New study casts further doubt on risk of death from higher salt intake

May 15, 2008

Contrary to long-held assumptions, high-salt diets may not increase the risk of death, according to investigators from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. They reached their conclusion after examining dietary intake among a nationally representative sample of adults in the U.S. The Einstein researchers actually observed a significantly increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) associated with lower sodium diets. They report their findings in the advance online edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The researchers analyzed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), which was conducted by the federal government among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. These data were then compared against death records that had been collected by the government through the year 2000. The sample of approximately 8,700 represented American adults who were over 30 years of age at the time of the baseline survey (1988-1994) and were not on a special low-salt diet.

After adjusting for known CVD risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes and blood pressure, the one-fourth of the sample who reported consuming the lowest amount of sodium were found to be 80% more likely to die from CVD compared to the one-fourth of the sample consuming the highest level of sodium. The risk for death from any cause appeared 24% greater for those consuming lower salt, but this latter difference was not quite large enough to dismiss the role of chance.

“Our findings suggest that for the general adult population, higher sodium is very unlikely to be independently associated with higher risk of death from CVD or all other causes of death,” says Dr. Hillel W. Cohen, lead author of the study and associate professor of epidemiology and population health at Einstein.

Since the first NHANES survey in the early 1970s, data from NHANES have been used extensively to describe patterns of nutrition and health in the U.S. The results from this current study are consistent with findings reported previously from two earlier NHANES surveys. While the federal government currently repeats NHANES surveys every two years, NHANES III is the latest available survey that can be compared with later death records.

Since NHANES III was an observational study and not a clinical trial, no definite conclusions about cause and effect were possible, says Dr. Cohen. “However, our findings do again raise questions about the usefulness or evensafety of universal recommendations for lower salt diets for all individuals, regardless of their blood pressure status or other health characteristics,” he cautions.

Source: Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Explore further: Marijuana associated with three-fold risk of death from hypertension

Related Stories

Marijuana associated with three-fold risk of death from hypertension

August 9, 2017
Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Caffeine linked to lower risk of death in women with diabetes

September 13, 2017
Women with diabetes who regularly drink caffeinated coffee or tea may live longer than those who don't consume caffeine at all, according to new research being presented at this year's European Association for the Study of ...

Sedentary behavior increases risk of death for frail, inactive adults

August 21, 2017
Sedentary time, for example, time spent sitting, increases the risk of death for middle-aged and older people who are frail and inactive, but does not appear to increase the risk for nonfrail people who are inactive, according ...

Diabetes threatens kidneys, vision of millions of Americans

September 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Millions of Americans with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes are at risk for chronic kidney disease, and another 59,000 Americans, 40 and older, are at risk for diabetes-related blindness.

Meeting greater number of recommended cardiovascular health factors linked with lower risk of death

March 17, 2012
In a study that included a nationally representative sample of nearly 45,000 adults, participants who met more of seven recommended cardiovascular health behaviors or factors (such as not smoking, having normal cholesterol ...

Building muscle reduces incidence of premature death in older adults

March 14, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—New UCLA research suggests that the more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. The findings add to the growing evidence that overall body composition—and not the ...

Recommended for you

Engineered protein treatment found to reduce obesity in mice, rats and primates

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. report that an engineered version of a protein naturally found in the body caused test mice, rats and cynomolgus monkeys to lose weight. In their ...

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

October 19, 2017
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have become the first to keep human brain tissue alive outside the body for several weeks. The researchers, headed by Dr. Niklas Schwarz, Dr. Henner Koch and Dr. Thomas Wuttke at ...

Cancer drug found to offer promising results in treating sepsis in test mice

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A combined team of researchers from China and the U.S. has found that a drug commonly used to treat lung cancer in humans offers a degree of protection against sepsis in test mice. In their paper published ...

Tracing cell death pathway points to drug targets for brain damage, kidney injury, asthma

October 19, 2017
University of Pittsburgh scientists are unlocking the complexities of a recently discovered cell death process that plays a key role in health and disease, and new findings link their discovery to asthma, kidney injury and ...

Study reveals key molecular link in major cell growth pathway

October 19, 2017
A team of scientists led by Whitehead Institute has uncovered a surprising molecular link that connects how cells regulate growth with how they sense and make available the nutrients required for growth. Their work, which ...

Inflammation trains the skin to heal faster

October 18, 2017
Scars may fade, but the skin remembers. New research from The Rockefeller University reveals that wounds or other harmful, inflammation-provoking experiences impart long-lasting memories to stem cells residing in the skin, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.