This is topic Why the strong salt craving? in forum Medical Questions at LymeNet Flash.

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Posted by jwall (Member # 22999) on :
Does anybody else notice this? I tend to find myself craving salt and vinegar potato chips. I can eat an entire bag in one day (which I know is not good for me)!!! However, they do say gluten free on the bag. I tend to get nausea with mepron and the chips actually soothe my stomach.

Just curious if anyone knows where the strong salt craving is coming from.
Posted by sixgoofykids (Member # 11141) on :
Adrenal fatigue can cause salt cravings.

I craved potato chips all the time when I was sick. I used plenty of salt, but sometimes potato chips were the only thing that would settle my stomach. I think they're great for an upset stomach, as odd as that seems.

I tried to buy potato chips with better oil, salt, etc., but they're still not that good for you .......

But I agree, they settle the nausea.
Posted by blinkie (Member # 14470) on :
I did for a long time. I think my blood volume was low due to die off of RBC's from TBI's.

Salt allowed my body to retain more water, therefore, increasing my blood volume. I think it was a survival technique.

I still crave salt, but one main difference between now and then is that now I also crave sugar. And, I crave salt much less than before. I think craving both, to some extent is a good thing since our bodies need them (to some degree in the right form).
Posted by jarjar (Member # 8847) on :
I have heard before that there are two type of people. Those that crave salt and those that crave sugar. I have not researched it but if you really crave it I would look for snacks made with Sea Salt as Sea Salt is wonderful for you where as regular table salt isn't.
You can google it if you haven't already read the benefits of Sea salt.
Posted by MariaA (Member # 9128) on :
I finally figured out my adrenals problem this spring when I realized I had a salt craving/constant thirst, and when routine blood tests (I think the normal 'cbc/complete metabolic profile' test that everyone should be getting if on medication) showed that I was low in sodium. My LLMD thinks the 'low in sodium' part was due to the excessive thirst and drinking a lot of water, but he completely agreed with me that taking more salt is a good way to deal with some of my other symptoms. I ended up taking low-dose Cortef for a while as well, and a lot of supplements for controlling the adrenals' hormonal cycle. The LLMD told me that if salt didn't work for my POTS symptoms, we could try Florinef, but it ended up being unnecessary.

The book Adrenal Fatigue talks about the salt issue and encourages most patients to up their salt intake. I think they also discouraged high potassium foods (like bananas and orange juice, both of which are high in sugar anyway) because the issue is related to a sodium-potassium balance.

Here are some of the symptoms I associated with the low-salt state:
excessive thirst, especially after eating foods high in sugar
'blacking out' upon standing up- (not passing out but more of a momentary vision blackout)- this is one variant of POTS
heart racing upon standing up suddenly (classic POTS)
heart racing upon going up stairs too fast (and not just because of being out of shape, I wasn't THAT out of shape, and my resting heartrate wasn't that bad)
low blood pressure, too low to be healthy
a lot of trouble walking up stairs and up hills, I think this was related to POTS as well
Posted by karenl (Member # 17753) on :
Parasites dislike salt - maybe this is the reason your body wants salt. Do you also crave spices like red crushed peppers and vinegar?
Posted by jwall (Member # 22999) on :
Yes! I've been drinking apple cider vinegar diluted in water and I actually enjoy the taste. I also have been eating lots of hummus (which is salty) with garlic and salty rice chips (sea salt). I have been buying the chips with just 3 ingredients from Whole Foods - yes, with sea salt.

I sometimes feel I may be eating too much salt, but blood is checked weekly and they haven't mentioned it to me. My potassium and calcium have been 2 that are consistently low, probably b/c i've been eating so much salty food.

I have come to the conclusion that the body will crave what it needs and right now, I must be needing salt. The other day I was craving bananas and later found out that my potassium was low.

I have not been craving sugar lately though and that is something I used to always crave. Although, I had a seizure the other day and really wanted a milkshake and found out that sugar can help with seizures.

Very interesting...I also have POTS symptoms. Thanks for the input!
Posted by jwall (Member # 22999) on :
In addition, Karen, my extreme salt craving came about when I started treating babesia...and that is a parasite, right? So, maybe I am actually helping myself by eating an entire bag of salt and vinegar chips??!! [Smile]
Posted by zil (Member # 12048) on :
Aldosterone is a hormone released by the adrenal gland and this keeps the bodies salt and potassium in balance. You need to get your electrolytes checked. Salt will be low and potassium high. Your eating a lot of salt so maybe your level isn't too low but you need this checked out.
Posted by renny1985 (Member # 25222) on :
Wow this is crazy but the one food I am craving through Lyme treatment is POTATO CHIPS.. I have both salt and vinegar and regular. So odd. I never craved potato chips before and now they are all I really want to eat. I am nauseous all the time.

I also put a LOT of salt on my food. To me I really cant get enough. Never thought this was related, but now that I read this post. Ahh crazy.
Thanks for shedding some light.
Posted by glm1111 (Member # 16556) on :
I do the salt/c protocol and it has saved my life. Sea salt is antibacterial and antiparasitic and has been used for healing for thousands of yrs.

It is TABLE SALT that is devoid of minerals and contains silicon dioxide that is bad for us.

Posted by Pam08 (Member # 19203) on :
It could definitely be an adrenal problem. Although all the thoughts on this thread sound relevant.

I have salt cravings too. I swear those natural potato chips with sea salt taste SOOO good to me because of the salt! And I used to hate potato chips!

I actually rarely buy them though because I know fried foods are especially bad for me (as per my gene testing).

So what I do instead that could be an option for you all is to put 1/4 tsp of sea salt on my tongue and chase it with water or just put it in a glass of water. Some people do more than 1/4 tsp but that is a good starting point.
Posted by sixgoofykids (Member # 11141) on :
I don't know what it is about potato chips. I ate them frequently when I was sick, now I never want them at all.

Jwall, it sounds like you are good at listening to your body. That's the best thing. If you crave something unhealthy, there is probably a reason. I went ahead and ate "healthier" potato chips.

I also ate tons of potatoes when I was sick. I really liked them diced, cooked in a frying pan in butter, then towards the end of cooking, I'd add a chopped onion (yes, a whole, small onion). I'd serve it topped with two over-easy eggs.

That meal replaced the potato chips.
Posted by renny1985 (Member # 25222) on :
I eat a lot of mashed potatoes made with lotsa salt and garlic powder.

Why potatoes? I wonder.

It is so curious that we all want potato chips when sick. I used to be more of a corn chip girl but now all I want is salty potato chips.. and don't give me any baked lays! I want the real deal. [Smile]
Posted by jbiology (Member # 15839) on :
Salt and vinegar potato chips are also my #1 craving. How odd. And yes, often I find they help with nausea.

I crave salt all the time, but find I mostly crave it with the vinegar and the fat (sometimes I'll eat french fries with salt and vinegar instead).

Renny- I also eat lots of mashed potatoes. I think the potato part may actually be bad for us because it is so starchy... it's almost like giving in to sugar cravings. On the other hand, potatoes are a decent source of potassium, so who knows?
Posted by renny1985 (Member # 25222) on :
Ya I don't know... diet is very confusing for me. My body tells me one thing, what I read tells me another. And then even what I read is conflicting!
Posted by MariaA (Member # 9128) on :
The potato chips thing might just be some form of 'comfort food' that we're recalling from childhood or something. Also, I think potatoes are high in potassium (I might be wrong about this) and maybe there's some other mineral issue at play. Yes, they're really high-carb and probably quite bad for yeast-causing reasons.
Posted by sixgoofykids (Member # 11141) on :
For me it was definitely not a comfort food, at times they were the only thing I could eat due to nausea.

With the skin on they are high in vitamin C and have a decent amount of iron. That's interesting ......

This is an interesting site -
Posted by jwall (Member # 22999) on :
So interesting. I have a couple other lyme friends too who say they eat/ate a lot of potato chips during treatment. I'll have to ask my LLMD next time.

I am also eating potatoes as well. My husband will fry the red potatoes in olive oil w/sea salt! Yum, I hadn't even thought of making mashed potatoes!!!

Potatoes are a good source of potassium, according to my IV nurse.

It isn't comfort food for me either. Comfort food for me right now would be a giant slice of homemade apple pie with ice cream on top!

Like sixgoofykids, chips help settle my stomach and it's all I can eat, esp. after taking mepron which makes me almost vomit. I have to hold my nose and then stuff my mouth after with chips for a few minutes to get rid of that taste. It's actually a very painful process for me taking mepron!!! [Frown] I start shaking and sweating, but I'm trying my best to just deal with it. I try to snack on veggies, but my stomach just wants chips!

I ate another bag of salt and vinegar chips today, but it was a smaller bag! [Smile]
Posted by sixgoofykids (Member # 11141) on :
I was reading about the skin and came across this interesting article. It mentions why potato chips are bad .... because they are constipating. The time I ate them non-stop and they were the only food that I could stomach was when I had constant watery diarrhea.

I found that connection interesting. Sometimes our bodies know what we need.
Posted by Cold Feet (Member # 9882) on :
After studying the Gerson Therapy (to treat cancer and other degenerative diseases), I've changed my mind on salt dosing. Yes, I do use sea salt sparingly, but:

- your body needs much more potassium than salt in your diet (fruits and veggies)

- potassium intake alone may make you feel better, e.g. raw juicing

- salt may be antibacterial, but too much changes your balance and opposes potassium uptake

So many people feel better once they start eating more potassium foods regularly! Some people here have even tried the Gerson diet and felt better within in a few days. Even moving towards a healthy diet of fruits and veggies will help anyone. BTW, potatoes are a staple food item in the Gerson diet!

Just my 2 cents.
Posted by jwall (Member # 22999) on :
I did notice that when I was downing the chips, my nurse called and said my potassium was low and to eat some bananas. I guess I was eating too much salt and it threw it off.

We have just started the Gerson Therapy (sort of) where we juice in the AM and lunch, snack on nuts and then have a salad, roasted veggies, and salmon for dinner. It has only been day 2. I'm surprised I'm not craving chips and I've remained relatively full all day! I am craving sugar...or more specifically, a big slice of banana bread though... which is new.
Posted by kidsgotlyme (Member # 23691) on :
Dang it!! This thread is making me want salt and vinegar potato chips! Thanks a lot!!

[Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Big Grin]
Posted by jwall (Member # 22999) on :
So, I just restarted treatment after a 2 week break. I did not crave chips at all during this time. Just started mepron, artemisinin again...I think this might be the cause. Chips help settle my stomach. [Smile]
Posted by Cold Feet (Member # 9882) on :
jwall, keep going on your revised diet!

Posted by sixgoofykids (Member # 11141) on :
Believe it or not, my sodium was always LOW. I don't know where my potassium was, but my LLMD and two other doctors all told me to start using MORE salt. The first doctor who told me to use more salt, in fact, he told me to salt everything I ate, was my ob/gyn back when I was pregnant with my now 20 year old son.

This is probably why juicing didn't really work for me. We're all different.
Posted by jwall (Member # 22999) on :
Cold Feet,
We started juicing a few days ago and today I had the best day I've had since being sick. Not sure if is't the juicing or if it's starting treatment again. I'm back on merrem which I was on in the beginning and did really well on. I believe it is similar to rocephin, minus the gallbladder issues. Anyhow, I juiced ginger root, lemon, celery, apple, carrots, and 1 clove garlic - sounds disgusting, but it's really good! It's called the Immunity juice. [Smile] Feel pretty well after drinking it.

Interesting about your low sodium levels. I have a feeling mepron/art combo has something to do with my salt craving. My stomach turns after taking these. Salt and Vinegar chips are all I can think about! Also, salt gets rid of that yucky art metallic taste. Maybe if I just try to drink apple cider vinegar instead, that would help??!
Posted by sutherngrl (Member # 16270) on :
I too crave salt and vinegar chips, especially now after reading this thread.

I eat lots of salt and just had my potassium checked and it was normal so I guess its okay to continue eating salt.
Posted by MariaA (Member # 9128) on :
well, if the Gerson diet makes people feel better, it's not necessarily due to potassium specifically. I think that sometimes having more fiber from eating more fruits and vegetables makes some people's system work better, whether because you now have a better gut environment for your probiotic bacteria to do their job in the gut, or because you've somehow put digestion 'back on track' in some way. Potassium will certainly be higher in some vegetables and fruits than sodium, but it's not the only nutrient or mineral found in a diet like that.

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