In keeping with the demand for all things “millennial pink,” social media health gurus have been touting the benefits of pricey pink salt.

Himalayan salt, commonly known as “pink salt” for its distinctive hue, comes from the Khewra Salt Mine, located in the Punjab region of Pakistan. The substance has been used in bath salts, decorative salt lamps and in cooking.

While devotees claim the aesthetically-pleasing mineral has numerous health benefits, including calming asthma and allergies, easing the effects of seasonal affective disorder, improved respiratory health and use as a digestive aid, evidence to support these claims is virtually nonexistent.

Sheri Zindenberg-Cherr, a Cooperative Extension Specialist with the department of nutrition at UC Davis, warns that while pretty, the science linking this salt to any health perks simply isn’t there.

“There is no evidence published in peer-reviewed journals that replacing white salt with pink salt or any of the other gourmet salts leads to any improvement in health,” Zindenberg-Cherr said.

With a chemical makeup of about 95 to 98 percent sodium chloride, Pink Salt is nearly nutritionally identical to plain table salt, with the exception of a small amount of mineral contaminants.

“While some salts such as Himalayan may contain slightly more minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, these contributions are quite small,” Zindenberg-Cherr said, adding that, regardless, salt should not serve as a major contributor of these nutrients as there are other healthy choices that serve as more nutrient dense sources of these.

While your body does require sodium, the Center for Disease Control warns that Americans on average consume far too much, which can lead to high blood pressure.

Another claim proponents make is when used as a salt lamp, pink salt can clean the air around you by releasing a high-density of negative ions. However, the science is still out on whether negative ions have any real benefits, and even if they do, researchers are skeptical that these salt lamps are capable of producing negative ions at the high rate produced by the industrial ionizers used in the studies.

So while pink salt may dress up your dinner or provide some mood lighting, it’s not recommended as a miracle cure.

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Sheri Zindenberg-Cherr, co-director of the UC Davis Center for Nutrition in Schools

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