The Sodium/Potassium ratio (henceforth known as the na/k ratio) is the absolute most important ratio on the HTMA. The Na/K shows us our overall vitality, adrenal health, liver and kidney function, digestion, and how our body is reacting to stress.
This is one of the hardest ratios to fix because both sodium and potassium have to be in a specific balance. Finding that balance can be difficult because everyone has their own tolerance when it comes to certain nutrients.
For example, when sodium, potassium, and magnesium are all low it is VERY hard for someone to raise all 3 at once. They all have to be in balance because too much of one can bump another around. I try to tell people to take note of their symptoms: low sodium signs include dizziness, low blood pressure, muscle weakness or a very rapid heartbeat. Low potassium signs include a hard, thumping heartbeat; thirst; insomnia; or muscle cramps. Low magnesium signs include muscle pain/stiffness, headaches, and skipped heartbeats.
A high Na/k ratio shows a possibility of:
- adrenal imbalance (usually an acute stress situation, and the beginning stages of adrenal fatigue)
- More common with fast oxidizers
- kidney and liver stress
- A high sodium/potassium ratio is considered preferable to a low sodium/potassium ratio.
A low Na/K ratio shows a possibility of:
- kidney and liver dysfunction
- tissue breakdown
- low immune system
- adrenal exhaustion/burnout (usually because of chronic stress)
- digestive problems (especially deficiency of hydrochloric acid)
- Very low ratios can be a warning for heart attacks, diabetes, cancer
- Very common in slow oxidizers
- Low na/k ratios that are hard to budge can be due to a history of trauma. Child abuse victims tend to have very low na/k ratios
Fixing this Ratio:
The approach will be different for those with a high na/k vs a low na/k. The basics include calming down the stress response and focusing on adrenal health, focusing on LOW levels of both sodium and potassium, healing from underlying trauma (easier said than done, I know! but it is important), and working on stress management.