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Jacques de Langre PhD, a Californian biochemist studied Celtic Salt for over 30 years and his two books “Seasalt’s Hidden Powers” and “Sea Salt, the Vital Spark for Life” are well worth seeking out.
BISER: What is the reaction of most people when you tell them salt can be good for them?
DE LANGRE: They say, "I can't eat salt. My doctor won't let me." All they have heard in the media is how bad salt is. When I tell people about the health benefits of good salt, they say, "I didn't know there was anything good to say about salt." Twenty-five years ago, I contacted some people in the book business, I said, "I have an idea for a book on salt". The chief editor said, "You sprinkle salt on your food. What else is there to know?" I said "a lot".
BISER: Why is the scientific literature so against salt?
DE LANGRE: Science has arrived at some dangerous conclusions based on the wrong salt. 99% of the world's research on salt is done on commercial table salt. This is the only salt they know of. They think all salt is the same - but they're wrong. The medical doctors have a dilemma. Refined salt can cause a lot of problems. They are correct on that point and that has been well documented. Yet a salt-free diet has problems of its own. They're in a scientific rut. Neither approach, taking refined salt or avoiding it, is the answer. People desperately need salt for good health and medicine doesn't have any solution.
On the topic of salt, American scientists are very narrow-minded and insular. We are still in the dark ages of salt making. In many parts of France, when a person comes in with heart problems, high blood pressure or other problems, which are hard to diagnose, the first question the physician will ask is, "What kind of salt are you using?" There is no such opportunity here, because the only recognised salt is refined, white table salt. Some of the best scientific research on the health properties of good salt is written in French, German and Portuguese. But a few American doctors have read them.
Two classic French medical books on salt are, "The Ocean that Heals" & "Secrets of our Origins". A German medical classic on the healing powers of salt is "The Salt of Life." We don't have medical books like this in North America. This country was raised on refined salt. We inherited this from the English. So, we have never been exposed to a healthy salt. All we know of is Morton's salt. Americans are totally ignorant of any natural process that can make a healthy salt. We choose to ignore that which is so essential to our biology and so we continue to accept and spread the gospel on the dangers of salt. We have never been told there is another side.
BISER: You wrote in your book that a healthy and active lifestyle demands an adequate intake of salt. Is this true?
DE LANGRE: If your tears weren't salty, if your blood wasn't salty, if your sweat wasn't salty, you wouldn't be functioning very well. The current medical belief that our body can function on no salt at all or on a restricted salt intake, causes more problems than it tries to solve. You can't function without salt. Your heart can't function, your adrenal glands can't function, your liver can't function, your kidneys can't function. Sodium is the predominant solution in the circulating blood plasma and tissue fluids. Derek Denton brought out this point in the medical physiology book, "The Hunger for Salt".
Rene Quinton, the French physiologist, used the term "milieu interieur" - the internal environment, the unchanging salty environment of our own "internal ocean." He talked about serum of all warm-blooded animals on this earth. People forget, but everyone was born in a salty solution - our mother's amniotic fluid. This is probably the best biological proof we have that cellular structure in enhanced by salt. The amniotic fluid is a salty, 'mini-ocean' for the foetus. This is a prime example of why we need all of the ocean's minerals as part of our make-up. This is the very first thing anyone should discuss when talking about salt. This is basic. Your very blood needs salt to function.
There was an article in the Scientific American on this topic in the July, 1963 issue, "The Social Influence of Salt". It said, "The chemical requirements of the human body demand that the salt concentration in the blood be kept constant". They discussed how you can die on a completely salt-less diet.
BISER: Based on these thoughts, will a low-salt diet cause accelerated aging?
DE LANGRE: Absolutely. Your cells must be bathed in a sodium-based extracellular fluid. When the cells are not in this fluid, they will explode. This has been proven biologically. The cells of a mammal deprived of sodium literally explode. Without salt, there is no longer any exchange between the sodium on the outside of the cell and the potassium on the inside.
Talk about aging, this is probably the one, single most important biological fact that must be considered when you discuss salt. Deprived of that saline solution, the cells age. On the other hand, taking refined salt is not the answer. This will promote a pathological calcification and breakdown of cellular tissue. In either case, you have problems
BISER: Will restricting the salt intake help high blood pressure?
DE LANGRE: In the majority of cases, no. In most cases, the high blood pressure is not measurably lowered by restricting salt intake. Even a drastically reduced sodium diet - down to less that ½ gram/day, often fails to show any improvements in cardiovascular problems. Dr. John Laragh expressed the same thing in the May 1983 issue of the Annuals of Internal Medicine (page 740). "It is likely that even drastic sodium restriction would not prevent hypertension, because fewer than half of hypertensive patients would respond." He goes on to say, "Public health policy should be dictated by facts and not by hopes or opinions." I agree.
In another article, in the January 1991 issue of Hypertension, this same doctor states that salt restriction is a safe and effective treatment for the prevention of hypertension. "It must remain an interesting speculation, without enough evidence to justify its conclusion as part of a national program."
BISER: In scientific journals, I have read that a low-salt diet can actually cause high blood pressure in some people.
DE LANGRE: That's true for some people. I believe that when the heart has much less of a fuel for contraction, it is trying to raise the pressure by restricting the arteries. If you have a regular mechanical pump that doesn't work well or has a slow leak, you have to reduce the diameter of the vessel through which the liquid is being pumped. You can see how this would happen with a garden hose if you reduce the pressure. In this case, we are talking about blood. So the body compensates for a weak-pumping action by the heart via the arteries. Lots of other things are happening as well. On a low-salt diet, not only is the heart working harder, but so are many of the other organs as well.
BISER: How does a salt-free diet affect the heart?
DE LANGRE: A salt-free diet can damage the valves of the heart. The contractility of the heart muscles is negatively affected by a deficiency of salt. The heart can no longer contract normally. Remember, the heart is fed by a saline solution from the blood and lymph. On a salt-free diet, the valves of the heart can tire. They will begin to lacerate and break up in shreds. Biochemically, without salt, the cells starve. On a salt-free diet, you will not recover quickly after an illness. You can also get para-anaemia.
Salt is an energiser. That Recharge drink the athletes use is a salt-based fluid. There is a definite need for sodium chloride to maintain and rebuild the cells.
I have talked to a few friends who are sufferers. They say they get all kinds of nicks, cuts and scratches. But by being in and around the salt water, they heal very quickly. The good natural salt is very healing.
If salt was so bad, why do they feed intravenous saline solution in hospital patients. They do this because they body runs on salt. Without salt, we run out of electrolytes. Without electrolytes, our human batteries die out.
BISER: A lot of vegetarians eat salt-less diets. Is this beneficial?
DE LANGRE: It is very bad. You have so much ingested potassium from the green leafy vegetables, which is not neutralised by the sodium. If potassium is in excess in relation to sodium, the body loses its ability to produce hydrochloric acid. Then you have digestion problems, which vegetarians have.
BISER: How does the salt-free diet affect the health of many vegetarians?
DE LANGRE: They are open to a lot of respiratory ailments. This is because of the extra moisture on the lungs, which cannot be removed by the kidneys. They often have a lot of urinary infections. But I have received a lot of letters from vegetarians who have discovered my salt. They say they feel much better and have more energy
BISER: People generally think of salt as sodium chloride. But you don't accept that definition do you?
DE LANGRE: In this country, that is what people have been taught, all the way from kindergarten to medical school. To them, salt is pure sodium chloride. There is no other salt available in the U.S., so this rules their thinking. When people talk about salt, they overlook completely that there are 84 buffering elements in salt to protect people from the harshness of sodium chloride in its pure state. Nature put these complimentary elements in salt for two reasons.
First, to make sure that people could use the sodium properly. And second, to ensure that once the sodium has been utilised, it will be eliminated completely and quickly from the kidneys.
An analysis of salt goes way beyond the minerals and the chemical elements. There was an article on this topic in the September 1982 issue of Ocean Magazine. They made a fantastic defence of salt, saying salt is not just chemicals, it is a lot more. There is bio-electric energy in salt; there is magnetism; there are vital and inert gases, such as helium, neon and argon; plus there are micro-organisms that are critical for the life of salt. They wrote, "Sea water is a complex chemical soup, containing 84 of the 103 known elements."
Nature had a purpose in making our blood "like the ocean". In the ocean, sodium is buffered. In our blood, the sodium is buffered and in our diet, the sodium should be buffered as well. If you tried to inject pure sodium chloride intravenously, you would kill the patient. He goes into salt shock. This is well known in medical circles.
In the 1900's, a medical doctor named Jacques Loeb, from the university of California, performed an epic experiment. He put a fish in a tank of water mixed with refined salt, the same concentration of salt that exists in seawater. All the fish died. If fish can't live on pure sodium chloride in dilute concentration, how can we?
BISER: Let's talk about Celtic salt. Where did the method for Celtic salt first originate?
DE LANGRE: The Celtic process of drying the salt by the sun and the wind first started well over 900 years ago. The Celtic people of France changed the archaic boiling method of preparing salt. These salt makers were given royalty status. These methods were used along the entire coast, from the Netherlands to Morocco Brittany. France was favoured because of the unusually bright sunny climate and prevailing winds.
Today, the same pristine process of salt making continues. Celtic salt contains every element that is in seawater, minus the mud. There are actually more than 84 elements in the ocean, but they haven't all been detected yet.
To make the Celtic salt, ocean water is taken through a mile long decanting lake. This precipitates the particles at the bottom. The water then becomes a beautiful blue, more than any tropical ocean. This water is then guided in spirals along a series of concentrating ponds for 1-2 miles. When the salt reaches a certain concentration, they take out the excess magnesium salts, which are called the bitterns. The remaining salt is dried by the wind and the sun. There is never any heat used. What remains is biologically active, pure, moist, Celtic salt. No chemicals, preservatives or anything else has been added.
"Celtic salt lowers the blood pressure, because it removes the excess sodium from the tissues."
BISER: How do you know Celtic salt helps to lower high blood pressure? That's a rather controversial concept, isn't it?
DE LANGRE: We have had reports of people going to the doctor and their doctor saying, "Well, you must be taking less salt, because your blood pressure is lower." But the truth is, they didn't cut down their salt intake at all. They were taking Celtic salt. We get a lot on this point.
One reader writes, "My husband has refused to get off salt, so he has always had high blood pressure. But since he stopped using the store refined salt and started using Celtic salt, his blood pressure is now normal." We hear this all the time.
Here's a letter from a man in Los Angeles. "Two weeks ago I donated blood at a Red Cross station. At that time my blood pressure was 160 over 90. (Normal is 120 over 80). Yesterday, after hardly a week of using the Celtic salt, the only new addition to my diet, I recorded a blood pressure reading of 105 over 82. I am convinced that your salt had a hand in reducing my blood pressure".
Here's one more. "My husband has a severe problem with high blood pressure. Any amount of salt in the past would increase the blood pressure. Now he uses the Celtic salt and his pressure has not gone up. One old man who lives near me makes organic wine. He told me the same thing. He said his blood pressure went way down on the Celtic salt. Before, it was always high."
In the last 30 years, I would have heard testimonials such as this, say a couple of thousand. It's unbelievable. They all say the same thing. "All of a sudden my blood pressure is normal. What have I done? This is the most common thing I hear about Celtic salt.
BISER: Why does Celtic salt lower blood pressure? What's the mechanism?
DE LANGRE: In regular salt, the refined sodium chloride often stays in the body long after it has done its job. Celtic salt helps to remove this excess sodium, as soon as it is no longer needed. This is because the Celtic salt has magnesium, about ¾ of 1%, by solids.
One of the roles of magnesium in the body is to remove the excess sodium. The three forms of magnesium in Celtic salt which dissolves the sodium are magnesium chloride, magnesium sulphate and magnesium bromide.
It's one of the great nutritional paradoxes, that you have to give salt, in order to lower the level of salt in the tissues.
BISER: You said you have been taking Celtic salt for many years. How is your own blood pressure?
DE LANGRE: When I was 55, I was tested in Boston by two medical doctors. They both said I had the blood pressure of a twenty-year old. They were very, very surprised. I am 67, so that was twelve years ago. I have been using Celtic salt all my life. I have never restricted my salt intake.
Around here, they call me "The Salt Man". I don't over do it, but I like salt. Three years ago, I had my blood pressure tested by a surgeon. It was extremely low. It was still in the same range as it was when I was 55. He said there was absolutely no cholesterol deposits in the arteries. I use the salt on a lot of my food. But whenever I have a check-up, my doctor says my salt level is normal.
BISER: How long does it take for a person to notice a reduction of blood pressure on your salt?
DE LANGRE: It varies with each person. Sometimes people call me less than a month later and say, "I had my blood pressure taken and it has gone down. Could it be the salt?" I would have to say on average, it takes a month or longer to notice a drop in blood pressure. Of course, everyone is different. There are always exceptions.
The Celtic salt literally "scrounges" around the body looking for excess salt deposits in the interstitial tissue and it just drains this sodium through the kidneys. The Celtic salt will also help to dissolve kidney stones. Medical doctors have told me that. One woman from Montana wrote that when she first received Celtic salt, she felt like she had been given a bag of gold.
BISER: Suppose a person has a low blood pressure. Will taking the Celtic salt make their pressure go even lower?
DE LANGRE: Not at all. The Celtic salt has this uncanny ability to bring back to centre whatever function is unbalanced in the body. If you have low blood pressure, the Celtic salt will bring the pressure back up. If you have high blood pressure, it brings it down. Only natural means can do this. A pharmaceutical drug, which is designed to lower blood pressure, will only work one way - "down". And they can bring your pressure so darn low, you will have problems.
BISER: Have you heard stories of people who raised their low blood pressure on the Celtic salt?
DE LANGRE: Yes, definitely. Of course. Celtic salt is a blood pressure normaliser. Most people can't understand this, but Celtic salt has a 'biochemical intelligence'. It's a thinking salt.
It is totally different from the dead, lifeless, refined salt currently used. We are probably consuming 2-3 times more salt than we need. Mainly because we use a demineralized, refined salt, they would find they need much less salt in their food.
BISER: What do you think of natural sea salt sold in the health food stores?
DE LANGRE: This can be just as bad for your health as regular salt. Most sea salt often comes from the same refinery as commercial salt. You can tell sea salt is refined because you can pick it up and it does not have any sign of moisture at all. Refined salt is very dry salt. This tells you the magnesium has been taken out, because magnesium is a water-hugging molecule.
"I'm sorry to say, but most natural 'sea salt' is almost identical to supermarket salt."
BISER: How do you know that oedema goes down on the Celtic salt?
DE LANGRE: We met a very beautiful Japanese - American girl a few years ago. The girl was healthy-looking except for swollen ankles. She knew who I was. She said, "You're the salt man. I need to talk to you. Look at my ankles." I said, "Where have you been living?" She said, "I live on a macrobiotic farm and we use only the macrobiotic salt. This salt is refined, just like regular salt, but it has the stamp of approval from the macrobiotic teachings.
We started her on the Celtic salt and told her to totally avoid the macrobiotic salt. Two days later she came to my wife and grabbed her. She said, "Look at my ankles. The swelling has gone. They are now normal. I cannot believe the change." Macrobiotic salt is dangerous for your health. It is refined, desiccated and de-ionized.
BISER: For a person with heart problems, would you recommend the Celtic salt? How much would you recommend?
DE LANGRE: Definitely, in moderate quantities. I think the Celtic salt has the ability to cleanse the heart. Remember the famous experiment with the French doctor, Alexis Carrel? He kept a chicken heart alive for 37 years by feeding it this same Celtic salt. If he had used regular refined salt, the heart would never have lived that long.
Use it in moderation. Salt to taste. When using Celtic salt, use 2/3 the amount of salt you would normally use. If a recipe calls for 100 grams of salt, I will use only 65 grams of the Celtic salt. And it will have the same saltiness of the recipe. "A French physiologist, named Rene Quinton, healed thousands of people with a serum derived from sea water."
BISER: So by using the Celtic salt, you are actually using less salt? Does it affect your appetite?
DE LANGRE: Of course. Because you are meeting the taste bud's requirements. If you want to make a comparison test between the refined salt and Celtic salt, here is what to do. First Celtic salt. Your taste buds will be gently awakened. If you put the regular salt on your tongue, your tongue will be out of commission for at least 30 minutes. You cannot taste anything else. With the refined salt, your taste buds are stunned and weakened. Your sense of taste is suppressed. This is why you see people in restaurants piling the salt on in order to get some taste out of the food. The salt irritates the taste buds and inhibits them.
Here's another experiment you can try, if you are not too queasy. With a sharp and clean razor blade, make a little cut on the back of your left hand and put some refined salt on the cut. Then put a Band-Aid on. Do the same thing on the right hand, but now cover it with Celtic salt. In the morning, you will find an inflammation where you used the refined salt. But not with the Celtic salt. I believe regular refined salt inflames the cells of the body.
You don't need to eat as much food, because you are getting more nutrition from the food you eat. You will find you are satisfied quicker.
"The potential harmful consequences of salt restriction have not been examined." Dr.M.G.Nicholis. M.D. Endocrine Dept, Princess Margaret Hospital, NZ
BISER: Will people live longer on the Celtic salt?
DE LANGRE: I definitely think so. Celtic salt is a cleanser of bodily fluids. It will help keep your body biochemically clean. Plus you are giving the body a perfect isotonic solution. Alexis Carrel's chicken heart experiment should prove more than anything else that Celtic salt can aid longevity.
BISER: Does cooking or boiling harm Celtic salt?
DE LANGRE: Ideally, you want to cook the salt as little as possible. It is best to add the Celtic salt to your food directly. When you cook with the salt, try to add the salt toward the very end of the cooking. This is when you have almost no boiling going on. Just a low simmer.
BISER: Is there any way a person can take too much Celtic salt?
DE LANGRE: You can overdose on anything. You have to use common sense. In healthy people, there is a built-in mechanism that tells them when the body has had enough salt. You are not as prone to start pouring the salt from the shaker as many do with refined salt.
BISER: Why do you say that if you don't cook your vegetables with salt, you will never cure illnesses
DE LANGRE: Vegetables cannot be fully digested without being salted. When you use the Celtic salt, I would say you can get up to seven times the nutrition out of vegetables. For example, take leeks or dandelion roots. They are supposed to be a good diuretic. If you don't use any Celtic salt, dandelion root really acts very little on the urinary tract. But put a little Celtic salt on it and the potency is vastly increased.
A lot of people have told me that vegetables have little taste until you put good salt on them. I especially use Celtic salt on oily foods like avocados. The salt helps to digest and emulsify oils - even natural oils.
Anyone who takes herbal teas for healing, should add a pinch of Celtic salt to the tea. This will make it far more potent. In Africa, the natives add this salt to their tea at night. It is far healthier to take tea with salt than with a sweetener.
BISER: How about salt from deep mines out West or from ancient seabeds. Is this healthy salt?
DE LANGRE: Salt from long-buried salt mines or ancient sea beds is not fit for humans. After thousands of years of rainfall through these geological layers, many of the vital minerals are depleted. The natural balance of the salt is gone. Most of the essential elements are driven down to the bottom of the pile - hundreds of feet below the salt line. The result is a de-mineralised salt, or sometimes, an over-mineralised salt.
BISER: How do big companies refine salt?
DE LANGRE: They are basically extracting all the precious elements out of salt, so they can sell the minerals to chemical companies for a good profit.
What's left is a by-product, pure sodium chloride. To this, they add anti-yellowing bleaches and glucose.
"The inorganic iodine they add to commercial table salt can cause obesity and sexual paralysis."
BISER: Is Celtic salt good for animals?
DE LANGRE: It's fantastic for dogs, horses and even pet fish. We have had people write, who added Celtic salt to their fish tank. They said their fish were dying. As soon as they added a pinch of the salt, the fish came back to life.
BISER: What is the normal reaction to Celtic salt?
DE LANGRE: The major reaction is a renewal of energy. Fatigue diminishes. You also have more mental alertness. As far as adverse reactions, some people get rashes. The salt acts as a scavenger and purges the body of many toxins from some hidden areas. These toxins come out into the circulatory and lymph system and particularly the kidney area. This is where the rash comes from; it is a kidney cleansing. This is a normal reaction for people who are very toxic. If you are not toxic, it will not happen.
A similar reaction is that sores will break out under the armpits. If you do take the Celtic salt and you do get a rash, you can say, "Hallelujah", something good is happening to me. When that happens, all they have to do is take baths with the Celtic salt and rub the rash very gently with the saline solution. This will get the skin to function as an elimination organ. After the mild rash has gone, warts and black skin moles have been known to shrink, shed and drop off.
When you have a wound, you will find adding a little Celtic salt to your diet will speed the healing. Two weeks ago, I cut myself down to the bone on my little finger. Now, you cannot even see the scar. It totally disappeared. The first thing I did was to put Celtic salt on the wound and I consumed a little more salt than normal. Now, the wound is gone. By using Celtic salt, your body will heal that much faster. Your body cells can regenerate more easily.
BISER: Thank you very much, Dr.De Langre.