Salt Supplementation for POTS
When a cardiologist gave me the green light to increase my salt intake, I ran an internet search on POTS and salt. What I found was that of the POTS patients who use sodium supplementation to manage their symptoms, some rely on table salt and others turn to salt pills. I wound up trying both.
I decided to go the table salt route first, since it is readily available and seemingly cheaper than salt pills, which I've found to run about $20 for 100 pills. One problem is, sodium only comprises part of table salt, so you have to ingest more table salt to get the amount of sodium you need. I also found it hard to get enough salt this way because my taste buds staged a revolt against the saltiness, while at the same time, I started to lose my salt sensitivity and food that tasted salty to my family was bland for me. Finally, it is a pain (and not great for the waistline) to have to eat something every time you need a boost of salt. This explained my past cravings for chips, but I just didn't find it very healthy or convenient to have to eat salty food regularly throughout the day.
My friend who also has POTS, and who I mentioned previously, tried drinking to meet her sodium needs. She relied on a lemon juice, honey, and salt concoction, which she would have to prepare every morning and remember to bring with her wherever she went. Although she got used to the taste, it was bulky to carry around, hard to calibrate how much sodium she was getting, and inconvenient to whip up every morning.
Enter ... Salt Pills
Once I had tried and written off fulfilling my sodium needs through eating salty foods, I decided to give salt pills a try. I had read that they could induce nausea, and they were kind of pricey, but the convenience factor won out. After researching online, I found SaltStick as an oft-recommended brand by POTS patients. They even have a formulation specifically tailored for POTS and that is the one I decided to use.
I didn't experience any nausea taking these. Nor did I get any noticeable bloating, which I would have expected with such a pronounced increase in sodium intake. It's possible I did have some bloating, but I can't tell like the way I can when I am PMSing. They are convenient since I can carry them in my purse with me, I know exactly how much sodium I am getting, and I can take them as needed.
Figuring out the right dosage for my needs took trial and error. I used the dosage information on the label as a guide and went from there. If I felt unwell, I would increase the dosage, and if I felt fine, I would decrease the dosage to see if it was still sufficient. Where I'm at now is 2 pills in the morning with 16 ounces of water. Then 1 pill every 3 hours after that with my last dose at 8pm. I take every pill with at least 8 ounces of water, and make sure to drink plenty of additional water througout the day. Shockingly, I pee a lot less than I used to, probably because the salt helps me retain the water in my blood volume.
Salt pills have been revolutionary for me. They allow me to easily adjust my salt intake without any side effects. My friend said that at first, her doctor put her on beta blockers, which made her symptoms worse. I introduced her to salt pills and she's giving them a try now, as a replacement for her homemade salt drinks. At $20 a bottle, the cost can add up, but the makers of SaltStick are currently offering a 20% discount if you are taking SaltStick for medical reasons and join their Vitassium Club. You can also get free shipping if you spend more than $50. I've found it to be well worth the cost.