Are Himalayan salt benefits real? Do they indeed possess neutralizing and balancing effect. Provide protection against diseases such as high blood pressure and deposits in your joints? Sharpens mental brain functions and provides thought clarity. Have healing effects far beyond that of ordinary bath salts? Detoxify the body from heavy metals. These are some of the claims made by sellers of this salt. But how much of that is really true? We’re going to endeavor to answer that question as best as is possible.
With no intention to dismiss these claims out of hand, we must recognize that industry has an interest in promoting these types remedies, and as such their statements must be taken with a grain of salt, no pun intended. Probably one of the best ways to begin discussing this is to compare the benefits of himalayan first to other types of salt where there is more data and information available.
First, how different is this beautiful pink salt from something like common table salt? How different is it from something like Dead Sea Salt? If you are planning on using Himalayan Bath Salts for any type of therapy, their cost at least would dictate that you have a brief understanding of this.
Table VS Himalayan Salt Benefits
How do these pink salts differ from what you find on your restaurant table? Are they significantly different – from a health perspective of course.
Table salt is commonly known as Sodium Chloride (NaCl). The negative health effects of over consumption of this substance are well documented¹. However, we aren’t discussing consuming ordinary sodium chloride in this article. We are discussing using Himalayan Bath Salts as a soak, and what health benefits may be conferred from that.
Table salt is Sodium Chloride that has been purified and baked. This means that any trace elements or other minerals that were originally found in that natural state of this susbstance have been removed. This may be good or bad, depending on your opinion and what minerals we are talking about. Arsenic for example – is a mineral you might not mind having removed. So how does these pink Himalayan crystals differ?
We looked at a Certificate of Authenticity² for one reputable supplier in order to determine the composition of these as compared to regular table salt. We were actually very surprised by our findings. The sample that we looked at was actually 99.05% Sodium Chloride – which is very close to regular crystals. This was totally not something we expected in any way. In other words, for the *most* part, these beautiful pink crystals from the Himalayas are pretty much what you find in a shaker at a restaurant. We found this somewhat shocking given that this single ingredient can command a price difference of many times the price of regular table salt. This would somewhat suggest that Himalayan salt benefits perhaps are somewhat exaggerated.
But what about the other 0.95% – the question is indeed worth addressing. Here’s what we found in the other 0.95%.
- Sulfur (0.35%)
- Calcium (0.21%)
- Magnesium (0.15%)
- Potassium (0.10%)
There were some trace minerals, found in quantities so small as to be (in our opinion) irrelevant. Minerals such as zinc, lead, chromium, copper, mercury and arsenic.
Is it possible these trace minerals are what give Himalayan Pink Salts their “healing properties”? The ones that “sharpen your mental function and provide thought clarify”? I doubt it. If you go on Google and search “benefits of sulfur” there is one category you will find. For skin problems. Eczema, Psoriasis, etc – mental function though? That one is a little more tricky.
Research recently has suggested that insufficient sulfur intake in your diet can lead to joint problems of various types (source). That’s good, because it keeps us based in science. Yet it would seem that the idea of sitting in a bath with minuscule quantities of sulfur would no more affect your dietary intake of sulfur than sitting in a bath would stop you from getting dehydrated.
The only other health benefits of sulfur that could be obtained were by taking a certain type of sulfur internally, as in a supplement. Not one you soak in. We found websites that claim by drinking in a water solution with a teaspoon of Himalayan salt in it, you would also receive the health benefits of the trace minerals in Himalayan Salts. Claims of up to 80+ different trace minerals can be found online³. Possibly – however I think one might be better off getting an actual supplement with sulfur, calcium, mangesium etc – rather than drinking a teaspoon of 99.05% sodium chloride – especially since we know Western diets are already high in salt intake which can lead to high blood pressure.
Looking at this, it would appear on the surface that these beautiful salts differ from table salt only the extent that the impurities have been removed. We give these claims a thumbs-down for not being totally honest with customers as to the scientific validity of these claims.
Himalayan Salt Benefits – What’s the use?
The truth is, these salts most likely do not make you a genius, a long living monster, or shave half your age off. I’m sorry to disappoint – trust me I wish it were so 🙂 However, they do indeed serve a useful function in anyone’s basic bath.
First and foremost, they are beautiful. If you want to add beautiful soft pink undertones to any spa product, the solution is simple. Himalayan Bath Salts. It saves you wasting dyes and other chemicals trying to add colorants to a product – that right there is a health benefit!
Secondly, they are exotic. Would you rather soak in a tub of refined Himalayan salts or in a tub of table salt? I doubt many would choose the latter, though it is not very different. Exotic sells. Himalayan bath salts sell there’s no doubt about it. However let’s be straight with customers – they are beautiful and relaxing. They don’t stave off diseases.