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Why do I crave salt?

The craving for salt can be very strong, and it may strike us at the most unexpected time as we reach out for our favorite snack. Do you know the amount of salt you consume in a single day?

The American Heart Association says that it is probably too much. A typical American consumes close to 3,400mg of salt per day. This is much more than the recommended daily salt intake of 1,500 to 2,400 milligrams per day.

A salt craving could be more than just a desire for a snack in the middle of the afternoon. It may also indicate a medical condition. Read on to learn what your body is telling you when you crave salt, and how you can eat less.


Your body needs a certain amount of fluid to function properly. If your body’s fluid levels fall below the healthy level, you may need more salt. Your body is telling you to eat or drink more.

Other indicators of dehydration, in addition to the desire for sodium, include:

  • Clammy, frigid skin
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • A mood swing or agitation
  • Quick heartbeat
  • Muscular cramps and spasms

Salt and Stress

The adrenal glands release cortisol. This hormone helps to control blood pressure and how your body responds to stress. According to research, people with higher levels of salt during stressful periods release less cortisol. You may crave salt because your body is trying to cope with extreme stress.

Salt Cravings and Your Health

Patients with Bartter syndrome are unable reabsorb salt. They excrete any sodium they consume in their urine. They are chronically deficient in sodium. These kidney diseases start showing up as soon as a child is born. These illnesses may include:

  • Weight gain is minimal
  • Blood pressure is reduced
  • Muscle cramps or tremors
  • Urination is frequent in some people
  • Constipation

Addison’s Disease can also cause salt cravings. Your adrenal glands produce the hormones necessary for survival. Addison’s can decrease the amount of hormones that your adrenal glands make. This illness can also cause a craving for salt.

  • Extreme exhaustion and energy deficit
  • Clammy skin
  • Blood pressure is reduced
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss that is not accounted for
  • Persistent or long-lasting diarrhea
  • Dark patches of skin, especially on the face
  • Inside of the cheeks with sores on the mouth


You will probably crave salt at some point. However, if you are experiencing this craving on a regular basis and you have other health issues, it is worth talking to your doctor to determine if there are any other factors involved.

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