Sunday, July 24, 2005

Executive Summary of Salt/C

For those who just want a quick overview of how the Salt/C protocol works, here is an 'Executive Summary,' as it is being used in the Yahoo LymeStrategies group. This is simply a summary of what is working for many people who are using Salt/C. I am not a medical professional so therefore this is intended as a report and not advice for any health problem.


Salt/C is as simple as it sounds, taking the right salt with a good quality vitamin C product. The basic protocol is as follows. People usually begin with 1g per day of salt and 1g per day of vitamin C, and then gradually ramp up (increase the dose) over a period of weeks or even months to around 8-12g per day of each taken throughout the day. The rule of thumb for maximum target dose for most people with Lyme is 1g for every 15 lbs (6.75 kilos) of bodyweight. People who also have CFS should target a lower dose, which will be explained below. The rule of thumb for how fast to ramp up is to GO SLOWLY. Unlike ‘quick fix’ treatments we have all been conditioned to expect in medicine, this is a gentle and gradual, but very powerful treatment. Regaining your health through Salt/C is no race; everyone improves at their own rate.


The best salts for Salt/C are the "CMC" brand salt tablets featured on, also Krystal Salt (Hunza or Himalayan), or RealSalt. Some people use Celtic sea salt and a few other unprocessed natural salts. The Krystal Salt is probably considered the most powerful and effective, and has a nearly perfect mineral balance. People using the CMC salt usually add a liquid mineral supplement as the CMC tablets are a pure NaCl formulation (pharmaceutical grade), and extra minerals are needed to offset the high sodium levels. Most people using Salt/C do not even CONSIDER using Table salt. Not only will that not work right, but 12g per day could be harmful due to the additives it contains. There is no agreed-upon best vitamin C product. Some people do better with natural preparations of vitamin C, others do better when bioflavinoids are included (slower release, such as Ester-C). But most people are able to use a standard vitamin C product successfully.


The period of time in which people ramp up to full dose is dependent on how well they feel as they take the salt. When they feel very poorly at a dose, usually they stay at that dose until they feel better again, and then increase the dose again. Or they may lower your dose until they feel better, then try increasing the dose again later. Some people can ramp-up to their full dose within 1-2 weeks, adding 1g per day, some add only 1g per week, and some people take many months to get to higher doses. The full dose varies, generally people target 8-12g, some go higher. This is based on body mass, the rule of thumb given is 1g per 15 lbs of body weight. However this is an arbitrary rule based only on anecdotal evidence. For people who are or suspect they might be salt sensitive, a much lower target is suggested, possibly half the amount of salt, or 1g per 30 lbs of body weight. Most people will feel a little better the first few days, but then gradually feel worse. This is defined as a ‘die-off’ reaction from killing pathogenic bacteria and other bugs, or a ‘Herxheimer’ effect (‘herx’ for short). For some people the herx involves exacerbation of symptoms they have had before. For others it involves completely new symptoms, often neurological in nature. The herx symptoms also tend to ‘flare-up’ every 3-5 weeks during Salt/C. The people who have succeeded in full remission of Lyme Disease have remained on the full protocol for at least 9 months, and up to 2 years. Some have chosen to remain at full dose after reaching "symptom-free" from Lyme, others have reduced to just a low "maintenance dose" (average 3 grams/day) and remained symptom-free.


Be sure to drink lots of pure water, sometimes with balanced trace minerals if possible (such as 'Concentrace' by Drink whenever you feel thirsty. Salt/C is an unsafe therapy if a person does not or can not drink a lot of water to flush out the excess salt. The rule of thumb is 8 oz of water for every 1g of salt. For people with weaker kidneys that may not be enough. So drink extra water, be sure to stay properly hydrated.


Most people using Salt/C are also using other natural treatments as adjunct. This is usually customized to the needs of the individual, and often the adjuncts are designed to help manage the herx symptoms. Some common areas for adjuncts include detoxification enhancement (gentle liver cleansing), metal binding (Chlorella, Spirulina, etc.), immune enhancement, anti-candida supplementation (Candex or Candidase, or others), glutathione boosting (whey proteins, Recancostat), adrenal support, heart support (cayenne or combination heart supplements), and natural antibiotics (colloid silver, oregano oil, olive leaf extract, etc.) . Some people are using Salt/C in combination with prescription medications, and in some cases Salt/C appears to enhance the effects of the medication.


Although many people are improving using Salt/C, and a few consider themselves 'cured', people also have had serious negative reactions. One person with MS had a worsening of her condition and lost her ability to walk. A few people appear to have had mild kidney damage and mild vision disturbance. This is a small minority, but every person counts. So here are some contraindications and warnings.

First the contraindications. People with a known history of hypertension, heart or kidney disease, or with CFS (those with ACE mutations) should probably skip Salt/C, or only should use very small doses, and track medical indicators to ensure it is safe for them. People with MS also should probably skip Salt/C, at least until more information is available about the one failure case.

Now the warnings for those well enough to try Salt/C. Probably everyone on salt/c should have a weekly BP check (self-administered, cuffs are not very expensive). If there is ANY concern about the safety of salt/c, a person should probably have regular kidney function testing, with an advanced test for microalbuminuria on occasion (a test for albumin in the urine). And make sure to have an eye exam and physical with heart exam at some point early in the protocol, and maybe regularly during the protocol. Also, a warning about water is in order. If a person does not drink adequate water, the effect on the kidneys is the same as if they increased their salt dose. For those with weak kidneys this could be problematic. If a person is not regular in their water drinking habits, they should create a tracking log or some other mechanism to ENSURE that they get a proper amount of water, at least 8 oz for every 1g of salt, or more.

Salt/C will produce some devastating herxheimer responses. These may obscure symptoms of salt intolerance. Therefore it may be important to go off Salt/C regularly and make sure that any strong symptoms can subside on their own and no new chronic health problems are emerging. The symptoms of salt intolerance or salt toxicity can vary. Based on a brief scan of the research and reports from people believing they are having salt intolerance symptoms, these could include unusual pains or functional limitations appearing in the heart, kidneys, eyes, or nerves. In particular, kidney area pain, severe thirst, edema, extreme mood swings (possibly due to electrolyte imbalances), heart or chest area pains, palpitations, left arm pains, severe shortness of breath, visual disturbances, or motor problems. Some of these types of symptoms can be the result of a herx so the presence of symptoms does not automatically indicate salt intolerance. Therefore, if a person has these symptoms, or other problems related to the organs mentioned that do not seem like a die-off response, they should be careful to record them, lower their Salt/C dose and see if the symptoms improve. If symptoms do not improve, they probably should stop Salt/C and seek medical testing.

The reason for these warnings is that salt is a toxin at very high doses. A dose of .5g/kg is considered unsafe by toxicologists. This would be 30g for a 132 lb person (60kg). Nobody on Salt/C should be taking that high of a dose, so we would seem to be safe. However, some people are hypersensitive to salt, for several reasons including a common mutation in the angiotensin system genetics (ACE). For these people, the effect of salt may be amplified, so they can be harmed by high doses. And the damage is not trivial, potentially including heart, kidney, eye and nerve injury. So why do we even want to take Salt/C then? Because for most people taking natural salts in the doses recommended is safe, and the potential benefits can be dramatic. But for a minority the risk is too great. These people will generally respond to a high salt dose with elevated BP, so regular BP checks are a first line of defense. And the other testing recommended should help ensure the safety of Salt/C. Remember that most ordinary people consume 9 g of salt daily anyway. So the salt doses on Salt/C are not as scary as this cautionary information might sound, but for those with salt sensitivity, an issue independent of Salt/C that affects people everywhere, these are important concerns.

For those concerned about this, but still interested in Salt/C, tests for the ACE gene mutation are available from several labs, so if a person is very worried about this they can get their DNA evaluated.

I strongly suggest that EVERYONE who tries Salt/C keep records of their symptoms, being brutally honest about the results they are happening. That may be helpful in decision-making about ramping-up, ramping-down or discontinuing the protocol during episodes of brain fog that can occur during the herx.

Good luck!


I am not a doctor and am just sharing an anecdotal protocol that has helped some people. I have made every effort to provide a balanced view of the risks and rewards of Salt/C. Ultimately you are responsible for what you take into your body. If you have any concerns about Salt/C, please consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet as discussed in this protocol.

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Is Salt/C a form of human pickling?

I have been thinking about pickling for some reason so I looked through some pickling recipes. And here is what caught my attention. There are two common forms of pickling, slow fermented and fast. Both processes use salt and acid to produce the preservation effect. Slow processes use a small amount of acetic acid (vinegar) and lactic acid (a product of fermentation). Fast processes use a lot of acetic acid plus salt. And since slow can use acetic OR lactic acid, it seems that a variety of acids will work. Interesting, isn’t it? I wonder if ascorbic acid (from Vitamin C) has a function similar to acetic acid when combined with salt. Someone posted recently to the Yahoo LymeStrategies group about vinegar enhancing the effect of Salt/C… Could Salt/C be a human pickling process? After all, unlike cucumbers, humans have salt in their veins, maybe we are living pickles already… :0

LymePhotos says that salt taken alone is an age-old remedy, but if you look at pickles, Salt/C could also be an age-old remedy, if ascorbic acid can be compared to acetic/lactic acids, as present in pickled vegetables. And the plot thickens…

Here are the ingredients from a slow pickle recipe:

8 cups water
¼ cup vinegar
½ cup salt4 pounds of 4-inch pickling cucumbers2 tablespoons dill seed or 4 to 5 heads fresh dill2 cloves garlic (optional)2 dried red peppers (optional)
2 teaspoons whole mixedpickling spices (optional)

And here are ingredients for a fast recipe for sweet pickles, using all vinegar with no water, perhaps to manage the effects of the sugar on bad bacteria:

5 quarts (about 7 pounds) 1½-inch cucumbers½ cup pure granulated salt8 cups sugar1½ quarts vinegar¾ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seed2 teaspoons whole mixed pickling spice2 cinnamon sticks½ teaspoon fennel (optional)2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)

Did anybody notice the ‘other’ ingredients? They use peppers. Some of us have added cayenne pepper, interesting J. They add pickling spices that have medicinal value, such as turmeric, fennel (licorice), and garlic. Also these are common ‘supplements’ that I and others use. Certainly some of that is for flavor, but I find it interesting that those ‘flavors’ are also medicines to us.

Here is a link for fast pickles:

And for fermented pickles:

So perhaps we are pickling ourselves in a real sense following the fermented process. We even add the protiotics, fermenting our gut.

I guess the only remaining question is whether we are dill or sweet pickles :).

Humor for the day, or a useful clue? Wish I knew. Vinegar has been used to treat stomach acid problems and to lower infection levels in AIDS patients. So perhaps there could be a 'pickle protocol' for CFS-Lyme, Salt/Vinegar anyone?

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Science of Salt/C

What is the science behind Salt/C? How does this simple protocol help people with Lyme Disease and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, when so many other protocols fail? I think the most accurate answer is that nobody really knows. But there are many possible explanations. I have collected some that I find most interesting. Here are a few scientific explanations that seem plausible.

1 – The Salt/C dose temporarily elevates blood salinity, which causes osmotic shock to certain vulnerable bacteria (they are dehydrated after being forced to take in more salt than they can excrete)
2 – Salt powers certain white blood cells, particularly the neutrophils, which use the salt to kill certain bacteria
3 – Salt alkalinizes the blood slightly
4 – We are salt deficient due to an infection that alters aldosterone/adrenal levels, perhaps because the bug prefers a lower sodium environment, and the salt/c improves that situation
5 – Salt has a detoxifying effect at a cellular level, as this is a player in osmotic processes (this may be very helpful with intercellular infections like Borrelia or mycoplasma, as the salt gets into the cell and may work against those pathogens)
6 – We are somewhat dehydrated due to infection/toxin load, and the salt allows us to absorb more water (this might be particularly helpful for the lymphatic system)
7 – Salt addresses gut dysbiosis, killing many pathogens and promoting growth of good bacteria (the same effect as using salt in fermentation of some foods)
8 – Some parasites, particularly nematodes (as shown on are known to be sensitive to salinity levels and they will move to areas of the body with their favorite salinity, moving away from salt doses
9 – One study demonstrated that nematodes can be paralyzed by high doses of salt, so perhaps this allows the immune system to find and destroy them
10 – A salt shock causes a burst of adrenal activity, as the adrenals must signal the kidneys to desalinate the blood a bit, and dump the excess
11 – Once the adrenal activity from the initial salt dose is finished, the salt allows the adrenals to rest, as ordinarily they must work harder when we are sodium deficient (because they must produce a hormone, aldosterone, to keep the sodium in circulation longer when deficient)
12 – We all have an infection-induced form of something called ‘channelopathy’ which means that our electrolyte ions are dangerously low, and the salts help restore that (this is the basis of the Spanish product ‘Recup’ that has reversed FM/CFS for some people over the course of 1-2 years, although they do not include the infection part)
13 - The ascorbic acid boosts white cell production, and the salt then powers the cells, so it is a win-win situation
14 – We are making up for decades of salt deficiency, and the body simply has to work though the things it would ordinarily have taken care of over those decades. This may include EMOTIONAL issues that we have not been able to process properly due to lack of electrolytes and thus low or unbalanced neurological and brain activity (maybe this explains why past emotional events sometimes emerge during Salt/C herx, we are being prompted by the emotional brain to deal with it now that we have salt).
15 – Many body fluids rely on salt, such as blood, sweat, and tears, (perhaps also lymphatic fluids?) and because we tend to be salt deficient, when we correct that deficiency all of these fluids work better.
16 – The good salt is finally pushing out bad salts and other bad minerals and toxins, and it is those bad salts and toxins that have allowed us to be sick. Sort of like putting good gas into a car after years of bad gas, it has to burn out the bad stuff.
17 – Many (or most?) people with Lyme are sodium and potassium deficient, and because cellular metabolism is powered by a sodium-potassium pump action, this leads to lower cellular function.
18 – Salt helps relax muscles, and this has many positive effects, for example this could reduce detox load, and also lower load on the heart
19 – Salt is a corrosive agent and actually may address problems with hypercoagulation, or other build-ups that are common with Lyme and related diseases.
20 - Salt provides a key building block for stomach acid. This improves digestion which is often compromised with this illness. The relevant formula is that the Salt (NaCl) mixes with water and carbon dioxide, producing hydrocloric acid and sodium bicarbonate. This is expressed as: H2O + C02 + NaCl == NaHCO3 + HCl.
21 - Salt provides sodium bicarbonate (see formula above), a known antimicrobial, used sometimes in dentistry to treat periodontal disease. This is a particularly interesting explanation since the combination of sodium bicarbonate and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has been used with great success in treating difficult periodontal infections. Since neutrophils (immune cells) make their own H2O2, perhaps the availability of sodium bicarbonate provides an additional boost to their function.
22 – Salt/C may be a natural form of the ‘Marshall Protocol’ in which two medications are used to address infected blood cells. The MP uses an anti-inflammatory drug (Benicar) and a mild abx like Minocycline. Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties and may act somewhat like the Benicar and salt is a known broad-spectrum anti-microbial (see 21 above) and may act like Minocycline.
23 - Salt increases the enzyme elastase in our tissues which punches holes into the microbes and parasites and makes them vulnerable to our immune mechanisms (per Robert Bransford's article in Townsend).
24 - Natural forms of salt may address some of the mineral loss associated with mercury toxicity.
25 - Salt enhances blood volume, which can dramatically help some people with CFS and Lyme. Dr Paul Cheney, an expert in CFS, strongly advocates using sodium/potassium drinks at least twice a day to increase blood volume. This is related to his current hypothesis of cardiac involvement in CFS and low stroke volume (from a diastolic heart dysfunction) that he is finding in people with CFS. His recommendation ( is similar to Recup, with both sodium and potassium salts. This can also be made at home by using equal parts of regular salt with a potassium salt (a salt substitute works). Here is a link to the homebrew version from Dr. Cheney's June 2005 talk on cardiac issues in CFS (search for 'Gookinaid' in the document).
26 - A salt dose that raises blood salinity will lower the level of aldosterone, allowing the salt to be evacuated. Is it possible that something ELSE is also allowed to be evacuated? Maybe the perpetual high aldosterone levels from sodium depletion (which most Lymies have) is having some secondary effect, retaining some toxin in the blood perhaps, and the salt dose relieves that. Therefore a small salt dose could trigger a detox effect. And when toxins leave, more are queued up to be evacuated later, and toxin movement generates a lot of various symptoms…. So maybe the salt dose is helping eliminate bad minerals – including metals.
27 - The body is an electro-chemical device, producing extensive electrical fields and charges. Some people have theorized that subtle energy fields in the body are essential for cell-to-cell communication and immune functions. Also, many people are quite sensitive to electromagnetic fields. Salt is a strong electrolyte, and with a sodium dificiency some of the fields of the body may be weak. Therefore, Salt/C may be restoring electrical fields and thus enhancing any biologic and/or control processes in the body that rely on those fields.
28 - Salt water is a high alkalinizing drink. Alkaline drinks have the know effect of impeding the excretion of Vitamin C, therefore prolonging its action. As Vitamin C is known to have a powerful immune-enhancing effect, taking the C with Salt water may produce a multiplier effect, in which the effective dose of C is much higher than the actual dose. Reference: Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C.
29 - Salt and water may provoke increased lymphatic fluid flow, through the mechanism of increased blood volume. This is becasue excess blood plasma leaks from capillaries and that forms the basis of the lymphatic, or interstitial fluid. There is more lymphatic fluid in the body than there is blood. And most of the Lyme toxins end up in the lymphatic system since that is where the body processes lipids, and Lyme toxins are lipid-based. If this thinking is correct, then increased lymphatic flow will have a detoxifying effect.
30 - Salt may block certain immune complex binders (possibly Cq1). This is based on a patent by Schutzer, MD (US patent #5187065) . Schutzer was using a combination of salt and Boron to create a new test for Lyme Disease. Exactly how this could be a mechanism for Salt/C is unclear, but there is some phenomenon here that relates salt and Lyme, so it is interesting.
31 - Vitamin C helps recycle GSH (Glutathione, a primary natural antioxidant), which is usually low in people with CFS and Lyme. Taking Vitamin C every few hours may have a significant positive effect on the GSH status and thus increase detoxification potential.

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