Salt Restriction May Actually Be Bad For You

The recommendations for sodium consumption have come under question lately. Studies have found that very low salt intake, in line with recommendations by the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control may be more harmful than helpful. A recent meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Hypertension analyzed 25 studies that included almost 275,000 people and found that sodium intake between 2,645 and 4,945 mg was most protective against heart disease and death. Those people who ate higher or lower levels of salt were at greater risk.

Interestingly, average daily salt intake in the United States falls within this new healthy range. Cutting far back on salt may actually be doing more harm than good. “Our results are in line with the Institute of Medicine’s concern that lower levels could produce harm, and they provide a concrete basis for revising the recommended range in the best interest of public health,” noted Niels Graudal, MD, a review author. “The good news is that around 95 percent of the global population already consumes within the range we’ve found to generate the least instances of mortality and cardiovascular disease.”

Now that’s an eye opener! Dr. Smith blogged on a similar topic back in 2011. He suggested that it may not be the salt that was originally found to be harmful, but instead the processed foods on which all the salt is found. I agree. If you have been limiting your salt—especially if you have been limiting it below 1,500, you might want to reconsider. Here is a link to the meta-analysis. Bring it to your doctor and ask him about increasing your salt intake.

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