Or are the Japanese less reliant on antidepressants because they consume a lot of soy sauce and fish sauce which tend to have a high salt content?

Physiologist Alan Johnson of the University of Iowa found that sodium-deprived rats take less pleasure in daily activities – they can’t be bothered to drag themselves across the cage to push a bar that releases a dose of sugar water.…But let the rats have salt again and “they’re all happy” Johnson said.

Very low sodium in rats, humans, and other land animals may induce something similar to depression—and that eating more salt may make us happier, Johnson thinks. He points to one study of people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Many of the patients were found to have reduced their sodium intake for health reasons. Increasing sodium in their diets alleviated many of the patients’ symptoms.

  1. wowza says:

    I had my physician tell me after I reported feeling foggy for a period of months, “You might find it strange for a doctor to tell you this, but I think you need more salt in your diet. You’re probably low on electrolytes.”

    I think he was right. I love simple solutions and dislike medicating for medicating’s sake.

  2. denacron says:

    Paralleling the topic… Iodized salt can be very beneficial. http://tinyurl.com/ymq3sk

  3. Dust In The Wind says:

    It’s not a lack of salt that’s to blame, it’s a lack of Niacin (B3).

  4. DavidtheDuke says:

    I don’t think anyone really knows much at all, and if they do, it’s almost equivalent to a certain religion knowing their right and finding a way to convince EVERYONE else they’re right.

  5. Father says:

    At this point I have to take a B-complex dose with lunch, or I’ll fall asleep.

    I’ve been playing around with my salt intake lately, so this is good information.

    Well done blog!

  6. Tom Woolf says:

    That does it – I need more sushi in my diet… (sushi chefs cringe at the amount of soy sauce I let soak into their creations)

  7. iDoc4 says:

    Why don’t you load up on salt and avoid blood pressure cuffs for awhile and we’ll see what happens, John?

    It will be an interesting experiment – for us, anyway.

  8. sargasso_c says:

    An uncle fought in the western desert and they took salt tablets. A low sodium diet in a hot climate can be lethal. Hyponatremia at the Mayo Clinic… http://bit.ly/dqmDfl

  9. Animby says:

    I think salt is reflexively maligned but not in order to sell more antidepressants. (Another Curry Idiot Conspiracy Theory?) I believe it was well-intentioned physicians and nutritionists, worried about the effects of sodium on those at risk of hypertension, pushing low-sodium diets on the population. Currently, there is a lot of research being done on sodium in the human body and I think you may find some surprising results released in the near future.

    Remember this: Your body needs to have somewhere over 100 grams of sodium just to function normally. If you exercise heavily you can lose 25 to 40 grams of salt per day! Mst people are going to lose 4 or 5 grams per day. Either way, you’re not going to replace that on a 2000 mg (2 gram) sodium diet!

    The truth is the human bod is really good at maintaining an appropriate salt balance. If you don’t have enough, you’ll crave salty foods. If you have too much, your kidneys will turn your urine into a salt mine.

    That’s the way a healthy body works. If you already have kidney disease or hypertension or heart disease, well, you shouldn’t be getting your nutritional advice from a blog.

  10. Benjamin says:

    If you are on a low salt diet, your blood pressure will go down only a few points. The health problems caused by abstaining from salt really negate the benefits of having your blood pressure just a little lower. My doctor didn’t even suggest that I reduce salt.

  11. Benjamin says:

    #15 pedro said, “Depends on how much salt you have in your diet to begin with.”

    Does not. If you eat too much salt, you pee out the excess. If you don’t get enough, you crave salty foods. Most Americans have a salt deficiency.

    Besides, a life of eating bland food is no life at all.

  12. Nohelp says:

    Can you please provide a link to the original article or source?

  13. Lavi says:

    Doesn’t Japan have a high suicide rate? Does that mean that there are less depressed people around to prescribe antidepressants to??

  14. poopsushi says:

    Is there a link to the entire article? Or am I overlooking it?


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