Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lower Your Salt Intake? No Way!

For years, I have been lecturing and writing about the nonsensical argument the conventional powers-that-be claim that lowering salt in the diet will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. The data has never been shown that lowering salt intake to ridiculously low levels of 1,500mg/day will reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact, many studies show that lowering your salt intake to these levels will cause more heart attacks and mortality. Furthermore, low salt diets will lead to elevated insulin levels. Finally, low salt diets do not significantly lower blood pressure. More information about this can be found in my book, Salt Your Way To Health.

A recent study in JAMA (November 23/30, 2011-Vol. 306, No. 20) looked at the association between sodium excretion and cardiovascular events in patients with established cardiovascular events or diabetes. The authors studied nearly 29,000 adults and found cardiovascular death was increased among those with the lowest and the highest sodium excretion.

Sodium excretion is tied to how much sodium (or salt) is ingested. The more salt that is ingested the more sodium that is excreted in the urine. The reverse is true also; the less sodium ingested, the less sodium excreted. A crude estimate can be made that the amount of sodium ingested is equal to the amount of sodium excreted (as long as someone is not sodium deficient).

We have been told we are ingesting too much salt. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) states, “Americans consume unhealthy amounts of sodium in their food, far exceeding public health recommendations. Consuming too much sodium is a concern for all individuals, as it increases the risk for high blood pressure, a serious health condition that is avoidable and can lead to a variety of diseases. Analysts estimate that population-wide reductions in sodium could prevent more than 100,000 deaths annually.”

The IOM claims that Americans ingest more than 3,400mg of sodium per day which is about 1.5 tsp of salt per day. They claim that we should ingest no more than 1 tsp/day or 2,300mg/day. For those with hypertension, experts recommend less—about 1,500mg/day of sodium.

The recent JAMA (November 23/30, 2011) study found the lowest rate of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular death, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure and non- cardiovascular death occurred when the sodium intake was 4-6,000mg/day. Lower and higher intakes were found to increase a compositd of all the outcomes studied (in a near linear fashion). You read that right; lower and higher salt intakes were all associated with worse outcomes.

In my book, I wrote about the dangers of a low-salt diet. Salt is a vitally important nutrient for the human body. We cannot live without adequate amounts of salt. Don’t believe the low-salt nonsense. However, you should educate yourself about which type of salt is a healthy salt.
The healthiest salt is unrefined salt with its full complement of minerals. Celtic Brand Sea Salt, Redmond’s Real Salt and Himalayan salt are all good brands of unrefined salt.

There are medical conditions where the body does not tolerate large amounts of salt. This can occur with those suffering from kidney failure or congestive heart failure. If you have these illnesses, please discuss your salt intake with your doctor.


  • At February 9, 2012 at 7:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    After reading your book on Salt. I googled "salt vertigo" and found a blog discussing salt. A woman had vertigo for years, she would move her head and vomit. Sounded like me. She said she started taking water with sea salt as recommended by a Holistic Doctor. Her vertigo stopped. I immediately put sea salt in water and drank it. Usually, the vertigo hits me on laying down in bed. For the first time in several years, no vertigo. The salt water has kept me vertigo free for 2 months now.


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