February 4th, 2011
08:31 AM ET

Are nonsodium salts healthier than traditional?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Question asked by Kristan of Atlanta, Georgia

My sister and I were talking about salt. She has noticed that sea salt is currently being marketed as a healthy, or trendy, food additive, but can't figure out if there's any real science behind the marketing. Are nonsodium salts, like magnesium chloride and potassium chloride, any healthier than traditional sodium chloride? People with, say, high blood pressure are told to stick to low-sodium diets. But is it the sodium, or is it a different quality that causes the increased risk?

Expert answer

Hi Kristan. In light of the new dietary guidelines for Americans that came out this week recommending a reduction in sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day, and a further reduction in intake to 1,500 milligrams a day among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African-American or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, I thought this was a good time to answer this question.

Lowering sodium helps lower blood pressure, one of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke, because too much sodium intake leads to water retention, which stretches blood vessel walls, leading to high blood pressure. This is particularly important as people age and blood vessels become more stiff, leading to even further increases in blood pressure.

Sea salt is a less-processed form of sodium, which may contain trace amounts of minerals, but by weight contains the same amount of sodium. It has a coarser texture and is not as finely ground as table salt, so an equivalent serving size contains slightly less sodium due to the larger volume of the salt crystals (you get less per serving).

In addition, some people find that it has slightly more flavor, so they can get away with using less, which is always a good thing. While sea salt does contain minute amounts of iodine, it does not have iodine added as table salt does. Iodine deficiency is relatively uncommon in the United States, so this should not be a major concern for most people.

Salt substitutes usually contain potassium chloride, which does not raise blood pressure as sodium chloride (table salt) does. It should, however, be used with caution in those with kidney disease, heart failure or on blood pressure or heart medications that increase potassium levels.

A better option is to use herbs and spices to add flavor to your meals to keep salt intake down. Even more important, limit your intake of processed and prepared foods (grocery and restaurant) as these foods make up more than 70% of our daily salt intake, while added salt makes up only about 10% (the remainder comes from naturally occurring salt). To my knowledge, magnesium chloride is used to melt ice and snow on roads, not as an edible salt substitute.

soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. fine dining Orlando

    A great read. I'll definitely be back.


    April 8, 2021 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. fine dining Orlando

    Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You're doing a great job Man,Keep it up.


    April 8, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Window Cleaning Service Southmoor Park, Denver, CO

    very nice! Ireally like your blog


    April 8, 2021 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me Washington Park, Denver, CO

    Interesting stuff to read. Keep it up.


    April 9, 2021 at 06:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me East Colfax, Denver, CO

    very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.


    April 9, 2021 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Window Washing Service Curtis Park, Denver, CO

    Commenting on a blog is an art. Good comments create relations. You're doing great work. Keep it up.


    April 9, 2021 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Best Window Washing Service Near Me Curtis Park, Denver, CO

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!


    April 9, 2021 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Window Washing Service Five Points, Denver, CO

    carry on, dont stop


    April 9, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Window Cleaning Service City Park, Denver, CO

    Thank you, I've just been looking for information approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the supply?


    April 9, 2021 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Window Cleaning Service Park Hill, Denver, CO

    carry on, dont stop


    April 9, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Best Window Washing Service Near Me Southmoor Park, Denver, CO

    Thanks for the information.


    April 9, 2021 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Window Washing Service South Park Hill, Denver, CO



    April 9, 2021 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me Curtis Park, Denver, CO

    thanks for sharing!


    April 10, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Window Cleaning Service Globeville

    Keep this going please, great job!


    April 11, 2021 at 05:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Best Window Washing Service Near Me Athmar Park, Denver, CO

    Interesting stuff to read. Keep it up.


    April 11, 2021 at 05:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Window Washing Service Five Points, Denver, CO

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.


    April 11, 2021 at 07:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me Montclair, Denver, CO

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!


    April 11, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me Auraria, Denver, CO

    this is very informative and intersting for those who are interested in blogging field.


    April 11, 2021 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. sildenafil buy online usa

    60 mg sildenafil https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ best price generic sildenafil 20 mg

    April 12, 2021 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. self life of vardenafil

    purchase vardenafil online https://vegavardenafil.com/ warnings for vardenafil maximum dose

    April 14, 2021 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. signature window washing denver

    Interesting stuff to read. Keep it up.


    April 15, 2021 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. cost of zithromax

    zithromax 500 mg side effects https://zithromaxes.com/ zithropan

    April 16, 2021 at 05:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. tadalafil 40

    tadalafil gel https://elitadalafill.com/ generic tadalafil 40 mg

    April 16, 2021 at 18:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. signature window washing

    This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!


    April 21, 2021 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. buying canadian cialis

    cialis canadian discounts https://canadacialisstore.com/ do you need prescription for canadian perscribition of cialis in usa

    April 21, 2021 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. canadian customs pills vitamins

    canadian pharmacies ed pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian customs pills vitamins

    April 22, 2021 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Nick's Air Conditioning And Heating Orlando

    Fairly high-quality explanation. continue the good work


    April 27, 2021 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Short Term Loan Consolidation

    nice information for a new blogger. it is really helpful


    April 29, 2021 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Loan Consolidation Services

    Keep this going please, great job!


    April 29, 2021 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Payday Loan

    Wow this blog is very nice!


    April 29, 2021 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. window washing denver

    Commenting on a blog is an art. Good comments create relations. You're doing great work. Keep it up.


    April 29, 2021 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. priligy

    priligy without a doctor prescription priligy 90 mg

    April 30, 2021 at 03:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. canadian weight loss pills

    canadian weight loss pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian diet pills

    May 1, 2021 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. male enhancement cvs pharmacy

    erectile function after prostatectomy https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile improvement

    May 2, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. avana

    avanafil 200 buy avanafil usa

    May 3, 2021 at 05:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. chloroquine price in india

    where to get chloroquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine natural sources

    May 4, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Proven debt relief company

    Thank you, I've just been looking for information approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the supply?


    May 5, 2021 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    May 6, 2021 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Leave a Reply to italian restaurants downtown orlando


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.