Take it with a Grain of Himalayan Salt?

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Joseph Mercola, O.D., states on his website, ?This salt from the Himalayas is known as ?white gold? because it contains eons of stored sunlight.? He sells 4 oz of this ?white gold? for a mere $7.95 - a mere 1/20th the price of gold but about 20 times the cost of salt at your local super market. Dr. Mercola continues with, ??Himalayan Crystal Salt offers all the natural elements exactly identical to the elements in your body ? the very same elements originally found existing in the ?primal sea?.? Of course, Dr. Mercola tell us that: ?Today?s common table salt is poison that has nothing in common with natural salt.?

Dr. Mercola?s pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo about ?vibrational energy? stored in this primordial sea salt may impress people who know next to nothing about physics, chemistry, and nutrition science. Perhaps the most disturbing claim he makes is that the Himalayan salt he sells does not promote hypertension like regular salt. Dr. Mercola states: ?Natural crystal salt always has a balancing effect and does not contribute to high blood pressure like typical table salt.? Of course, Dr. Mercola is correct that regular salt promotes high blood pressure but has Dr. Mercola published a clinical trial supporting any of ?The 13 amazing health benefits of Himalayan Crystal Salt?? he makes for the Himalayan salt he sells? As far as this reviewer knows, there is no credible research demonstrating any unique health benefits to Himalayan salt, sea salt, rock salt, iodized salt, Kosher salt, or any other salt consisting largely of sodium chloride. The only thing odd about Himalayan salt is that its label (shown at www.mercola.com) lists 1400mg of sodium per ? tsp. Salt or sodium chloride is 60% chloride. My guess is Himalayan salt actually has about 560mg of sodium per ? tsp making it pretty much identical to table salt. Of course, this rather na?ve form of mislabeling is far less dangerous than the many false and misleading health claims for Mercola?s products. Perhaps another warning letter from the FDA to Dr. Mercola will arrive in 2007 but the odds are he?ll pretty much ignore that one just as he has the previous letters in 2005 and 2006.

By James J. Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN

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