The Differences Among Salts

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Salt is a common name for sodium chloride, an essential compound for horses and humans. Salts are either mined or collected from sea water. The common table salt is made by injecting water into earth salt beds, it is purified for recrystalization, and then treated with chemicals to remove impurities (calcium and magnesium salts). Evaporation is then applied to collect the isolated sodium chloride, which is then kiln dried at temperatures  up to 1200 degrees. Various anticaking agents are then mixed with the sodium chloride, and if iodine is also added, dextrose is commonly used to stabilize the iodine. Bleaching agents are also used so that the end product is white.Celtic sea salts are grey; they are harvested from fresh north atlantic sea water by the evaporation of wind and sun, leaving a mineral-rich brine. The brine is stirred by the paludiers (salt farmers) and then the crystals are gathered by hand.   The result is a salt with a wide range of minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as the trace minerals.

Himalayan salts are mined largely in the Khewra and Punjab provinces of Pakistan. The pink color reflects the high iron content of this salt. The salt mines in these provinces are located in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.  These salt deposits were formed over 250 million years ago from an ancient sea.  Himalayan salt is mined by hand, hand washed, and sun dried.  Like Celtic sea salt, Himalayan salts also provide calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as 70 trace minerals including selenium, iodine, zinc, and copper.

Both Himalayan salts and Celtic sea salts contain more moisture than table salt.    That is because anticaking agents have not been applied to these raw salts.

The pH of these different salts vary; table salt is more acidic at 7.0, while Celtic Sea and Himalayan salt are more alkaline at a range of 7.40 to 8.0. Equine and human blood pH range from 7.36 to 7.41.

Celtic sea salt and Himalayan salt are more expensive than table salt; however, if you seek a raw salt that is not heavily processed, is free of bleach and other additives, and provides additional minerals, these two salts are a great alternative to table salt for both humans and horses.