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. 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 LymePhotos.com) 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 (http://www.gookinaid.com/) 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.
NOTE: this info does not include regular table salt , but unrefined, additive-free Sea Salt.
Q& A Regarding The C/Salt Protocol (from lyme photos website)
Question: What kind of salt do you use and where can I find it?
Answer: We had been using 1-gram Sodium Chloride USP tablets made by the Consolidated Midland Corporation (CMC), ordered through our local pharmacy. Currently (October 2008), they are not available. Since pure NaCl tablets have additional legitimate uses we think and hope they will once again become accessible. (CMC salt pills have an NDC # of 0223-1760-01, which should help your pharmacist locate the exact type. The cost is about $10 US for a bottle of 100 tablets.) We have been using pure sea salt which can be ordered from Saltworks in a variety of granular forms and in bulk quantities as Gourmet Sea Salt but for those who prefer tablets, buffered salt is available from Americarx.com . In bulk order it would cost only pennies per daily dose. Being loose it can be taken with a flavored beverage or mixed in food. The important point is to check the ingredients to ensure it is pure sodium chloride.
Question: Can I use sea salt?
Answer: Any pure salt should work. One teaspoon of salt is equal to approximately 6 grams; therefore, consider starting with a quarter teaspoon of salt in a large glass of water. The salt can be added to foods such as soup. Sea salt, as well as ordinary table salt, also contains other compounds and we think it is the sodium chloride itself which does the trick. So try to get the purest salt with the fewest additives available.
Question: Is this much salt and vitamin C safe?
Answer: Salt and vitamin C are both water soluble.This means that as long as you are getting enough water into your system your body will flush out the excess. But for the average sufferer, there will be no excess. Your body will use up whatever you give it or flush it out in your urine. Again, drink plenty of water. We have all heard about the proverbial 8 glasses of water per day. We recommend a full glass of water each time you take the pills. A side effect of the treatment in the dying off of the organisms is diarrhea. But be prepared for the weird sensation caused by the organisms' using any and all paths to escape the salt and vitamin C. You will feel but not see these creatures coming out all over your body.
Question: Can anyone use the salt and vitamin C treatment?
Answer: We see no reason not to try the protocol, no matter how old or young. The dosage should be relative to body weight. Therefore, if one was going to put a small child on the treatment, they might want to reach a 4 to 6 gram total on both the salt and C. Remember, drink plenty of water.
Question: How much salt is too much?
Answer: Our treatment recommends approximately 8 to 16 grams of salt and vitamin C per day depending on body weight. One pound of salt is equivalent to 453.59 grams; therefore, our recommendation is less than 3% of a pound per day. We do not believe this is a harmful amount. As mentioned on the site, for centuries people consumed approximately 20 grams per day due to the way foods were processed and personal taste. We at lymephotos have tried consuming more salt than we recommend and have had no ill effects, we just feel that the body can only process a certain amount to combat the pathogens and the rest was leaving through the urine. Again, judging from one's body weight we recommend 8 to 16 grams of each per day, divided into smaller dosages throughout the day. Always take the salt and vitamin C together with a full glass of water, maybe every two or three hours.
Q & A taken from http://www.lymephotos.com/