Executive Summary of Salt/C
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 LymePhotos.com, 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 www.TraceMinerals.com). 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.
THE WARNING LABEL
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.
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.
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.