Getting to Grips with the Fluid/Salt Balance - Apple Cider Vinegar for Health and Beauty: Recipes for Weight Loss, Clear Skin, Superior Health, and Much More—the Natural Way (2015)

Apple Cider Vinegar for Health and Beauty: Recipes for Weight Loss, Clear Skin, Superior Health, and Much More—the Natural Way (2015)

Getting to Grips with the Fluid/Salt Balance

One of the most important equations in the interplay of body chemistry is the relationship between salty fluids and water. It is basic biochemistry that if there is a salty solution on one side of a membrane and water on the other side, the water will be drawn in the direction of the salt solution. This process is known as osmosis. One of the most common examples of this effect is the drying and curing of meat with salt.

Using the same principles, two of the major electrolytes, potassium and sodium salts, perform a balancing act with water on either side of our cell walls. If we had a deficiency of potassium, the sodium solutions outside our cells would draw water out of them and we would eventually dehydrate. Electrolytes act as conductors for our nerves’ electrical impulses, which is why dehydrated people lose coordination and have muscle twitches. Water retention is also a symptom of low potassium, rather than too much sodium. Because there is not enough potassium to keep the correct level of water inside our cells, the higher concentration of sodium outside the cells draws the water out of the cells and into the tissues around them. Our skin is the largest body of tissue we have and it then swells from this extra-cellular water. This is what we call bloating. The best course of action a healthy person can take when they experience intermittent bloating, as with menstruation, is to supplement their diet with a little potassium as found in apple cider vinegar. This is far healthier than the drastic, commonly espoused treatment of cutting out salt and overhydrating. This can lead to electrolyte imbalance and negatively affect other vital reactions taking place in our bodies.

Over the thousands of years that our bodies evolved and adapted to the food available in the environment, salt (sodium chloride) was hard to come by. In modern times we enjoy a state of dietary affluence where salt is plentiful. Our body chemistry has, however, not changed. In addition to this, the proportion of leafy greens and fruit in our diets, our source of potassium, has fallen. Besides its role in maintaining our fluid/salt balance, potassium also makes it more difficult for bacteria to get enough moisture from our cells in order to grow and multiply. As potassium works to keep water in our cells, it helps to keep tissues soft and healthy. Potassium also aids kidney function by moving the water in our bodies to them.

Potassium is vital in maintaining a healthy, properly functioning metabolism. This is because it affects the utilization of carbohydrates and proteins. As we get older we unfortunately have a more difficult time extracting and retaining the potassium from our diets. A deficiency in potassium can lead to abnormal or even a lack of cell growth. This often leads to disturbances in heart rhythm, elevated blood sugar, dry skin, muscle weakness, and fatigue. In severe cases, a lack of potassium can lead to changes in the central nervous system, kidney problems, and fragile bones.

Apple cider vinegar is a great source of potassium with 15 mg per tablespoon, as well as containing other important minerals. Another very good reason to include some apple cider vinegar in your daily diet.