Reducing Salt May Not Lower Your Blood Pressure

| May 17, 2017

We have heard the same message for decades: “Too much salt can raise your blood pressure.” This mantra is repeated by NHS Choices, The British Heart Foundation, Diabetes Today and just about every other official source of dietary advice. But cutting down on salt probably won’t lower your blood pressure – and could even increase it.

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that consuming less sodium had absolutely no long-term beneficial effect on blood pressure.1 Current guidelines say that adults should eat no more than 2.4g of sodium per day, which equates to 6g of salt. But the new findings, from tracking more than 2,600 men and women for 16 years, showed that people who consumed less than 2.5g of sodium a day actually had higher blood pressure than those eating greater amounts.

Several recent studies have found what researchers call a U-shaped curve, showing how sodium and cardiovascular risks are linked. In other words, people with unusually low or high sodium intakes appear to be at greatest risk of heart disease. Those in the middle, with average intakes (but above the official guidelines), have the lowest risk.

Around 75 per cent of most people’s salt intake comes from processed foods, which also tend to be high in another white crystal – sugar. In a review article published three years ago, two progressive US doctors suggested that, instead of continuing to demonise salt, guidelines committees should shift their focus to industrially processed foods and added sugars, particularly fructose, as risk factors for hypertension and heart disease.2

In earlier blog posts, here and here, I list some of the ways you can keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, without the use of prescription drugs. These include foods, supplements, exercise and relaxation techniques.

On 26th May, Muslims all around the world will start observing the holy month of Ramadan, by fasting from sunrise to sunset. In my next blog post, I give some tips on how you can go about this safely if you have diabetes.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.

Sources:

1. Pellegrini S, Sordi V, Bolla AM et al. Duodenal mucosa of patients with type 1 diabetes shows distinctive inflammatory profile and microbiota. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 January 19 (Online ahead of print).

2. Acharya N, Penukonda S, Shcheglova T, Hagymasi AT, Basu S, Srivastava PK. Endocannabinoid system acts as a regulator of immune homeostasis in the gut. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2017 Apr 24 (Online ahead of print).

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