Shipwreck survivors often succumb to having drunk sea water. The cause of death is excess salt.
If you're given to salting all of your food, chances are you are overdosing. Much food today (especially prepared foods) already contain far more salt than humans need and yet many insist on adding still more salt.
Of course it can. Too much salt although not addictive in and of itself as a substance can kill by wrecking havoc with your nervous system and water retention in cells (all of them). Sodium ions are critical in the passage of nerve impulses and an upset in that can kill like a lot of other central nervous system toxins (but not all of those).
New research shows that 22 million people in Britain are now trying to cut down the amount of salt they eat. Most people who are cutting back on salt have stopped adding salt to their food at the table or when cooking and sales of household salt have dropped by 10% in a year.
But two out of three people do not know that they should be eating no more than 6g of salt a day and only a third of adults are looking at labels for the salt content. Three quarters of our daily salt intake comes from processed foods and with men eating an average of 11g of salt a day and women an average of 8g a day, we are all eating too much salt.
In the South East, nearly half of all adults are cutting down on salt, however, less than one-third check food labels for the salt content and only 2% know that they should be aiming to eat no more than 6g of salt a day.
Eating too much salt is a significant risk factor in developing high blood pressure, which causes or contributes to more than 170,000 deaths a year in England. The cost to the NHS of prescriptions for reducing high blood pressure is around £840 million a year. Studies show that reducing salt in the diet can lower blood pressure within four weeks.
So can too much salt kill you?
Yes. In several senses. The government recommends no more than 6g of salt a day for an adult . If you eat more than this is can cause heart disease.
Salt given in large doses at once can also cause serious problems to other organs in your body including your brain and kidneys.