The Connection Between Salt & Sugar

I am not a doctor. I am not a medical expert.

The older people get, the more sensitive they are likely to become to sugar and salt. As a consequence, especially over time, this stresses organs, glands and systems of the body and its regulation. The heart and cardiovascular, the brain and nervous system, the gut, and especially the liver and kidneys, take the brunt of this. They get tired and exhausted, too, as we age. Giving them a break can be very meaningful for our health. For many, the first step in that often requires reducing or eliminating sugar, salt, or (ideally) both.

Hyperglycemia (diabetes) and hyperchloremia (high salt; electrolyte imbalance) can contribute to one another and both are hard on the body’s systems, processes and organs. Because of the stress that both induce on the kidneys, other imbalances may occur as well.

Reducing and eliminating sugar and salt has benefits for older adults where health issues begin to surface. First, it relieves stress on the kidneys and liver. Blood pressure goes down. The host of benefits is so great, in fact, it’s difficult not to perceive the “win” and upsides to managing to accomplish that dietary change. People often focus on one or the other, but both are important to achieve the full end benefits.

Vitamin D deficiency is more common the older adults get. This contributes to dopamine drop-offs and deficiency, as well as issues with bones and muscles. Vitamin D is important to bone maintenance in adult bodies. It assists in maintaining the balance of calcium in the blood and bones, among other factors. It plays a role with the nervous system, musculoskeletal system and immune system. Vitamin D must persist enough in the body for it to use calcium and phosphorous to build and maintain bones.

The food you eat, followed by sunlight, are the two best ways to acquire it, with supplements a third option.

People can develop chronic and/or severe Vitamin D deficiency. As a result, calcium and phosphorous absorption in the intestines leads to hypocalcemia. That means low levels of calcium in the blood. A secondary reaction to that by the body is hyperparathyroidism. The parathyroid glands become overactive in an attempt to keep calcium levels in the blood normal. In other words, rather than hyperparathyroidism being a primary diagnosis, it is a secondary diagnosis, with hypocalcemia being the primary diagnosis, and the underlying cause Vitamin D deficiency. Whenever we examine “hyper-” and “hypo-” conditions, understand that the body is an adaptive organism and attempts to compensate in response as it regulates. Therefore, the body’s overproduction or overactivity regarding some functions may reveal other physiological functions that are underperforming, upon further investigation. Identifying these contributes to generating more complete information that delivers better diagnoses and treatment.

Symptoms of hypocalcemia and hyperparathyroidism include muscle weakness, cramps, fatigue and even depression. It’s important to remember that mental health isn’t a complete diagnosis in its own right but is accompanied by underlying comorbid physical factors promoting mental health issues. For instance, depression is a common effect of stroke or cardiovascular conditions leading up to that. It is scientifically understood that treating mental health is insufficient without identifying and treating the underlying physical causes promoting it.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism takes calcium from the bones to maintain calcium levels in the blood. This accelerates bone demineralization. Older adult bodies heal and repair themselves at slower rates than their younger counterparts, so this condition is more profound in older adults since bone can breakdown faster than it can reform. Osteomalacia (soft bones) can result, along with osteoporosis and other conditions. This leaves older adults more vulnerable to bone breaks and fractures. Deformities in joints and incorrect growth patterns in bones that manifest as bowing or bent bones can emerge. This comes with bone pain and muscle weakness. Depression is also one of the symptoms.

Sometimes people don’t properly absorb or use Vitamin D. This can be the result of certain medical conditions or medications. Conditions of the kidney and stress on them are particularly noted for reducing the amount of certain enzymes the body needs to convert Vitamin D to a form it can use. What are these enzymes? Hepatic enzyme 25–hydroxylase from your liver and 1-alpha-hydroxylase from your kidneys. Insufficiencies in either of these enzymes leads to deficiencies of active Vitamin D circulating in the body.

A checklist of medications that can lower Vitamin D levels includes:
[] Laxatives
[] Steroids (example: prednisone)
[] Cholesterol lowering drugs (example: cholestyramine and colestipol)
[] Seizure preventing drugs (example: phenobarbital and phenytoin)
[] Rifampin (a tuberculosis drug)
[] Orlistat (a weight-loss drug)

Healthcare providers don’t usually order routine checks of Vitamin D levels.

Certain medical conditions or risk factors for vitamin D deficiency (or symptoms of it) warrant a Vitamin D level check. A provider must order it.

There are two types of tests. The most common is the 25-hydroxyvitamin D, known as 25(OH)D.

The goal of treatment and prevention is the same. Reach and maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D in the body.

Vitamin D supplements come in different forms, just like other vitamins. Some are more easily digested and assimilated than others. Sometimes a broken-down version of a vitamin is easier for the body to absorb and utilize where it is having issues breaking down or metabolizing it. This saves the body steps and bypasses problem points to resume or continue delivering the body what it requires nutritionally in metabolic processes for its greater tasks and functions.

The two forms of Vitamin D are D2 and D3. D2 comes from plants, known as ergocalciferol. D3 comes from animals, known as cholecalciferol. D2 is available in vegan form, while D3 is the commonly available form found in most vitamin supplements. Here is the difference between them. Other than acquiring a vegan multivitamin source with D2, it is usually given by prescription from doctors. While Vitamin D3 is considered more bioavailable and is sustained longer in the bloodstream and body, Vitamin D2 is considered more appropriate as indicated to treat calcium disorders and parathyroid disorders. It is also the preferred form for patients with chronic kidney disease or stressed kidneys. The vitamin D prescription people get from a doctor is typically for 50,000 units of vitamin D2.

Health issues and problems are complicated. Some of the remedies, if caught early enough, however, can be simple and significantly reduce these and extend health. We often treat the symptoms in modern medicine. Diagnostics are expensive. We forget the basics and the underlying good measures we can take to help ourselves. Medicines help, but they aren’t necessarily cures. I hope the simple practices described herein for reducing salt, sugar and understanding the underlying mechanisms at work prove useful or helpful if you are facing these kinds of questions and health issues.
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2 Responses to The Connection Between Salt & Sugar

  1. Brian Grayson says:

    Are you still in business?

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