Sodium no longer needs to hide in the corner:
A 16-year wide-ranging study contradicts age-old guidelines of sodium intake for Americans (1).
It is not often that we get to see a long-established scientific consensus turned upside down due to a divisive and comprehensive study.
Concluded by the Boston University School of Medicine and presented by Professor Lynn L. Moore, DSc at the 2017 Experimental Biology Meeting in Chicago, IL: Over a 16-year period 2600 men and woman were monitored to see if consuming less sodium would lower blood pressure. The findings call into question the sodium limits recommended by the Current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Attached Graph: 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.
Current guidelines recommend limiting sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams a day for healthy people—with the FDA intent on lowering it further. However, during the study it was found that healthy adults consuming less than 2,500 milligrams of sodium a day had higher blood pressure than participants who consumed higher amounts of sodium.
"We saw no evidence that a diet lower in sodium had any long-term beneficial effects on blood pressure," said Moore. "Our findings add to growing evidence that current recommendations for sodium intake may be misguided."
These are huge findings in support of a greater sodium intake for Americans. These findings also are in tandem with several other recent studies with supporting results.
Any study like this with findings that contradict a dogmatic thought, is likely to be discouraged by the status quo. However, it is studies like this that help push the needle in the right direction in informing Americans on what is truly safe to consume (2). It looks like the tide is starting to turn in favor of increased sodium intake balanced properly with other important minerals.
Does this mean you should pour the salt on everything you eat? Though there is plenty of evidence to support an increased sodium intake there are a number of factors to consider before deciding how much salt should be added to your diet:
- Are you a migraineur? Migraineurs require more sodium: Read more about this here
- How active are you? Activity level plays a huge role how much sodium the body uses. The more active a person is the more sodium they need to consume to supplement their dynamic lifestyle.
- Are you healthy enough to make changes to your diet? Always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet
It is not often that a controversial subject makes such splash and so much progress in such a short time. The future will likely still be an uphill battle for those in support of a higher sodium diet. It is not certain if the FDA Guidelines will reflect this change anytime soon but what is for certain that the subject of sodium intake will continue to be grounds for some very colorful conversations between dietitians, scientists, and fitness gurus alike.
- Moore LL, Singer MR, & Bradlee ML (2017) Low Sodium Intakes are Not Associated with Lower Blood Pressure Levels among Framingham Offspring Study Adults. The FASEB Journal 31(1 Supplement):446.446. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170425124909.htm)
- Mente A, et al. (2016) Associations of urinary sodium excretion with cardiovascular events in individuals with and without hypertension: a pooled analysis of data from four studies. The Lancet 388(10043):465-475. (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)30467-6/fulltext)
- Graph Image Credit: Lynn L. Moore, Boston University School of Medicine