Using Salt to Optimize Mental & Physical Performance


Huberman Lab

I discuss the role of salt (sodium) in the nervous system and the key role that it plays in mental performance, physical performance and health. I explain how the brain senses salt levels in our body and how that relates to our feelings of thirst. I cover the physiology of the renal system and the hormones that control sodium and water balance in our body. I also explore how salt interacts with stress and our immune systems and its crucial role in neuron function. Additionally, I examine research findings suggesting that some individuals might benefit from increased intake of sodium and other electrolytes (magnesium and potassium) to enhance mental performance, lessen anxiety, and offset dizziness. Yet, other people may need less sodium. I discuss how you can determine your optimal sodium intake and why sodium intake levels need to be uniquely tailored to an individual’s lifestyle. Finally, I explain how salt creates ‘hidden’ sugars in many processed foods and the problems that can create. Throughout the episode, I explain peer-reviewed findings outlining salt’s essential role in overall health and describe general recommendations and tools anyone can use to find their optimal salt balance and thereby enhance their brain and body’s performance.

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(00:00:00) Role of Salt

(00:02:57) Neuropod Cells, Artificial Sweeteners & ‘Hidden’ Cravings

(00:10:36) Sponsors: AG1, Thesis

(00:15:06) Salt Regulation

(00:17:13) How the Brain Senses Salt

(00:24:15) Salt & Thirst

(00:29:27) Blood Pressure & Thirst

(00:33:47) Kidneys & Urine Regulation

(00:39:08) Vasopressin: Roles in Libido & Urination

(00:45:46) How Much Salt Do You Need?

(00:56:45) Should You Increase Your Salt Intake?

(01:02:19) Tools: Determining Your Individual Salt Intake

(01:14:02) Iodine, Sea Salt

(01:17:13) Salt: Roles in Stress & Anxiety

(01:24:20) Other Electrolytes: Magnesium & Potassium

(01:27:57) Tools: Effects of Low-carbohydrate Diets & Caffeine

(01:32:28) General Recommendations for Salt Intake

(01:36:34) Perception of Salt & Sugar Taste, Processed Foods

(01:47:13) Role of Sodium in Neuronal Function, Action Potentials

(01:53:13) Dehydration

(01:55:36) What Salt Intake is Best for You?

(02:00:58) Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify, Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Supplements, Instagram, Twitter, Neural Network Newsletter

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


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