Article Last Updated: August 2023
Salt is an essential nutrient. Yes, you probably get everything you need in the food you eat. However, drinking saltwater has many benefits, which will be discussed at length in this article.
There are researchers and advocates claiming that salt water can help cleanse the stomach and colon while repairing the damage your diet has caused in the cells of your digestive tract.
But some of these claims should be taken with a pinch of salt (sorry, I couldn’t resist). This article will outline reasons why you may and may not want to drink more salt.
Specifically, the drinking salt water benefits you should really know about.
What Happens To Your Cells When You Drink Salt Water?
Normally, the saltiness of water in your cells is the same as the saltiness outside your cells. This is called an isotonic state. But when you drink water, a concentration difference takes place.
Water from the outside moves into your cells to maintain equilibrium or balance and this is known as osmoregulation.
But if you drink too much seawater the salinity outside your cells will increase rapidly. This forces too many water molecules to move out of your cells so even if you’re already dehydrated, your cells will release water rather than absorbing it.
This is why drinking sea water is not only a bad idea but potentially fatal.
Hence, even if you’re already dehydrated your cells will release water rather than absorbing it so you will always feel dehydrated no matter how much you drink.
Why Can Seawater Be DEADLY?
Drinking seawater leads to a high sodium concentration outside your cells. And your cell needs to regain its isotonic state for survival. This is essential while your body tries to remove excess sodium from its extracellular fluids.
The result is that you need to urinate more water than you initially consumed. This leads to dehydration because you can never drink enough seawater.
If you find yourself in this situation, then drink as much fresh normal water as you can.
However, drinking seawater is NOT the same as drinking salt water. This is because you can control the amount of salt you put in the water. Also, a small amount of natural healthy salt in warm water can be very good for you.
Seawater Vs. Saltwater FAQ
Can You Drink Seawater To Survive?
No, you can not drink seawater to survive.
Human kidneys produce urine, which is less salty than saltwater. To get rid of the excess salt that is absorbed when drinking seawater, you need to urinate more water than you drink.
Hence, you will never stop feeling thirsty and eventually you will die of dehydration.
Why Can’t Humans Drink Salt Water For Hydration?
By “seawater” we are talking about water that comes directly from the sea. So, let’s be clear, “drinking seawater for health” is not really possible because it does more harm than good.
If you’ve accidentally swallowed seawater, that’s no problem, especially if it’s a tiny amount. But seawater is neither good nor healthy for you. There are no “seawater benefits”.
Saltwater (i.e. fresh water mixed with natural salt) on the other hand can be good for you as highlighted in this article.
Drinking Salt Water Benefits
Salt water works because the positive ions in the salt surround the negative ions of the water molecules. Water is no more water and salt is no more just salt. This results in a new structure that is easier for the body to absorb.
Drinking a mixture of natural salt and water has many health benefits. It’s not new either. For centuries it has been used all over the world as a remedy. Both anecdotal and scientific evidence support its use for the following:
Salt Water Is Good For Hydration
Yes, we should drink more water. But while most people need to drink more water, it is possible to drink too much.
According to Matt Stone author of “Eat for Heat: The Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink”, consuming too much pure water can actually cause the body to become overly diluted.
When that happens, it can put a lot of pressure on the body and slow down the metabolism. Cell health depends on a certain concentration of minerals and electrolytes.
When we drink large quantities of water, the extracellular fluid is diluted, which responds to stress and the release of adrenaline.
A little salt and natural water slows down this process and allows for better absorption.
Drinking Salt Water is Good For Digestion
Salt water activates the salivary glands in the mouth and release amylase. This first step in the digestive process is very important.
In the stomach, natural salt stimulates hydrochloric acid and a protein digestive enzyme that helps to break down food.
The role of unrefined natural salts in stimulating gastric acidity can not be minimized. The stomach is designed to secrete hydrochloric acid.
When undigested food accumulates in an unhealthy stomach, acidity and reflux occur.
This is because the food stays in the stomach for so long that it begins to ferment (eww). It then produces gases, introduces new strains of potentially harmful yeast into the digestive tract, and produces secondary acids that contribute to things like heartburn.
When people start to suffer from these symptoms, their first step is usually to get antacids.
But as a study from 2008 shows, by increasing the pH of the stomach, antacids affect the digestive capacity of the stomach even more.
This leads to a greater reduction in protein digestion, increases the potential of food allergy and even exacerbates the situation.
Warm salt water also stimulates secretion in the digestive tract and in the liver. Regular consumption of brine may also contribute to regularity and increase nutrient uptake.
Salt Water Can Mean Reduced Inflammation
The basic requirement of the human body for salt is 1.5 teaspoons or 8 grams per day. If we do not consume this essential amount of sodium, the body goes into a “crisis mode”.
This mode is called sodium saving so it can maintain fluid balance and blood pressure. This type of crisis is a critical survival mechanism. And it also has negative consequences.
With low salt intake, an enzyme called renin and a hormone called aldosterone increase rapidly. When this condition is prolonged, higher levels of renin and aldosterone cause circulatory damage and an increase in inflammatory levels in the body.
Researchers have linked a persistent salt deficiency to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and cognitive disorders.
Salt Water Can Lead To Better Sleep
Salt, especially raw natural salt, reduces stress. Stress is perhaps the leading cause of sleep loss for most people.
Warm salt water can actually help with this problem. Research shows that natural salt has a unique effect on stress levels. As an article published in the Journal of Neuroscience shows, increasing blood sodium levels can reduce the stress response. Salt helps to alleviate fears and reduces worry.
To sleep better, drink warm salt water more than one hour before going to bed.
Detox By Drinking Salt Water
Due to the rich minerals, salt water supports the body in its natural detoxification process. Salt water is also naturally antibacterial and can rid the body of dangerous bacteria.
As many people suffer from poor digestion, undigested food and waste accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract over time.
This residue can slowly ferment in the stomach, small intestine and colon, causing harmful bacteria and other pathogens to grow.
Warm saltwater can help eliminate these wastes and toxins while cleansing the digestive tract and speeding up bowel movements.
Salt Water Can Be Good For Bone Health
One popular theory about osteoporosis and other bone diseases is that the body uses calcium and other minerals from the bone to survive and neutralize acid in the blood. However, it is believed that salt water improves bone health because it is full of naturally healthy minerals and has an alkalizing effect.
A study published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology concluded that “for the generally healthy person, there is no proven evidence that salt intake at the current average of 9 grams per day is a risk factor for osteoporosis.”
Salt Water Can Be Good For Skin Health
Natural salt contains minerals that can help your skin look and feel better. Chromium combats acne and reduces skin infections, while sulfur keeps skin clean and soft.
It can also help a dry scalp, eczema and rashes that are often due to a lack of sulfur. Zinc promotes rapid wound healing, strengthens the immune system and regulates the activity of the sebaceous glands.
Iodine helps to increase oxygen consumption and metabolic rate of skin.
All of these minerals can be present in natural high quality sea salt (not table salt).
Achieve Mineral Balance By Drinking Salt Water
According to Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel laureate, almost any disease, illness or ailment can be traced back to a lack of minerals.
Amino acids and enzymes do not work without other vital minerals being present. Without this our vitamins and other nutrients are not broken down or absorbed.
Mineral deficiencies are more common than ever due to our depleted soils and our superfine diet.
Salt water, which consists of natural mineral-rich sea salt, is a good source of vital minerals. These include trace elements of chromium, barium, B2, bismuth, selenium, magnesium, zinc and titanium.
Are There Real Drinking Salt Water Benefits?
Yes. Seawater and saltwater are both salty water but that’s where the similarities end. We have always been told that it is harmful to consume a lot of salt.
Yes, a lot of salt is bad for you. Seawater has a lot of salt and this is why it is bad for you.
However, a smaller amount of salt can be very good for you.
However, I strongly recommend that you consult a doctor before adding lots of extra salt to your diet. Especially as people differ in body type and may react to extra salt in very different ways.
Matt Stone – “Eat for Heat: The Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink”. June 10, 2013. Archangel Ink
Anne K. Magnesium and calcium in drinking water and heart diseases. Encyclopedia of Environmental Health. 2011:535–544.
Choukroun ML, Varene P. Adjustments in oxygen transport during head-out immersion in water at different temperatures. J Appl Physiol. 1990;68:1475–80
Siener R., Jahnen A., Hesse A. Influence of a mineral water rich in calcium, magnesium and bicarbonate on urine composition and the risk of calcium oxalate crystallization. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004;58(2):270–276. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601778
Ha, Sung Kyu. “Dietary Salt Intake and Hypertension.” Electrolytes & Blood Pressure : E & BP 12.1 (2014): 7–18. PMC. Web. 9 Mar. 2018.