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Starting salt again after stopping smoking - How to mitigate the side effects of salt loading?


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Hello all :-)

I don't have a diagnosis of dysautonomia. But, I'm a 38 y/o guy and I have had a bradycardia for 3 years, along with pain in the neck at the left carotid. So, the autonomic / parasympathetic / vagus system is obviously involved. It has been an honest-to-god nightmare. :wacko: The main problem is trying to do academic work. But I get fatigue and excess sleepiness.

It was all much more handleable when I was still smoking cigarettes (nicotine stimulation and vasoconstriction). But I managed to stop that 5 weeks ago, and since then the fatigue / difficulty doing work has been a mega challenge. I have hardly done any work since then if I'm honest, despite continuous attempts, and trying every single supplement (to boost sympathetic / inotropic / chronotropic activity) I can get my hands on.

So I decided to go back to my old trick I found on the various dysautonomia websites shortly after my problem started, of drinking 1 pint of hot water with salt, followed by another pint of water. This stops me from having to repeatedly sleep throughout the day. I just use regular sea salt. Now that I have stopped smoking I have found I need roughly twice the amount I used to (so 12 grams instead of 6 grams) for it to have an effect.

I hate having to take salt because:

  • It makes me bloated and look tubby despite being trim
  • It makes me sweat like crazy if I do exercise, e.g. at a social dance event - I like dancing
  • This could be my imagination, but it seems to dry out my skin and makes me look at least 5 years older

Does anyone else find this with salt? I am just an upset person at the end of their tether looking for some camaraderie!

Does anyone have any tips on how to mitigate these problems with using salt?

Does anyone have any supplements they use in combination which allows them to reduce their salt load?

Thank you,


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Just low HR, Yogini.

A typical reading for me would be Sys 120 / Dia 70 / HR 41. Very occasionally my blood pressure numbers will tumble down.

I have tried many things. Caffeine will work for a brief period (say, an afternoon) once maybe every couple of weeks when my system has had time to regenerate. Any more often than that and it actually just exhausts me and sends me straight to bed - so it's not a sustainable treatment.

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Guest KiminOrlando

Hi Danny. Do you have a cardiologist? Are you looking to solve this without using meds? The reason I ask is that some cardios will treat the symptoms and give you a med to get your heart rate up and have you track your BP to see what happens. Have you checked your oxygen? There are things they can do to help sometimes if you find a cardio that treats dysautonomia.

Non-medical remedies are hit or miss for me. Have you tried compression stockings? Some people have had luck with a complete diet change. Try using the search feature for diets like paleo and see what you get.

Also, you mentioned neck involvement. I assume they did an MRI and a neuro determined that your brain is getting enough flow. I am currently going through that process because I have neck/Chiari problems. I am told reduced pressures in your brain can cause excessive sleepiness. I'm still learning about this.

I know you don't have a dx of dysautonomia, but with what you do have, it sounds like dysautonomia is a symptom of your real diagnosis. You may end up treating symptoms because the actual diagnosis is not treatable - I don't know. 

I use coconut oil for dry skin. I have no suggestions for the sweating. Sorry. 

Good luck!



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Hello Kim, thank you for all that :-)

I'm in the UK - I have not been referred to a cardiologist yet. I think I will go privately to one who deals with things like dysautonomia. I find if you've got something unusual, there's no point going to see a mainstream doctor - it will just be emotionally distressing and result in no helpful outcome. There is a list of specialists on the Dysautonomia UK website - I will go to one of them I think :-)

I saw a general physician here on the NHS (like a GP/internist but more qualified and hospital-based). I have intermittent oedema of the face, abdomen and feet (quite striking oedema). He tested me for urine catecholamines (linked to "idiopathic oedema"), but in response to my heart rate he said "maybe you just naturally run a low heart rate".

He discharged me with no diagnosis, not even of bradycardia!

I am completely open to using prescription meds. I would gladly accept them. I just want to stay awake all day, be able to concentrate and get on with my life. I just need diagnosis and help - which with these types of disorders requires careful navigation of the health system as you will know.

I am already pretty much paleo. I find that a high protein meal at night helps the next day by adjusting the balance towards sympathetic - away from parasympathetic. I also eat fairly low carb to avoid retaining water.

The MRI / neuro things sounds great! But they would never do that here with me being extremely demanding and pushy. Interesting - yes - I'd heard about the intracranial hypertension angle on things, if that's what you're getting at.

I have never tried stockings, but I noticed I felt more alert when I randomly put on a pair of tight jeans!!

Danny :-)

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It seems a number of people are being advised to take at least 10g of salt per day:

I don't think my doctor will have the faintest clue, but hey. :-)

Yes, as I have normal BP, I don't know why salt helps, but it does. It does increase my BP, but still seems to leave my HR the same. It effectively "cures" me. I have energy and focus and don't fall asleep.

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Have you been tested for low blood volume?  You can have low BV without low BP.   I think any of us here would really be guessing and we are most familiar with bradycardia incidental to NCS or POTS.   Sometimes it takes time to find the right dr for these types of issues.  I'd encourage you to keep looking

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