Doctors recommend salt to POTS patients for the sodium it contains. Remember salt is NaCl… sodium and chloride. The overloading of sodium causes the body to absorb some extra salt, and thereby extra fluid to increase blood volume. This in turn can increase blood pressure and reduce the dizziness and lightheadedness. Additionally, the higher blood pressure can bring down your heart rate. Beyond just dousing your food in ungodly amounts of salt there are other options to get the recommended amount of 5-10+ grams of salt a day into a POTSie diet.
Use this tool to make reaching your salt and sodium goals easier!
Grams of salt to milligrams of sodium to teaspoons of salt and back again- no problem! Even without brain fog, all the math can be confusing and tedious, so use this calculator tool instead. Follow the steps described below…
Step 1: How Much?
The amount of sodium you should be taking in really depends on what your doctor recommends for you. If your doctor gives you a number of grams of salt to aim for, enter that value above, or if you already know your sodium value enter it in the 2nd box instead.
Know that sodium is only an “ingredient” or component of salt. So, the typical recommendation of 5-10 grams of salt is equal to a little under 2000-4000 mg of sodium and is also equal to a little less than 1 teaspoon to 1.75 teaspoons of salt.
(The Math: The tool takes your grams number and multiplies it by 390 to get your sodium goal, because 1 gram of salt equals about 390 mg of sodium.)
Step 2: Your Sodium Intake From Food
There is a lot of sodium to be found in foods to begin with, which counts towards your daily intake. Check out the nutrition facts, and add up those sodium values! Or use a tool- my favorite for checking my overall nutrition including my sodium intake from food is Cronometer. Enter your sodium total (in milligrams)! If you can get enough high sodium foods in your diet, you won’t need to supplement with products or a heavy handed salt shaker. Dysautonomia International has a great post listing lots of easy food options high in sodium.
Step 3: How Much by Salt Shaker?
Let’s see how much of this needed salt you can realistically add to your food. At the beginning of a trial day, fill up your salt shaker with the teaspoon value from the tool. Throughout the day use the salt shaker on your food as liberally as you realistically can. You may find that you don’t eat enough volume of food to make it feasible or can’t palate the amount of salt you need, and that’s OK! At the end of this same day, measure how much salt is left in your shaker in teaspoons and enter it above in the tool. The tool will now show your realistic “daily salt shaker goal” in teaspoons of salt. If you’re starting out or want to be extra diligent, you can measure out this amount of salt in your shaker every day to be sure you use it use all up. If there wasn’t any salt left, congratulations you’re done salt loading!!!
(The Math: Your sodium goal from step 1 is subtracted from the total you found in Step 2. This is the remaining amount of sodium you need to add into your diet. The tool converts your sodium value to a volume measurement in teaspoons of salt, rounded to the nearest 1/8 of a teaspoon.)
For quick estimates on your own, here’s a handy table from teaspoons of salt to sodium values.
|Teaspoons of Salt||Grams of Salt||mg of Sodium|
Note: The estimates for these conversions vary slightly by who’s calculating them… that’s mostly due to rounding of significant figures (preciseness is easily lost when rounding in the math calculations).