Mineral - Sodium

Today's mineral is a very commonly known mineral. In its simplest form, according to the periodic table of elements, this mineral is just plain old salt. But to label it as "plain old salt" is really doing injustice to this mineral. It is known and used in many forms. In essence, Sodium is vital to life, another one of those minerals that life cannot exist without it. Sodium also has a bad rap in certain biological settings. Sodium also has a good rap in certain biological settings. So we will look at this whole deal and then you can decide how you want to view the controversy. Sodium is associated with the amino acid Leucine. It follows the UUG codon, is used 17,919,096 times in the DNA sequence and carries a valence number of +1. It is relatively light in molecular weight, coming in at 22.99 and is recognized by the symbol of Na. 

I thought that we should clarify a few points here in the beginning as we will use some terms and I really don't like to qualify the terms each time they are mentioned. So we will do so here, but keep in mind that I don't believe that there is an officially recognized set of standards as it applies to Sodium so we will just make our own set of terms and standards. However, in this making up of our own qualifications, we can find documentation out there to support each of our points, so it isn't completely made up. So here we go...

Organic Sodium; Pretty much all salt is "Organic" in the strictest sense. There are salts mined or derived from many sources worldwide. So as long as these salts, oops, I mean Sodium, is just "mined" and ground up as is with their impurities, it would be "Organic", providing those impurities are naturally occurring with the salt, then we have Organic Sodium. These impurities are generally other minerals, of which all serve a biological function. I have shown that in many of these minerals in past E-Lectures. Inorganic Sodium is what they generally use in industrial applications. In this setting, the impurities are not welcome as it messes up the industrial application of the Sodium. However, some sources of salt/sodium for human consumption aka; table salt, are derived from the same sources as the industrial sources and these are generally referred to as the "bad" salts or bad Sodium. One of the main reasons is that many times they add certain fillers, such as anti-caking agents and maybe even other fillers for various reasons. One of the fillers or additions is Iodine. I see this as a good thing overall. As most people do not have enough Iodine in their diets and it appears to have been a good idea for the masses. Most "Rock Salt" is or would be considered "Organic".  Then you have the type of Sodium that is taken up through a plant. Then the person would consume the plant and get their Sodium through that source. This is perhaps the best and most usable form. The next best source would be through using animal/fish/etc., as a source of dietary Sodium. Perhaps the next best source for dietary Sodium is from Rock Salt. Usually, the "Salts" that have some color to them as better than the "only one color" Salt/Sodium. One of the reasons for the colored salt being better is that the color is usually caused by various other minerals. In the industrial setting, those are referred to as impurities. The good thing here is that these are companion minerals in most situations or even the safe and best types for biological use to enable the Sodium to do its job and be efficient. As a general rule most sources of salt will contain about 40% Sodium, then the rest is "impurities" of other minerals. But that is not a hard and fast rule as some Sodium is all salt. So it is a situation of not really being too standardized.   

Many of you have heard of the Himalayan Pink Salt, I am sure. This is one type of salt or Sodium that contains a long list of impurities, such as minerals and clays and in this type of salt, some pre-historic micro-organisms, as that is what gives it it's pink color. However, it is really not mined in the Himalayas but rather in the Punjab region of Pakistan, which is near the Himalayas.  But the marketing scheme is remarkable on this salt. So remarkable in the fact that they mine about 300,000 tons per year and about 250,000 people visit the mine each year. From a chemical analysis point of view, the content is pretty much the same as most mineral containing rock salt. Then from my perspective anyway, is some mineral type salt that is mined locally. We use this salt all the time for table salt. It is actually more colorful than the above-mentioned salt, and that is because of the clays in it. The clay is where the minerals are captured. Based on the analysis that I have seen this salt contains a much wider profile of minerals than any of the other salts that I have seen. The source of this is a pre-historic sea that was in the area. So it is more of a sea mineral based Sodium source than the other colored salts. Then when you travel due east about 40 miles you will find coal deposits and then about another 10 miles going east, you will find the source of the Plant-Derived Mineral source/mine.  However, the coal mines are in the tops of the mountains and the PDM mines are way down in the lower valleys. When you look at it and consider how it might have been in pre-historic times when these deposits were formed, it makes perfect sense. You have an outer area where the plants were covered over by various deposits, then as the water source was receding, the animals and some plants and a change in the pH balance you see the coal formations. Then as the water is almost dried up, with all animals and pretty much the plants are all gone, you see nature working its magic and consolidating the minerals in the sea water to the point of the water totally drying up to the point of solidifying the minerals, with Sodium being the largest amount quantity wise and then finally the top cover blowing over and covering these deposits. Perhaps this is one of the few places that a perfect storm of sorts took place in this whole deal. However, in many other places in the world, we have 1 or even 2 of these events taking place, but few and far between do we see all 3 events happening in perfect sequential timing. 

Anyway, let's move on. Sodium is most recognized or associated with Kidney function. Its also involved in regulation of blood pressure and the heart function. It is also involved in keeping osmotic balance on a cellular level, that is the balance between the outside of the cell and the inside of the cell. This is very critical to proper functioning of the cell. In my opinion one of the most important factors is the role that Sodium plays in the nerve signaling process. I have made reference to the concept that based on what I know from studying the brain in psychology circles and understanding the necessity of a near perfect balanced saline solution for proper nerve impulse transmission, of which Sodium is the key element here, it actually amazes me that biological entities function as good as they do, despite the lack of a near perfect balanced saline solution in actuality. For those that don't know, our brain is not a hardwired circuit board. It has all kinds of these little places where the electrical impulses have to jump across a break, so to speak in the circuit, to properly signal action. So to keep the impulses channeled properly, the saline solution, made primarily of Sodium, has to be in place or it goes all bonkers. 

Sodium plays a vital role in the whole digestive process. One of the critical elements of the hydrochloric acid solution which is totally necessary for digestion is Sodium. It interacts with many other elements, such as Calcium to affect digestion. Also in the psychological phenomenon of the Fight or Flight concept,  Sodium can affect that whole situation within a matter of a second or two. When this is triggered, Sodium will cause the stomach to void its self of all contents to lighten up the body so that less weight is carried, so that you can move faster. Hense, we hear the term being used to describe a setting when really scared as being, "Scared the living crap out of you" When scared, you do what? Run and run, right? You signal "Fight" then digestion is turned off and all energy is channeled to support the "Fight". Digestion does consume a lot of energy, so, turn that off. All of this takes place within a second or two. So these types of actions can happen quickly and Sodium is the main element in making this happen. So with "Fight" being signaled, everything shuts down and locks up. I guess the body knows that "voiding" as in the "flight" signal, would not be good, don't need to be slipping and sliding around when involved in a fight. You are supposed to laugh at this point, but I think you get the point, at least I hope you would by now.  Then you have another product that many of you should be familiar with and that is Baking Soda. Yes, good old baking soda is basically, well not basically, but just a different formulation and type of a Sodium product. More on this in the summary section. 

Essential OIl Connection. 

Now here we are going to look at things in a different light than we have done before. We aren't going to list the ppm of each type of food product that might contain Sodium because it is almost impossible to get a consistent standard of measurement across the spectrum. Plants can show such a different reading and this is because of the soil and the amount of Sodium available for uptake during the crop cycle. Pretty much every plant, thus every oil will have some sodium in it. But it even gets more technical on this point and that point is the country of origin of a given set of plants. Sodium uptake in plants is really just like Sodium uptake in humans and animals. It depends on a long list of other factors. These factors are usually the companion minerals for Sodium, namely Calcium, Boron, and even hydration. It does not matter what oil you use you will have a factor of Sodium involved. But the plants, thus the oils do have a pattern of being a little bit higher in Sodium on a consistent basis and those plants/oils are as follows; The Citrus oils. most Berry oils, most of the annual plants that you plant in the garden, mushrooms, any and all of the sea minerals and sea plants. Most plants that grow near a body of seawater.  

Summary and Discussion;

Ah, here we go with some interesting stuff. We generally do not have a shortage of Sodium in our bodies. What we have is to much of a bad type of Sodium in our body. The bad as defined here is of the processed type or found in processed foodstuff.  IT ends up being bad because of the "other" inert ingredients added to the processed Sodium and or the off-balance of nature of the Sodium in relationship to other minerals and enzymes. Many times it will cause the RNA/DNA structure to change coding and then it goes bonkers from there. Or it will block the uptake of other minerals and then it is like not having it there at all. It seems like everything biological evolves around a rational balanced ratio of many minerals, enzymes, acids, etc., and any time you throw those balanced ratios off, something will go wrong somewhere along the line. So this is really the biggest danger in the so-called "bad" or processed Sodium. So why do we see so much Sodium being used in food and food-related products? Because it is cheap, it is cheap, money wise, and it mixes in good, makes things taste good, actually better sweetener in many applications than sugar.  

One area where I think we have a real lack of understanding about Sodium is in its application to plants. We have people freaking out about too much Sodium/salt in the soil and causing plant growth issues. It does cause a problem when it makes it too acidic. All too often we think of it in an either-or situation. It isn't that way at all. What is going on is many times we don't have a proper Sodium balance in the soil as a general rule. In soils where heavy commercial agricultural fertilization program has taken place, then yes we have a Sodium issue going on, as in too much Sodium. But in situations where a commercial application of fertilizer is not taking place, you can actually add mineral salt to the soil and it is better than applying commercial fertilizer. Take along the side of the road for example. The grass there will green up sooner in the spring, stay green longer in the fall and use less water throughout the year than grass, say 100 feet away in a field or whatever.  Now by the so-called laws and guidelines of most people out there that will claim that Sodium is bad, bad and worse, we see a different picture showing in this situation. These plants do real good and what is more interesting is the flavor of the grass is more to the liking of the animals, as they prefer to graze on the grass that has been salted than the no salt plants or the processed with too much salt, type of plants. Anyway, if you want to make your plants taste better in your garden, try giving them some Sodium, salt them down a little bit. Perhaps this is one of the factors in making plants taste better when manure is used in the soil in which they are grown in. The Sodium secreted in the animal manure is enough to make the flavor remarkable. Hey, I am not joking on this point, it is factual. Human manure??? NO don't go there, while it may have a good Sodium load, there are too many toxins, ie; the toxin load is too heavy, it will cancel out the good and might give you some kind of Frankenstein produce. Talk about GMO, it would give new meaning to the concept. lol. 

Sodium is so important in the whole picture that in simple terms, we cannot function nor can any living thing function without it. Totally vital to our existence. Of course, a proper balance and ratios with other minerals are necessary for proper efficiency and use, but none the less, we have to have it. Even many industrial settings require Sodium to function. So if you can figure out how to make life function without Sodium, let me know. Myself along with many other people would love to know how that works out. We could go on for days in discussing Sodium and the many types and forms of Sodium but I think we all know that it is vital for life. I might also add that despite knowing a lot about Sodium, I think maybe we don't understand it as well as we should.  I hope this E-Lecture will spur you on to learn more about Sodium and how to apply it in your life. With that, have a good day, see you next time.