sensitivity and more. Patients with this condition are often advised to dramatically increase their water and salt intake, to help boost blood volume, often in addition to a multitude of prescription drugs.

Often, POTS patients experience extreme discomfort when taking doctor-recommended 1g salt tablets, which can often irritate the stomach lining to the point of nausea or vomiting. Additionally, many patients tire of the flavor that results from excessively salting their food every meal.

SaltStick was originally engineered for the demanding nutritional needs of endurance athletes. Part of that design is the vegetable-based capsule, which provides the electrolytes sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium in a form the body can easily absorb. Time and time again this weekend, we heard people in the POTS community tell us that SaltStick Caps are the only way they can consume the high levels of sodium they need without upsetting their stomach.

Saltstick is developing a product tailored to the needs of POTS patients. This is fantastic. #DysConf #saltstick

— Andrie (@andriedeja) July 16, 2016

What’s next for SaltStick and Dysautonomia International:

As the POTS community has found SaltStick Caps to be such a good fit for individuals looking to consume extra sodium without stomach discomfort and without the taste of salt, we created SaltStick Vitassium. It’s a similar formulation to the original SaltStick Caps product, but without the magnesium, calcium and vitamin D, so that it’s more appropriate for this purpose. As a concentrated source of sodium and potassium in a vegetable-based capsule, this product satisfies the discerning needs of this population.

We will be providing additional details about Vitassium upon its release. Be sure to sign up for our mailing list, which is how we will announce the arrival of Vitassium and the information you’ll need to purchase the product.

Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For any suspected or known illness or health concern, always consult with your physician or health care provider prior to the purchase or use of any nutritional product.

Can salt make your heart race

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