Low-sodium diet might not lower blood pressure

April 25, 2017, Experimental Biology 2017
This graph shows systolic blood pressure according to sodium intake among individuals not taking blood pressure lowering medication. Results were adjusted for sex, age, education, height, weight, physical activity, cigarettes per day and alcohol intake. Credit: Lynn L. Moore, Boston University School of Medicine

A new study that followed more than 2,600 men and women for 16 years found that consuming less sodium wasn't associated with lower blood pressure. The new findings call into question the sodium limits recommended by the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Lynn L. Moore, DSc, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, will present the new research at the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and annual meeting during the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting, to be held April 22-26 in Chicago.

"We saw no evidence that a diet lower in sodium had any long-term beneficial effects on blood ," said Moore. "Our findings add to growing evidence that current recommendations for sodium intake may be misguided."

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to 2,300 grams a day for healthy people. For the study, the researchers followed 2,632 men and women ages 30 to 64 years old who were part of the Framingham Offspring Study. The participants had at the study's start. However, over the next 16 years, the researchers found that the study participants who consumed less than 2500 milligrams of sodium a day had higher blood pressure than participants who consumed higher amounts of sodium.

This graph shows diastolic blood pressure according to sodium intake among individuals not taking blood pressure lowering medication. Results were adjusted for sex, age, education, height, weight, physical activity, cigarettes per day and alcohol intake. Credit: Lynn L. Moore, Boston University School of Medicine

Other large studies published in the past few years have found what researchers call a J-shaped relationship between sodium and cardiovascular risk—that means people with low-sodium diets (as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans) and people with a very high sodium intake (above the usual intake of the average American) had higher risks of heart disease. Those with the lowest risk had sodium intakes in the middle, which is the range consumed by most Americans.

"Our new results support these other studies that have questioned the wisdom of low dietary sodium intakes in the general population," said Moore.

The researchers also found that people in the study who had higher intakes of potassium, calcium and magnesium exhibited over the long term. In Framingham, people with higher combined intakes of sodium (3717 milligrams per day on average) and potassium (3211 milligrams per day on average on average) had the lowest blood pressure.

The graph shows systolic blood pressure according to the combined intakes of sodium and potassium among individuals not taking blood pressure lowering medication. Results were adjusted for sex, age, education, height, weight, physical activity, cigarettes per day and alcohol intake. Credit: Lynn L. Moore, Boston University School of Medicine

"This study and others point to the importance of higher potassium intakes, in particular, on pressure and probably cardiovascular outcomes as well," said Moore. "I hope that this research will help refocus the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans on the importance of increasing intakes of foods rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium for the purpose of maintaining a healthy ."

Moore says that there is likely a subset of people sensitive to salt who would benefit from lowering , but more research is needed to develop easier methods to screen for salt sensitivity and to determine appropriate guidelines for intakes of and potassium in this salt-sensitive group of people.

Explore further: Higher dietary potassium to sodium ratio can lower CVD risk

More information: Low Sodium Intakes are Not Associated with Lower Blood Pressure Levels among Framingham Offspring Study Adults, app.core-apps.com/eb2017/abstr … 3af8e0989e14822abae7

Related Stories

Higher dietary potassium to sodium ratio can lower CVD risk

February 28, 2017
(HealthDay)—Higher dietary potassium seems to be associated with reduced blood pressure, regardless of sodium intake, with the postulated mechanism involving the distal tubule sodium chloride cotransporter (NCC), according ...

Potassium improved blood pressure in teen girls, salt had no adverse effect

April 27, 2015
Eating 3,000 mg per day of salt or more appears to have no adverse effect on blood pressure in adolescent girls, while those girls who consumed 2,400 mg per day or more of potassium had lower blood pressure at the end of ...

Fruits and vegetables' latest superpower? Lowering blood pressure

April 5, 2017
Eating potassium-rich foods like sweet potatoes, avocados, spinach, beans, bananas—and even coffee—could be key to lowering blood pressure, according to Alicia McDonough, PhD, professor of cell and neurobiology at the ...

Most Americans consume too much sodium, not enough potassium

November 14, 2016
A majority of Americans consume too much sodium and not enough potassium, according to a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016.

Twenty-five food categories explain 70 percent of salt intake

April 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—For U.S. persons, 70 percent of dietary sodium comes from 25 food categories, with bread the top contributor, according to research published in the March 31 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and ...

High dietary sodium and potassium may worsen chronic kidney disease

September 17, 2015
High dietary intake of sodium and potassium may speed the progression of kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings could ...

Recommended for you

Accurate measurements of sodium intake confirm relationship with mortality

June 21, 2018
Eating foods high in salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure, but does that linear relationship extend to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death? Recent cohort studies have contested that relationship, ...

Fans of yoga therapy have yet to win over doctors

June 21, 2018
Yoga practitioners often tout the unique health benefits of the ancient discipline—from relieving stress and pain to improving vascular health—but most doctors remain sceptical in the absence of hard proof.

Fruit and vegetables linked to changes in skin colour, new research finds

June 21, 2018
Skin colour in young Caucasian men is strongly linked to high levels of fruit and vegetable consumption, new research by Curtin University has found.

What a pain: The iPad neck plagues women more

June 20, 2018
Is your iPad being a literal pain in the neck?

Medicaid work requirements and health savings accounts may impact people's coverage

June 20, 2018
Current experimental approaches in Medicaid programs—including requirements to pay premiums, contribute to health savings accounts, or to work—may lead to unintended consequences for patient coverage and access, such ...

Introduction of alcohol found to adversely impact fertility rates in hunter-gatherer community

June 19, 2018
Fernando Ramirez Rozzi, a research director with the French National Centre for Scientific Research has found that the introduction of alcohol to a Baka pygmy hunter-gatherer society caused fertility rates to fall. In his ...

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.