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Celtic Sea Salt: Hydration Helper or Hoax?

A registered dietitian weighs in on this social media fad

minute read

Written by Kiley Carroll on September 14, 2023
What You Need To Know

Cristina Rebellon, RD, discusses the trending TikTok “health tip” around Celtic sea salt. Supposedly, adding a pinch of the Celtic sea salt to your tongue before sipping water boosts hydration.

Scrolling through TikTok can be informative, entertaining and engaging. You can find everything from dogs frolicking in the snow to quick-and-tasty recipes to useful health tips. Some of the latter may seem like easy ways to hack your health.

One recent example is the TikTok-fueled claim that adding a pinch of Celtic sea salt to your tongue before drinking water can increase your hydration.

What is Celtic sea salt?

Celtic sea salt is a type of sea salt that’s harvested off the coast of France. It differs from other salts in its grayish color, grain size and flavor profile. 

Cristina Rebellon, RD, instructor in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and registered dietitian at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, offers a dose of perspective – if not a sizable grain of salt – to this assertion.

“I think the driving thought behind these claims is that Celtic sea salt contains higher amounts of minerals, specifically magnesium, and that helps improve hydration,” Rebellon said. But this claim isn’t entirely true, she said. “Celtic sea salt does not necessarily contain a higher mineral content than other types of salts. If you compare, let's say Celtic sea salt to table salt, side by side, there's a very similar mineral profile.

However, magnesium is still important for many things. It helps with sleep regulation, gut motility and hydration. “If you are looking to increase your magnesium intake, there are better sources than Celtic sea salt, including almonds, avocado, spinach, fish, walnuts and beans,” Rebellon said. “There are so many other sources that you could get much more bang for your bite.”

In fact, the average American diet is already high in sodium. Rebellon said the daily upper limit for the general population is about 2,300 mg of sodium, so adding just a quarter teaspoon of Celtic sea salt (around 500 mg) to water can put a person over the recommended daily limit.

Fad or Fact?

A series exploring current health-related trends through the scientific lenses of our CU Anschutz experts.


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Still searching for ways to stay hydrated?

Rebellon recommends drinking a glass of water upon waking, before drinking any coffee, tea or other form of caffeine. She also recommends investing in a water bottle you love. Set a few alarms throughout the day to remind yourself to drink water and remember that hydration also comes from foods such as fruits, vegetables and soups.

Unfortunately, Celtic sea salt isn’t a quick fix for hydration. Rebellon said, “For the general population, adding salt to your water doesn't likely add that much of a benefit, but if you do decide to try the trend, you should always check with your primary care provider first.”

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Cristina Rebellon, RD