Sodium Potassium Balance: What I Learned About Migraines Today

A healthy diet could be making you sick.

I know, it seems backwards. How could a nutrient-rich diet loaded with delicious fruits and vegetables be bad for you?

It shouldn’t be, except for one small detail that gets overlooked: most healthy diets don’t contain enough salt.

Fruits and vegetables are high in potassium along with a whole slew of other nutrients, but they contain only trace amounts of sodium. For those of us who eat lots of fruits and vegetables, avoid packaged foods, and don’t add much salt to our meals, this can quickly turn into a serious health problem.

Sodium Potassium Balance

Sodium and potassium are both electrolytes, meaning that they become electrically-charged ions inside the body. Electrolytes are critical for proper tissue function, transmitting nerve impulses, and transporting nutrients to their destination.

The balance between potassium and sodium is critical at the cellular level. Potassium is concentrated inside the cells and sodium outside. The correct ratio of sodium outside and potassium inside creates an electrical potential across the cell membrane.

Low sodium levels outside the cell change the electrical potential. The cell tries to return itself to a stable state by taking in water to dilute the potassium concentration inside. This causes the cells to swell, a condition known as inflammation.

If the cell cannot restore the correct electrical charge, it will not function properly.

What I Learned About Migraines Today

The neural dysfunction associated with migraine can be caused by an improper balance between sodium and potassium inside the body.

A diet focused on fruits and vegetables and minimal salt intake (as recommended by nutritional guidelines) contributes to migraines because of imbalanced sodium and potassium inside the body.

Low sodium concentration can be easily remedied by adding more salt to your meals. So if you’re eating healthy, don’t be afraid of the salt! Your body needs it!

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