Blog: Chronic Experts
by InvisiGyrl

A Few thoughts on Sodium and CFS/FMS

As many of you may already know from earlier posts to this forum (thmi-fms) and from the information presented on this website, the suggested approach to reversing symptoms of CFS/FMS include: 1, increasing metabolism and eliminating metabolic waste using FIR sauna, (A much less expensive option is to use two stand alone FIR heaters to acheive a similar benefit.) 2, hydrating the body using alkaline ionized water. 3, Restoring suspected mineral deficiencies. And, 4, Restoring balance to the GI tract

Date:   3/2/2005 1:54:35 PM   ( 16 y ) ... viewed 3149 times

A Few thoughts on Sodium and CFS/FMS

As many of you may already know from earlier posts to this forum (thmi-fms) and from the information presented on this website, the suggested approach to reversing symptoms of CFS/FMS include: 1, increasing metabolism and eliminating metabolic waste using FIR sauna, (A much less expensive option is to use two stand alone FIR heaters to acheive a similar benefit.) 2, hydrating the body using alkaline ionized water. 3, Restoring suspected mineral deficiencies. And, 4, Restoring balance to the GI tract.

The approach in the past has been to replace minerals, supplementing specific minerals suspected to be deficient in the person with CFS/FMS. These mineral deficiencies are likely the result of low hydrochloric acid production in the stomach. Without sufficient hydrochloric acid in the stomach mineral absorption, and the absorption of other nutrients, is impaired.

Rather than supplement minerals, the focus now is to supply the body with those foods which will provide the nutrients needed for the production of stomach acid. This approach may take a little longer for results to be seen. However, it will reduce the total monetary cost of the program; One goal is to make this program as affordable as possible.

When hydrochloric acid production is restored the body should again get its needed minerals from a nutritious balanced diet.

The Sodium Connection
A sodium deficiency may indirectly contribute to some of the symptoms of CFS/FMS. The following information and examples lend support for this statement.

... sodium neutralizes acidity in the body, by taking care of stomach and bowel disturbances such as gas and excess hydrochloric acid. But sodium is also needed for a deficiency of hydrochloric acid. [1, pg.327]

Sodium performs many vital functions in the body. It buffers acids in the stomach and intestine and assists in the transport of nutrients through the walls of the small intestine. If there wasn't a lot of sodium in the stomach wall, the hydrochloric acid would eat a hole right through it. [1, pg.56]

Sodium's importance is widespread in the body. It keeps calcium and magnesium in solution, and is active in the lymph and the blood. ... Lack of sodium results, not only in hardening, stiffness, rheumatism and gout, but also gallstone and bladder ailments. Fevers, heavy physical work, Turkish baths, excitement, temper, brain work, pregnancy, menstruation, spleen functioning, fibrous tissue and cartilage, all call for sodium salts. [1, pg.326]

Generally, when people lack hydrochloric acid, they lack sodium. Hospital tests have found that 85% of patients over 50 lack hydrochloric acid, perhaps because at that age we stay away from milk products a great deal. [1, pg.327]

The "unfriendly bacteria" take over the digestive tract when sodium is deficient. [1, pg.331]

Germ and bacterial growth is so profuse that the intestinal tract is overwhelmed by harmful agents which destroy the ratio of "friendly bacteria" in the colon. (The colon should have 85% "friendly" bacteria.) [1, pg.339]

Laborers in hot sun and arid climates lose body oils, tissue salts and fluids rapidly, resulting in brittle bones, hardened and stiff joints and ligaments, dry and wrinkled skin, due to depletion of sodium salts. [1, pg.337]

If sodium is not present in sufficient amounts, calcium deposits form in the body. [1, pg.330]

Most people when they hear the word sodium think of table salt. Table salt, NaCl or sodium chloride, is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. According to Dr. Jensen, table salt is an inorganic form of sodium. He does not recommend a person take it. (Although, in his book he does suggest using salt water to alleviate some symptoms so it would appear that there must be some exceptions to this rule. But, those recommendations were for specfic ailments.) As a general rule, and for the most benefit, sodium in the diet should be the organic form of sodium found in food sources.

The following foods are recommended by Dr. Jensen as being good sources for organic sodium. ( Note: the sodium content in most processed foods is from added salt. It is probably best to keep intake of this sodium at low levels. )

Highest Sodium Foods
Apricots, dried
Egg yolks
Peas, dried
Peppers, hot red, dried
Beets and greens
Goat milk
Cabbage, red
Sesame seeds
Irish moss
Spinach, New Zealand
Sunflower seeds
Chickpeas, dried
Swiss chard
Milk, raw
Collard greens
Mustard greens
Veal joint broth
Dandelion greens
Olives, black

Source: The Chemistry of Man, Dr. Bernard Jensen, pg. 341

Hopefully the above information is sufficient to convince you of the importance of supplying organic sodium in your diet.

Whey is the natural food highest in organic sodium, which is different from the chemical sodium in table salt (sodium chloride). Sodium is normally stored in the joints and gastrointestinal system walls. Depleted of sodium, joints pick up calcium deposits, the stomach becomes hypoacidic and bowel eliminations may become underactive. Whey is the best food for arthritis, rheumatism, digestive conditions and for dissolving cholesterol. [1, pg.326]

If you are lactose intolerant, you may still want to try whey to see if you can tolerate it. Some people with known lactose intolerance problems found that they were able to drink whey without experiencing a negative reaction, others found that they could not. Prove it for yourself to see if you can tolerate it rather than assume that you will react negatively to the whey. Sometimes negative reactions to dairy products are due to the casein rather than lactose. You will not know for certain unless you prove it for yourself.

If you do have a negative reaction experiment with a smaller, more dilute, quantity. Start with 1 teaspoon in a glass of water and gradually increase the amount taken.

For some, lactose intolerance is related to the ecology of the gut. When gut ecology is improved, lactose intolerance may disappear. If you cannot tolerate whey at this time, the other foods in the above list are good sources for organic sodium. Include a variety of them in your diet.

Which Whey?
Dr. Jensen prefers goat whey for the additional minerals that it provides. However, as a source of sodium, cow's milk whey is as good as goat's milk whey. Both types of whey contain lactose which will feed the "friendly" bacteria. You can learn more about goat's milk whey at Mt. Capra Products

When cheese is made, most of the minerals remain in the whey. Therefore, cow's milk whey will contain minerals as well, I'm not sure which minerals or what concentrations. ( In another article other foods will be suggested for specific nutrients. )

If you are allergic to cow's milk whey, it is possible that you can tolerate goat's milk whey.

Due to the lower cost I use sweet dairy whey made from cow's milk. I usually buy it online at The direct link to the page to order Sweet Dairy Whey is here.

If you are interested in learning a little more about whey here is an article on the subject, Allergy Hotline Columns: Whey.

Sweet dairy whey is fairly inexpensive. A 5 pound bag, costing about $10.00 will last me about 1 month. I use whey where I would normally use milk in foods and cooking. Most health food stores that carry bulk foods will stock sweet dairy whey, not to be confused with some of the more expensive whey protein products.

Isolate whey protein products have a greater concentration of milk protein, less sodium, and very little lactose. Dr. Cheney recommends these products as they provide the the amino acids needed for the production of glutathione, a free radical scavenger produced in the body. A couple thoughts on this: In a presentation Dr. Cheney gave in Dallas, He described how glutathione production follows the production of ATP. If you provide the raw ingredients and your body is not producing sufficient ATP then the body is likely not generating a lot of glutathione. It is possible that the body already has the ingredients to make glutathione but lacks the ATP to make it.

Isolate whey protein products contain more protein. In order to digest protein your stomach needs hydrochloric acid to activate the protein digestive enzymes. Proteins, after metabolism, are acid forming and therefore will require alkaline minerals to help eliminate the waste. Lastly, the proteins found in isolate whey protein products come from whey. Sweet dairy whey will provide the same proteins, only in a lesser concentration. For much less money. ( If you can handle the lactose. )

How Much?
Too much sodium results in loss of potassium. Too much pottassium in the diet results in loss of sodium.[2, pg.288]

Without salt (sodium) the body's functioning would soon stop completely. We need a certain amount of it. But this amount is really quit small -- 2 to 3 grams per day, according to R. Ackerly, M.C., in the "Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine".[2, pg.316]

We should have twice as much potassium as sodium if we would be healthy![2, pg.127]
(Note: while sodium foods are suggested in this article, potassium foods will be suggested in another article.)

A person eating foods high in potassium must also have plenty of sodium and chlorine in the diet; this is because every ounce of potassium excreted from the body precipitates 50 to 60 ounces of sodium.[1, pg.336]

Sodium and Potassium

Sodium is in greater concentration outside the cell, whereas potassium is more concentrated inside the cell. The separation of concentrations of these two minerals is such that sodium is always diffusing into the cell and potassium is always diffusing to the outside of the cell. The sodium-potassium pump is an enzyme that keeps putting sodium that has diffused into the cell back outside the cell while bringing potassium back into the cell. It is estimated that this pump consumes nearly 30 percent of the ATP that the cell manufactures. From the presentation you may recall that the person with FMS/CFS is low in ATP and there are blockages that reduce the amount of ATP that the cell makes.

If you study the nutrition analysis of two people with CFS/FMS, person-1 and person-2 (the analysis table is about 3/4 down the page), you will see that at the time the analysis was done each person had normal levels of potassium and low levels of sodium. It doesn't say, but I suspect that these mineral analysis' were done on the blood. Potassium is relatively very low in the blood compared to sodium. To confirm a potassium deficiency one would really need to analyze potassium levels within the cells.

I suspect that the sodium levels are low in the blood because there may be a greater concentration of sodium in the cells. If potassium has left the cell and been expelled from the body it would also cause sodium to be expelled along with it, lowering blood sodium levels.

An increase in sodium inside the cell and a decrease in sodium outside the cell would tend to lower the osmotic force that keep sodium moving into the cells. When sodium normally enters the cell it brings nutrients into the cell along with it. Therefore, nutrient transport into the cells would be decreased.

Sodium helps to maintain water balance in the body. When the body starts to become dehydrated the relative concentration of sodium in the blood increases. This triggers the thirst mechanisms causing you to drink fluids. When sodium levels are low, the body can become dehydrated and thirst mechanisms do not signal the need for more water.

For more information on water balance and salts in the body you may want to read Water Balance and Salt Balance on the Merck Medical Information website.

Drinking whey regularly will also help to hydrate the body. This is especially important once you begin doing sauna sessions. Your body cannot sweat if it does not have sufficient water to release some of it.

One goal of the program is to increase ATP production so that the sodium potassium pump can be sufficiently fueled. When the pump is working optimally, sodium and potassium balance should return to normal.

It Takes Time . . .
It takes at least 3 months for even a minimum sodium reserve to be replenished in the body.[1, pg.327]

Most people can reestablish their beneficial colon flora within 3 to 8 weeks simply by including 3 to 6 tablespoons of edible-grade sweet dairy whey in their daily diet. [4, pg.79]

In the program that the ladies followed, which included supplementing specific minerals, pain relief and improved sleep were seen at around the 6 to 8 week mark. Most participants were saunaing twice a week. Those that used the sauna more frequently did not see a faster response time. Though I imagine that this could also be related to the severity of affliction. One person that was saunaing 3 and 4 times per week had had CFS/FMS symptoms for over 12 years. She noticed improvement in the quality of her sleep about 8 weeks into the program.

Instead of supplementing minerals, the suggestion is to eat foods that will provide the nutrients needed to restore production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. When HCl is restored the body should then be able to get required nutrients from a healthy balanced diet.

Persist and persevere; Stick with the program, though at times you may feel discouraged because improvements are not coming as quickly as you would like. Know that you are getting better. You will!

All the best,

1. Jensen, Bernard, "The Chemistry of Man".
2. Rodale, J.I. and Staff, "The Complete Book of Minerals for Health".
3. Baroody, Theodore A., "Alkalize or Die".
4. Webster, David, "Acidophilus and Colon Health".

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