General advice to patients suffering from hypertension is to consume low salt diet. But, how much less is safe for the patient has not been clearly defined. Generally, it is advised to remain below 2.3 gms/day. Some say 1.5 gms/day.
A large worldwide study has found that, contrary to popular thought, low-salt diets may not be beneficial and may actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death compared to average salt consumption. The study suggests that the only people who need to worry about reducing sodium in their diet are those with hypertension (high blood pressure) and have high salt consumption.
The study, involving more than 130,000 people from 49 countries, was led by investigators of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.Current intake of sodium in Canada is typically between 3.5 and 4 grams per day. Some guidelines suggest to consume salt below 2.3 grams per day, a level that fewer than five per cent of Canadians and people around the world consume.
Only about 10 per cent of the population in the global study had both hypertension and high sodium consumption (greater than 6 grams per day).
Low sodium intake reduces blood pressure modestly, compared to average intake, but low sodium intake also has other effects, including adverse elevations of certain hormones which may outweigh any benefits.
This new study shows that the risks associated with low-sodium intake -- less than three grams per day -- are consistent regardless of a patient's hypertension status.
"An approach that recommends salt in moderation, particularly focused on those with hypertension and high salt intake, appears more in-line with current evidence."
The study was funded from more than 50 sources, including the PHRI, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The article was published in the ScienceDaily, can be accessed here.