Study calls salt intake guidelines into question

For years doctors have told us that too much salt is bad for the heart – however new research by the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University and the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster and Hamilton Health Sciences suggests that both high and low levels of sodium intake can increase risk of cardiovascular complications for people with heart disease and diabetes.

For the study, researchers took morning fasting urine samples from 28,880 people who are clinically at a greater risk of heart disease. From the samples they estimated the 24-hour sodium and potassium excretion levels in the body, and how these were associated with the cardiovascular events that followed. There were 4,500 cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, hospitalisation for congestive heart failure and death.

Using extensive and careful statistical analytic methods, they found that sodium excretion levels of more than 7 grams a day was associated with an increased risk of all cardiovascular events, and excretion levels of less than 3 grams a day was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalisation for heart failure.

These findings call into question the current guidelines, which recommend less than 2.3 grams a day.

Source: McMaster University


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first Published November 2011

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