Are salt blocks or salt rocks killing your horses, cows, alpacas and more? Heck, is your salt shaker killing you? In my opinion the answer is a definite yes, but you will be surprised why! If you never read another article on health, I suggest you read this… It’s not about how salt is hurting you, but rather how you and your animals are getting too little salt and especially the WRONG KIND of salt.
I know this is just the opposite of what you most likely have been told for many years, BUT if you are not already brain washed about how bad salt is, READ on… you won’t be sorry! Salt and trace minerals in certain types of salt can be your body’s best friend... Man, Woman or Animal!
Salt is not only the backbone of good health, and obviously good taste, but was also the backbone of civilization itself. Did you know that ancient soldiers and even everyday workers used to be paid in salt? Perhaps you have heard the term “worth your weight in salt”? Perhaps in those days it was even worth more than money?
Because before refrigeration, salt was how man preserved his food. Having all the money in the world wouldn’t even matter without food. It’s hard to eat money. But then again, if man were being paid with salt maybe man was eating money! Regardless, I think you get the point…salt was very, very valuable!
It is a shame that today salt has such a bad reputation. Honestly, I can think of no better breakfast than one with good old salt cured country ham. And country cured ham biscuits… yum, yum good! Beats “city ham” any day. Salt was used to heal and soothe the body, too.
Hippocrates is said to perhaps be one of the first to promote the use of salt to soothe and heal, but I suspect long before Hippocrates, even cave man observed animals wallowing in salt, eating salt, and man followed suit. The use of salt is ancient!
Finding salt was not always easy, though, and often it was dangerous. Man and animal often traveled huge distances just to find it. In the wild almost all creatures congregated where salt was abundant.
Can you imagine how dangerous these concentrated areas of salt might be? Not only did man or beast have to first get there but also when then they finally arrived they most likely had to fight to get the salt. Every man and creature essentially wanted and needed salt so the competition must have been fierce. Man versus beast, beast versus beast, man versus man, I expect even country fought country… all over salt!
Oh, did I mention that salt was taxed to death by governments everywhere, as well? Yes, in ancient times, pretty much every time salt was moved or sold, it was taxed. Sounds sort of similar to gas and oil today, huh? Salt, like oil, is dangerous to get (wars), expensive to buy, and still taxed to death. Yes, salt used to be important to everyone - including governments.
Today we take (salt) pretty much for granted but I assure you we shouldn’t. Perhaps it’s not a backbone of today’s civilization, but salt still is for man and beast the backbone of health!
Today, though, we are not limited to the salt found geographically close to where we live. Just down the street at the grocery store there are all kinds of salt. Extremely important though, in my opinion, is that all salts are not equal in quality. For instance, typical sea salt is just dehydrated ocean water.
Oceans today are often contaminated, especially with mercury.
Sea salt from ANCIENT sea beds and not from the ocean is superior. Some salt is refined chemically and is not natural.
Also typical salt is often kiln dried, bleached and…. almost all salt for animals AND man has small amounts of prussic acid added to prevent caking or clumping. Prussic acid is another name for cyanide. Yikes! I don’t know the history of where this “addition” came from but it sure doesn’t sound very good to me! I don’t know which sounds worse, kiln drying (cooking), bleaching or cyanide...none of these sound good to be frank!
Many people, myself included, used to think that all salt was white, too. Ah, but NATURAL salts from “Mother Nature” can be red, pink, black and various shades in between.
Good salts come from the earth, NOT from chemicals - and are unaltered…these are Nature’s salts!
It's the altered salts that now give salt the bad reputation. Nature’s salts are critical for good health. The absorption of nutrients, the movement of fluids, the function of organs, almost everything in the body depends on salt. Salt to the body is like acid to a battery. The body just won’t work without salt!
Just as a “for instance”, albeit a common one, high blood pressure is one of the greatest ailments “blamed” on salt. Everyone knows that too much salt CAUSES high blood pressure, right? NOT SO!!!…..in my experience such a problem can be helped with salt!
The key is nature’s salt, not altered junk! I have seen, with quite a few people, ¼ teaspoon of nature’s salt per day for an average size person, is a great help! Blaming salt for high blood pressure is like saying that the presence of police in a high crime district is the cause of the crime – it just ain’t so.
Another tremendous benefit of nature’s salt is that it contains other nutrients, particularly trace minerals. These other minerals are far from “trace” with regards to benefits, though. In fact, the mere term “trace” implies “of less importance” which is far from the truth. Yes they are present in small amounts but trace minerals do BIG things. They would be better, as “max” minerals in my opinion. Trace minerals are what give nature’s salts the various colors of red, pink, black, or other colors. Talk about adding flavor to food…there is no comparison of using nature’s salt containing all the trace minerals, to just white salt. No doubt, when people or animals are missing trace minerals they crave salt, too.
Sadly though, according to a U.S. government study, trace minerals are very scarce in soil and have been since at least 1933. Growing and growing and growing crops year after year after year without replenishing the soil with nutrients essentially made the soil un-fertile. Poor quality food and sick soil was the consequence. I presume the terrible dust bowl around 1931 was what precipitated the study to begin with. Dead soil was killing man and man needed a solution.
The supposed answer to dead soil problem was to develop a “fertilizer”.
Unfortunately the fertilizer contrived was salt (potassium salt) based, and contained only three minerals, and did NOT contain the needed missing trace minerals. The three minerals used then and still today are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. These three minerals were found to be the major minerals that made plants grow, doing so by drawing water into the plant. (Remember osmosis from high school studies?) Unfortunately just using these fertilizers and not more complete, trace mineral rich, natural fertilizers makes plants, more or less, just full of water and lacking real nutrition. I am sure you agree that there is also little taste to many vegetables today!
Why agriculture scientists don’t include trace minerals within fertilizer to feed the soil and subsequently our bodies that eat the food, is beyond me. I am sure the reason is economics. Vegetables, fruits, grains, and especially hay for animals are typically sold by weight or volume more than by taste. Water weight/volume for profit apparently is more valuable than good health. Sick soil, sick food, sick salt, yuck, it’s no wonder there is so much sickness today both in animals and people. And… could the actual fertilizer itself be killing our animals that graze the sick soil and eat the hay?
Over a decade ago I recorded a cassette tape (later a CD) called “Animals Don’t Lie” that explains the “politics” behind it all. Beware though, I name names and tell it like it is!
You can hear “Animals Don’t Lie” right now via www.AnimalsDontLie.com!
Yes, nitrogen and potassium from fertilized pastures and/or heavily fertilized hay can be deadly to animals eating it - especially horses - but any animal, even alpacas, cows, goats and sheep can be affected. Unlike man who drinks water from a glass, plants “drink water” by using nitrogen and potassium as discussed earlier. When grass needs water, as during times of stress, grass draws water from the ground (the same with hay if cut and baled at these times). The more water, the more nitrogen and potassium. If a horse is grazing when the nitrogen or potassium is high and the horse does not have access to unlimited, quickly available, loose salt, the pH (acid) in the gut can quickly change. Any sudden change in gut pH (acidity) in a horse can result in colic, laminitis, abortion or worse.
Our #1 Red Cal!
This is such a seriously potential problem that if a storm front or weather change is moving into our area, for our horses, we go pasture to pasture to make sure RED CAL® is readily available. (Nature’s salt, minerals and more from ancient sea beds, more info later on Red Cal®*) Think about it! When DO horses colic most? Isn’t it after a weather change? A season change? After the first frost? After a drought? Absolutely!! Yes, any rapid change in gut acidity can be dangerous in any species! FREE CHOICE, LOOSE SALT AND MINERALS ARE THE BEST PREVENTION FOR MANY SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS! They can’t get what they need fast enough to prevent from rocks or blocks.
Excess nitrogen and/or potassium is more common than most think. If you are familiar with cattle, especially dairy cattle, you most likely have heard of milk fever. It can be deadly but responds rapidly to intravenous treatment with calcium. Calcium is less likely to become deficient if plenty of salt is available. If you are into beef cattle, you are most likely familiar with grass tetany. Grass tetany is actually a magnesium deficiency – OR IS IT? Most think so, but I assure you, if loose salt and minerals are readily available chances are rare that it will occur. In animals, deficiencies are first filled with salt, then calcium, then magnesium.
The actual chemistry of the cation/anion exchange and relationships of salt to calcium, magnesium, potassium and nitrogen is explained in detail on our website at WhyRedCalWorks.com where you will also find the article “Why Red Cal”.
By the way, high protein hay can make all of the above conditions more likely to occur because of even more nitrogen produced by the breakdown of protein. No worries though - As long as free choice, readily available loose salt and mineral are available there is little chance of calcium deficiency, magnesium deficiency or other health catastrophes related to nitrogen or potassium! By the way, just adding salt to feed is not sufficient either – it must be available loose and readily available at all times!
Who would have thought that salt blocks are useless?
Well…Pennsylvania State University showed in a study some years back that loose salt is better utilized and improves feed efficiency better than blocks! Go Figure... again, I know it’s contrary to what some of you might think. After all, we all used to just toss the blocks in and forget about them. Occasionally we might see our animals chewing and wonder what they might be missing (and they were). And we might see that one horse or cow ate them almost as quickly as you put them in (attempting perhaps to obtain a nutrient not even present within). Most of the time, generally speaking, we even just forgot about blocks or rocks until they started chewing on the wood or trees. And they were often washed away by the rain and we didn’t even notice they were gone. So…. as easy, pretty, exotic, on a rope, from foreign country, or even as cheap as a rock or block of salt is – throw it away! Put them all in the trash so even the deer can’t get them.
For you and your animals, ancient sea beds are tremendous sources of bioavailable salt and minerals. Ancient sea bed salt and minerals are naturally chelated. Chelated minerals have been shown to be more readily available for use by the body by many studies. Chelation basically means that the minerals are attached to an organic nutrient which makes it more readily available. Often one will see trace minerals attached to amino acids or proteins as a traditional method of chelation. This method is good and a sure way of knowing a mineral is going to be better utilized, but natural ancient sea bed chelation is better. Why? Simply because all the organic material once in the oceans (plants, algae, diatoms, shells, sea weed, etc., long since decayed) are still present and attached to the minerals and since essentially every mineral known to man is found in ancient sea beds, the results, in my experience, are tremendous. I suspect there are even micronutrients present in ancient sea beds that have not even been discovered yet.
Salt was the backbone of civilization, and still is the backbone of health for man and animals. Nature’s salt is better than altered. Minerals, even trace minerals, are critical too. Animals must have free access to natural loose salt and minerals - NOT man made, altered, hard salt as in rocks or blocks. It should be available at all times to best prevent serious consequences, even death. In my experience, tens of thousands of horses and other animals for nearly two decades have proven the benefits.
As I just finished this article I had the TV on in the background listening to the news. Though I have been preaching the benefits of natural salt and trace minerals for nearly two decades now, it does seem that science IS catching up. Just reported was a major study stating that there is NOT any significant evidence to support harmful effects of salt intake in man. Truly this is one of those “I told you so” moments...
I thank you for your support and will be trusting your days ahead will be greatly blessed!
~ Dr. Dan