Go to the internet or your local health shop and ask about good natural salt and you will be flooded with talk touting the great virtues of Himalayan Salt. We are told that Himalayan salt is mined from pure unpolluted mountains of Himalaya from deposits laid down eons ago so it has the most good minerals and least bad ones such as heavy metals. Well what are the facts? I decided to check it out myself. First, going back to basics, all minerals are eventually washed into the sea. So were is the highest concentration of minerals going to be? In the sea. It follows that correctly harvested sea salt will logically have the most minerals. Is this so? I wanted to know for myself using science and simple observation so I could determine which salt I would use, advocate and sell and cut through the adverting hype. At Alnatural Health we are very particular about what we sell. I did a comparison of Celtic Sea Salt and Himalayan Salt by obtaining the official chemical analysis of both Celtic Sea Salt (1) and Himalayan Salt (2) from major supplies of both. Both analyses were done by independent labs. Let’s look at the results:
Comparison of Celtic Sea Salt to Himalayan Salt
|Mineral||Celtic Gray salt||Himalayan Salt||% Difference (Himalayan – Celtic)|
Note 1: Himalayan salt analysis states this element is an artificial isotope so is not included (2). It is the only element without a stable isotope. The Celtic salt analysis includes it. These isotopes exist everywhere, but notice the amount is negligible. Notice that Sodium is significantly higher in Himalayan Salt than Celtic Salt, others, especially Magnesium, which is about half that of Himalayan Salt, are lower.
The first thing that hits you is Himalayan Salt is lower than Celtic Sea Salt in most everything except for Sodium, almost 22% more sodium. All other minerals, except the acidifying element, Sulfur (about 6% more) are lower. Higher Sulfur content would be expected where there is volcanic action in the past. Celtic Sea Salt retains all the minerals in sea water and sea water contains the concentration of minerals washed down for over 4000 yrs. Himalayan salt contains the minerals that were in it when it was laid down reflecting what minerals were washed down from the soil and deposited at the time of formation. Himalayan Salt is lower in Magnesium. Remember that Magnesium is the essential mineral that is deficient in so most people. Sodium is interesting. It seems that the concentration of a higher percentage of other minerals in the sea, particularly Chloride and Magnesium, has diluted the sodium. I noticed that when I tried Himalayan salt that it is more salty to taste than Celtic Sea Salt, more like refined salt.
What about heavy metals?
Himalayan salt looks like it has lower levels of heavy metals than CelticSea salt. This is to be expected because almost every other element in Celtic Sea Salt is higher than Himalayan salt. That appears to be plus for Himalayan salt, however some figures are expressed as less than (<) it is hard to compare them, e.g. Mercury is given as <0.0004% for Celtic Salt, and 0.0000001% for Himalayan Salt. You just cannot compare such figures. Microbes in sea Anyway the levels are so low they would be comparable with much of the food you eat. The lab that did the Celtic Salt analysis made the following comment: “Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Nickel and Mercury Our laboratory also tests for these elements that are sometimes referred to as “heavy metals” and that are present in many things we come into contact with every day in our environment. The Codex Alimentarius Commission -- formed by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) and the WHO (World Health Organization) -- has established the maximum safe levels acceptable in food grade salt for some of these elements. In our most recent analysis all these elements were either non detectable (Arsenic, Cadmium, Mercury) or were well under the published safe limits specified by Codex (Lead – present at levels no higher than .000076% while the Codex limit is .000200%). There are no limits specified for Nickel (present at levels no higher than .000004%).” (2)
What about pollutants in the sea?
The action of waves in oxygenating sea water and the action of sunlight and marine microorganisms in the sea are known to purify the oceans by braking down pollutants put into them. Methyl Mercury is degraded by microbes in sea water (3) The ocean is a fantastic purifier, otherwise the ocean would not sustain life anymore. There is something/s in sea water that have not yet been discovered. When scientists put fish in a sea water tank they were fine. When put in water that had been made to copy sea water, combining all the known components of sea water they died. Looking at the ocean currents that bring sea water to the north coast of France where Celtic Sea Salt is harvested on the ocean map shown at http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/8q_1.html I find that the water arriving at Celtic Sea Salt’s harvest point on the coast of France travels right across the Atlantic Ocean, in the Nth Atlantic drift. It does not touch land across in it’s trip across the entire Atlantic ocean. Thousands of Km are traveled, plenty of time and contact with purifying elements elapses before arriving on the coast of France to be harvested. Note also, looking at the map, the Atlantic has to be cleanest ocean when you compare it to the Pacific for instance. The proof is that it Celtic Sea Salt has to pass rigid organic standards of the European and Australian Certification for purity. Notice, the water does not come from the polluted coasts of Europe or England as has been suggested by Celtic Sea Salt’s opponents. It is totally false.
When we look at the facts free from advertising hype which does not hold water, we see that we cannot go past the good old, tried and true Celtic Sea Salt:
- Mineral content is better, and more balanced, with about double the magnesium and 1/5 the sodium,
- The kind of mercury Celtic Salt contains actually helps us to deal with toxic heavy metals, including methyl mercury,
- It does not contain pollutants washed down from our civilizations on land.
- There is something/s in sea water that have not yet been discovered. When scientists put fish in a sea water tank they were fine. When put in water that had been made to copy sea water, combining all the known components of sea water they died.
Finally, as with everything that is new, Himalayan salt is several times more expensive to buy that Celtic Salt and, in my opinion Celtic salt is tastes nicer. I know what I am going to use and advocate.