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WOMEN’S MENSTRUAL CYCLES: the role of salt


It’s different for each one of us.

The way we experience the days leading up to and during our period, depends so much on our overall health, our circumstances, our cultural norms. One thing is clear however, our hormonal system can significantly influence our moods and state of mind during this time: we are not the same as usual.

We may experience pain, cramping, migraine, irritability. Perhaps we feel a need to ‘cocoon’ more, withdraw from active social life, be quieter and more reflective. Not expecting to have the same energy levels and mood as at other times of the month is one way we can give ourselves permission to be gentle with ourselves. In addition, if we have an understanding of the biochemistry of our biology, this can go a long way to help us feel in charge of our hormonal fluctuations rather than a victim of them.

Health coach and nutritionist Jacqui Niehaus, who has a Master’s Degree in Biostatistics and an advanced diploma in nutritional therapy, says there are various ways salt is important for optimal menstrual health.

Here are 4 reasons getting enough salt helps keep your hormones in balance:

1. CORTISOL – the Stress Factor

Cortisol is an important hormone released by our adrenal glands; amongst other functions, it helps us regulate our body’s response to stress.  However, if cortisol continues to remain at high levels due to chronic stress, it can cause many other important hormones to become out of balance.

Increased cortisol could result in anovulation (not ovulating) and longer cycles. High cortisol levels over a prolonged time can also cause a lack of sex drive, periods can become irregular, less frequent, or even stop altogether.

Salt has been shown to speed up cortisol clearance from the blood.[1]  The faster you clear cortisol, the quicker you recover from a stressor. If cortisol lingers, the body stays in a stressed mode. Of course, you’ll also need to address the root cause of the stress in your life, but if you don’t eat enough salt, you’ll compromise your ability to release cortisol from your body.

2. BLOOD SUGAR – the salt connection

Studies have found low-salt diets can trigger insulin resistance in previously healthy subjects. [2] [3] [4]   

One reason for this is that one of the transporters that gets carbohydrates into the cells (known as a “sodium-glucose cotransporter“) is dependent on sodium to function effectively.  Having a low sodium intake can make it harder for your body to store glucose in cells, despite there being an adequate release of insulin.

It can be surprising to learn that insulin resistance is at the root of many hormonal health struggles that women experience, including PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and infertility.

3. THE MAGIC OF MAGNESIUM – and why it needs sodium

Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body is and is required in over 600 cellular reactions, yet it’s the one mineral the majority of us are in short supply of. Magnesium is crucial for hormone health because it helps normalize the action of progesterone on the central nervous system, aids in blood sugar balance, supports thyroid health, and aids sleep.  By supporting progesterone levels, magnesium helps to regulate bleeding during menstruation.

So how can we make sure we hold on to our magnesium?  It turns out that adequate sodium levels are necessary for the retention of magnesium.  Salt is one of the keys to keeping magnesium in the body.

4. SALT – a natural anti-histamine

Unrefined salt has natural anti-histamine effects. Histamines are chemicals created by your immune system to get rid of substances your body doesn’t agree with, including foods you may be allergic to. It achieves this through sneezing, itching rashes, inflammation, mucus, tears and so on. What does this have to do with your monthly cycle?

Interestingly, histamine has an additive effect on estrogen, which can raise estrogen levels (linked to conditions such as heavy periods, PMS, endometriosis, fibroids, and hormonal weight gain). Histamine mimics estrogen’s actions on the uterus, and anti-histamines, such as salt, will help reduce the negative effects that excess estrogen can have.  

Our bodies are biochemical miracles constantly striving for balance and equilibrium. Countless interconnected chemical processes are dependent on having adequate levels of sodium in the body. We need it. We’re alive because of it. Don’t deprive your body of this essential mineral.

Just make sure it’s the right salt: unrefined, unprocessed, unpolluted, natural

A great product to support women during this time is Revive Daily Electrolytes. Powered by Oryx Desert Salt, a daily dose of Revive keeps you optimally hydrated with the perfect amount of electrolytes for your body, mind (and womb 😉).

Women's Menstrual Cycles - The Role of Salt and REVIVE


[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12970284/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21036373/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17425514/

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12691602/

Spot the iconic Oryx horns on restaurant tables and in retail stores nationwide. South African customers can find Oryx Desert Salt in premium Woolworths stores, Cape Union Mart, Pick ‘n Pay, Food Lovers Market, Dischem and Spar as well as most health shops and deli’s countrywide.

Also available in Whole Foods Market stores in the USA, Namibia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Germany, UK, Taiwan, Nigeria and launching in Australia next.
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