Persons who are hypertensive are often advised a low salt diet. Cutting down sodium consumption is often recommended in persons above 40 since it increases blood pressure and cardiovascular risk. A recent study has revealed that persons who are eating less salt may be hurting their heart. The study has generated intense controversy.
The results of the study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It found as expected, the link between heart complication and high levels of Sodium in the blood. However it was also revealed that persons who had very low levels of Sodium in their blood measured by the amount of Sodium in their urine are also equally at risk a 27 percent increased chance of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular causes.
Salim Yusuf, senior author of the paper and director of the Population Health Research Institute in Ontario said, “There is a sweet spot for what the optimum sodium intake is. The message is very simple: . . . Avoid high and low levels.”
Researchers were able to calculate the healthy range of Sodium intake and it is heartening to note that 75% of the Americans were in the healthy zone. However the point of interest is the national recommendation from the centers for Disease control and Prevention and so also the American Heart Association for sodium intake happens to be in the lower area where the cardiovascular risks are considerably higher. Very low sodium levels in the blood could be harmful.
The findings also adds credence to a report which was released by Institute of Medicine that found U.S. dietary recommendations to reduce sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day for some people is not scientifically proven.
On the other hand, President of American Heart Association said that there are flaws in Yusuf’s study and has cast doubts on the study. AHA continues its efforts to encourage people to cut salt consumption.