6

High salt intake appears to be well-established as a risk-factor for cardiovascular disease, usually cited as being due to its effect of increasing your blood pressure. I want to know if that's the whole story, or if there's evidence that salt affects heart disease risk through other pathways (perhaps not yet identified). For instance, studies might have looked into the risk of salt intake while controlling for blood pressure, but I can't find any.

I'm interested in this because I'd like to consume salt with impunity, and I'm willing to track my blood pressure regularly, so if blood pressure is the whole story then I can just adjust my salt intake later if I find a problem. But if salt is dangerous in ways that I won't be tracking then that's probably not a good plan.

2

I think you are onto something. In the past few years, there have been much research that questions or contradicts the supposedly well-established concensus that we should eat less than 2.3 grams of sodium (included in table salt) per day and preferably even less (1.5 grams per day). There are several excellent NYT articles on the subject including Study Linking Illness and Salt Leaves Reserachers Doubtful and No Benefit Seen in Sharp Limits on Salt in Diet. Thus, based on those mentioned studies within the NYT articles you can probably feel comfortable taking in more sodium (included in table salt) than the standard recommendations. One of the NYT articles mentioned that review of extensive research indicated that the most favorable health outcomes were associated with sodium intake ranging from 2.645 to 4.945 grams per day. That's about twice the recommended range mentioned above.

However, independent of high blood pressure alone, sodium/salt does play a role in kidney health. The following study has some information on this issue Salt Intake and Kidney Disease. If you belong to a "salt-sensitive" demographic group (defined in the study as "elderly, obese, diabetic or black patients") you may have to watch out your salt intake somewhat more carefully. Otherwise, you may be just fine intaking sodium/salt within the mentioned range by the NYT article.

  • 2
    I sure would like your otherwise good answer more if the links weren't to the NY Times. Those links are very likely to become available only to paid subscribers sometime in the (near) future. Finding the original research or at least quoting the relevant parts would be a big improvement. – Carey Gregory Nov 9 '15 at 6:56
  • Thanks for that, Gaetan. On the basis of those studies and the ongoing controversy, I would say we can't rule out a direct link between heart disease and salt consumption, but also that the link is not well established as existing independent of blood pressure. So there's an argument that monitoring blood pressure is enough for now. Good news. – mgnb Nov 13 '15 at 1:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.