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What You Need to Know About Pink Himalayan Salt
This sponsored post was brought to you by Authority Reports and written by Albert Davidoff
Many people claim that pink Himalayan salt offers incredible health benefits and that it is loaded with minerals. It is a type of salt that is mined in Pakistan, near the Himalayas and it is naturally pink in color. Is pink Himalayan salt really healthier than regular table salt or is it nothing more than speculation? This article looks at the evidence in order to determine whether pink Himalayan salt or regular salt offers the most health benefits and what the key differences are.
Need more info on what natural health products or supplements to buy? Authority Reports evaluate a wide variety of natural health products to determine what would be best for your unique situation.
What Exactly is Salt?
Salt is a mineral which largely consists of a compound called sodium chloride. Some people even use the words 'sodium' and 'salt' interchangeably—this is because salt contains around 98% of sodium chloride in weight. (Read more about the side effects, interactions and dosage instructions of sodium chloride).
There are two ways in which salt can be produced: by extracting it from underground salt mines (solid salt) or by evaporating salt water. Before it ends up on your dinner table, it also goes through a refining process in order to remove any other minerals (except for sodium chloride) and in order to remove any impurities. Sometimes anticaking agents are added in order to absorb moisture and often iodine is also included as this helps consumers to prevent ending up with an iodine deficiency.
It is absolutely essential to include salt in your diet as it plays an important role in muscle and nerve contractions as well as a variety of biological functions. On the other hand - too much salt can also lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. Many people have turned to pink Himalayan salt as they believe that it is a healthier alternative and because they believe that too much table salt can potentially be harmful to their health.
What is Himalayan Salt?
Himalayan salt gets extracted from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan, near the Himalayas. It is one of the largest and oldest salt mines to be found in the world. The salt that can be harvested from this mine has apparently been formed from the evaporation of large bodies of water in ancient times. It is believed that Himalayan salt is composed of remnants of the primal, original sea, as it comes from salt mines located more than 5000 feet deep below the Himalayan Mountain range. It has, therefore, experienced tremendous pressure over hundreds and thousands of years and is said to be extremely pure.
It is much more natural than table salt, as it has been minimally processed and hand-extracted, which makes it free of additives and also an unrefined product. It is also mostly comprised of sodium chloride, but because of the natural harvesting process, it also contains many other trace elements and minerals that are not included in regular table salt. It is estimated that it contains up to 84 different trace elements and minerals. It is these minerals and especially iron which gives it its pink color.
How Can Pink Himalayan Salt Be Used?
There are many non-dietary and dietary uses for pink Himalayan salt:
- Cook with it or eat it—you can use pink salt in the same way that you would use table salt. It can also be used as a cooking surface. Large blocks of salt can be used to sear, grill and impart a salty flavor to foods such as meats. It can be purchased in coarse varieties or finely ground.
- Non-dietary uses—it can be used to soothe sore muscles and improve skin by using it in a salt bath. Pink Himalayan salt lamps can also apparently remove air pollutants. It is also common for people to spend time in man-made pink Himalayan salt caves in order to improve respiratory and skin problems.
Health Claims of Pink Himalayan Salt
As mentioned above, both pink salt and regular table salt contain mostly sodium chloride, but pink salt has up to 84 other trace elements and minerals. These include minerals such as calcium, potassium, molybdenum, and strontium.
Studies show that table salt contains more sodium and that Himalayan salt contains more iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
The following health claims are commonly made about pink salt:
- Increase libido
- Reduce signs of aging
- Improve respiratory disease
- Improve sleep quality
- Help to balance your body's pH
- Regulate blood sugar
Even though there are some studies that support the various benefits experienced when exposed to salt caves, such as the treatment of various lung diseases, there is little to support the health claims made above.
Researchers have found, for example, that very low-salt diets may contribute to sleeping issues, suggesting that an adequate amount of sodium is essential for quality sleep. The additional minerals that can be found in Himalayan salt are present in very small quantities, which means that it won't effectively balance your body's pH. Also, libido, aging and blood sugar levels are mostly controlled by other factors and there are no studies that suggest that pink salt will influence these aspects of your health. (Learn more about what foods will assist in controlling your blood sugar levels).
There are no studies at this stage that show that pink Himalayan salt has more health benefits than regular table salt. However, Himalayan salt would be more beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing as it does not contain any additives or harmful artificial ingredients, making it an excellent natural alternative. Also, remember that table salt is one of the main sources of iodine. If you are using Himalayan salt, make sure to get iodine from other food sources such as fish, dairy products and seaweed.
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A central player in the fight against the novel coronavirus is our immune system. It protects us against the invader and can even be helpful for its therapy. But sometimes it can turn against us.
How does our immune system react to the coronavirus?<p>The coronavirus is — like any other virus — not much more than a shell around genetic material and a few proteins. To replicate, it needs a host in the form of a living cell. Once infected, this cell does what the virus commands it to do: copy information, assemble it, release it.</p><p>But this does not go unnoticed. Within a few minutes, the body's immune defense system intervenes with its innate response: Granulocytes, scavenger cells and killer cells from the blood and lymphatic system stream in to fight the virus. They are supported by numerous plasma proteins that either act as messengers or help to destroy the virus.</p><p>For many viruses and bacteria, this initial activity of the immune system is already sufficient to fight an intruder. It often happens very quickly and efficiently. We often notice only small signs that the system is working: We have a cold, a fever. </p>
Is there an immunity? How long does it last?<p>The good news is that it is very likely there is an immunity. This is suggested by the proximity to other viruses, epidemiological data and animal experiments. Researchers <a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.13.990226v1" target="_blank">infected four rhesus monkeys,</a> a species close to humans, with SARS-CoV-2. The monkeys showed symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, developed neutralizing antibodies and recovered after a few days. When the recovered animals were reinfected with the virus, they no longer developed any symptoms: They were immune. </p><p>The bad news: It is not (yet) known how long the immunity will last. It depends on whether a patient has successfully developed neutralizing antibodies. Achim Hörauf estimates that the immunity should last at least one year. Within this year, every new contact with the virus acts as a kind of booster vaccination, which in turn might prolong the immunity.</p><p>"The virus is so new that nobody has a reasonable immune response," says the immunologist. He believes that lifelong immunity is unlikely. This "privilege" is reserved for viruses that remain in the body for a long time and give our immune system a virtually permanent opportunity to get to know it. Since the coronavirus is an RNA (and not a DNA) virus, it cannot permanently settle in the body, says Hörauf.</p><p>The Heidelberg immunologist <a href="https://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/immunologie/immunologie" target="_blank">Stefan Meuer</a> predicts that the novel coronavirus will also mutate like all viruses. He assumes that this could be the case in 10 to 15 years: "At some point, the acquired immunity will no longer be of any use to us because then another coronavirus will return, against which the protection that has now been formed will not help us because the virus has changed in such a way that the antibodies are no longer responsible. And then no vaccination will help either."</p>
How can we take advantage of the antibody response of the immune system?<p>Researchers are already collecting plasma from people who have successfully survived an infection with SARS-CoV-2 and are using it to treat a limited number of patients suffering from COVID-19. The underlying principle: <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-drugs-can-antibodies-from-survivors-help/a-52806428" target="_blank">passive immunization.</a> The studies carried out to date have shown positive results, but they have usually been carried out on only a few people.</p><p>At best, passive immunization is used only when the patient's own immune system has already started to work against the virus, says Achim Hörauf: "The longer you can leave the patients alone with the infection before you protect them with passive immunization, the better." Only through active immunization can one be protected in the long term. At the same time, it is difficult to recognize the right point in time.</p><p>PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are currently used to find out whether a person is infected with the coronavirus. With the help of PCR, it is not possible to tell whether or not there is reproducible viral RNA; it is just a proof of whether the virus is still present, dead or alive. A PCR test cannot tell us whether our immune system has already intervened, i.e. whether we have had contact with the virus in the past, have formed antibodies and are now protected. Researchers are therefore working on tests that check our blood for the presence of antibodies. They are already in use in Singapore, for example, and are nearing completion in the USA. With the help of these tests, it would finally be possible to gain an overview <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/corona-confusion-how-to-make-sense-of-the-numbers-and-terminology/a-52825433" target="_blank">of the unclear case numbers.</a> In addition, people who have developed antibodies against the virus could be used at the forefront of health care, for example. An "immunity passport" is even under discussion.</p>
Is it possible to become infected and/or ill several times with the coronavirus?<p>"According to all we know, it is not possible with the same pathogen," says Achim Hörauf. It is possible to become infected with other coronaviruses or viruses from the SARS or MERS group if their spike proteins look different. "As far as the current epidemic is concerned, it can be assumed that people who have been through COVID-19 will not become ill from it for the time being and will not transmit the virus any further," he says.</p>
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Why do people react differently to the virus?<p>While some people get off with a mild cold, others are put on ventilators or even die of SARS-Cov-2. Especially people with <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-who-is-particularly-at-risk-and-why/a-52710881" target="_blank">pre-existing conditions</a> and older people seem to be worst-affected by the virus. Why? This is the hottest question at the moment.</p><p>It will still take a very, very long time to understand the mechanistic, biological basis for why some people are so much more severely affected than others, virologist Angela Rasmussen told <em>The Scientist</em>. "The virus is important, but the host response is at least as important, if not more important," her colleague Stanley Perlman told the magazine.</p><p>Stefan Meuer sees a fundamental survival principle of nature in the different equipment and activity of our immune systems: "If we were all the same, one and the same virus could wipe out the entire human species at once. Due to the genetic range, it is quite normal that some people die from a viral disease while others do not even notice it. "</p><p>Achim Hörauf also suspects immunological variants that could be genetically determined. Since interstitial pneumonia is observed with the coronavirus, the focus is probably on an overreaction of the immune system. However, it is also possible that each person affected may have been loaded with a different dose of the virus, which in turn leads to different outcomes. And finally, it makes a difference how robust the body and lungs are: Competitive athletes simply have more lung volume than long-time smokers. </p>
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