While the human body needs a certain amount of salt for vital functions, drinking salt water — especially every day — can have potentially fatal side effects. An occasional salt water flush may help relieve constipation, but it's important to talk to your doctor to be sure it's safe for you.
While an occasional salt water flush might have health benefits, drinking salt water every day can have serious side effects.
Read more: Foods That Flush Sodium Out of the Body
Salt Water for Detox
Cleanses such as drinking salt water are reported to remove toxins from the body. However, as the Mayo Clinic points out, the body already has built-in systems within the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract that remove toxins on a regular basis.
People who perform a salt water flush may experience an increase in bowel movements and possibly diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and loss of essential electrolytes. Over time, salt water cleanses can even impede normal bowel function — particularly if you are drinking salt water every day.
Understand the Recommendations
Sodium — one of the main components of salt — plays an important role in maintaining health. As explained by the University of Hawai'i, salt helps regulate fluid levels in the body, helps control blood pressure and is vital for nerve and muscle function.
However, it doesn't take a lot of salt to maintain health. According to the American Heart Association, Americans regularly consume too much sodium — more than 3,400 milligrams per day. The maximum recommended daily intake of sodium is 2,300 milligrams. But, if you have high blood pressure or other risk factors for heart disease, you should limit yourself to 1,500 milligrams at most.
Read more: 10 Myths About Salt Debunked
Salt Water Flush Dangers
Using salt water flushes every day can significantly increase your risk of consuming too much of this nutrient. Many popular salt water cleanse recipes such as The Master Cleanse recommend adding 2 teaspoons of this ingredient to lukewarm water.
As pointed out by the Mayo Clinic, just 1 teaspoon of table salt has 2,323 milligrams of sodium — more than the maximum recommended daily amount. Drinking salt water everyday, combined with the salt that is present in the food you eat, skyrockets the amount of salt in your blood.
It isn't always obvious when you're consuming a food that contains salt. High sodium foods include many frozen packaged meals, canned beans, canned entrees and cured, salted or canned meats, according to the University of California San Francisco.
Prevalence of Salt
Salt is also present in many condiments, sauces, salad dressings and dips. Other culprits include cheese, soups and fast foods. And don't forget the salt shaker you may frequently use during meals. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, too much salt in your blood can cause vomiting and diarrhea. You might also notice decreased frequency of urination and excessive thirst.
Consuming too much salt can lead to serious medical conditions, including heart or kidney disease and stroke. Talk to your doctor to determine whether this type of cleanse is safe for you to help avoid these serious salt water flush dangers.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Sodium Blood Test"
- American Heart Association: "How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day?"
- University of Hawai'i: "Weird Science: Salt is Essential to Life"
- Mayo Clinic: "10 Nutrition Myths Debunked"
- Mayo Clinic:"Sodium: How to Tame Your Salt Habit"
- The Master Cleanse: "How to Master Cleanse and Lemonade Diet to Detox and Lose Weight "F.A.S.T."
- University of California San Francisco: "Guidelines for a Low Sodium Diet"