Health

The FDA’s (mis)guidance on sodium

Posted by Robb Wolf on

The FDA’s (mis)guidance on sodium

If you’ve been watching the news in recent months, you might have seen that the FDA launched another attack in their perpetual war on salt. I’ll explain this attack in a moment, but first I want to put it into context. If the US government had their way, we’d all consume less than 2.3 grams of sodium per day. According to them, a low-salt diet would reduce our collective risk of heart disease and save hundreds of thousands of lives. If that was accurate, then all aboard! Sounds great to me. But as you’ll see, this recommendation is far off...

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Signs and symptoms of hypokalemia

Posted by Robb Wolf on

Signs and symptoms of hypokalemia

Low serum potassium is no joke. The signs and symptoms of hypokalemia include cardiac arrhythmias, slower heart rate, muscle paralysis, and brain damage. Hypokalemia is fairly common in hospitals, but fairly rare otherwise. Without the influence of medical conditions, illness, and medications, the human body maintains potassium levels like a champ. Eating a low-potassium diet won’t make you run out of potassium. You still have plenty of potassium stored in your skeleton, and your body is glad to deplete these potassium reserves to prevent hypokalemia. This is one reason why low potassium diets are linked to osteoporosis. It’s also why...

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Magnesium for anxiety and depression: Can it help?

Posted by Tyler Cartwright on

Magnesium for anxiety and depression: Can it help?

Magnesium wears many hats. Compared to nutrients with flashier names and better PR departments—resveratrol, curcumin, astaxanthin—magnesium might seem boring, but make no mistake: this mineral is a true nutritional workhorse. It just needs a better agent. It’s no secret among athletes and folks who follow ketogenic diets that magnesium helps with muscle relaxation and may also reduce frequency and severity of headaches and constipation. But what about magnesium for anxiety and depression? Could something as simple as boosting magnesium intake help make a meaningful dent in mood and mental health? Let me burst your bubble right here at the start: I’m...

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What causes low potassium levels?

Posted by Robb Wolf on

What causes low potassium levels?

If your blood work shows low potassium levels, your doctor will probably want to act. Depending on the situation, they might prescribe oral or IV potassium supplements to get those levels up. The next step is to determine what’s causing the low potassium levels. According to the medical literature, hypokalemia (low serum potassium) is most commonly caused by gut or renal potassium losses. These losses are carried out through urine, feces, and vomit. And if the losses are heavy enough, potassium levels can fall below normal ranges. Kidney issues are a primary driver of potassium losses, but diuretics, laxatives, and...

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Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia

Posted by Robb Wolf on

Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia

The signs and symptoms of hyponatremia can be subtle. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can slog away for years in a suboptimal state. I see it all the time in active folks. They lose both sodium and fluids through sweat, but they mainly focus on replacing the fluids. Electrolytes are, at best, an afterthought. That’s a recipe for hyponatremia. Drinking too much plain water causes blood sodium levels to fall—leading to muscle cramps, fatigue, low energy, and other hyponatremia symptoms. “Plain” is the operative term here. If you put sodium in your water, you avoid these...

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