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Unbalanced salt intake is injurious to health

Too much salt is unhealthy – most people know that. But at what point the salt intake can actually be harmful to health is controversial.

Salt intake Most people take too much salt, namely between three and six grams per day. This matches to 7.5 to 15.0 grams of sodium chloride. Not more than three grams of sodium per day currently recommended. But this rule is complied only with four percent of the world population. Now researchers have calculated that 1.6 million people die annually from the effects of excessive sodium intake.

The study, which has now been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has studied the samples of morning urine from more than 100,000 people from 18 countries and has used the results to calculate the daily consumption of sodium and potassium.

Risk increases with increased salt intake.

As have shown earlier studies, high sodium level and thus a high salt intake leads to increased of blood pressure. The systolic blood pressure is increased by 2.11 mmHg and the diastolic at 0.78 mmHg.  However, this increase is nonlinear. With each five grams of sodium systolic blood pressure increases on 2.58 mm Hg.

The age and hypertension affect the blood pressure response at increased of salt intake. For over-55s more likely rise of the blood pressure at high salt intake than in younger people, and also they more exposed to hypertension than people whose blood pressure is within normal limits.

As the scientists showed, high intake of potassium may have a protective effect. Because high sodium intake increase blood pressure in the subjects, if their diet was poorly equipped by potassium. In addition to salt restriction, potassium-rich diet could play a protective role. The number of cardiovascular diseases and probability of death rises not only if the urinary sodium level was high, but when potassium level was low.

Small amount of salt could lead to damages.

Another result of the study surprised the researchers: seem that not just too much salt could hurt – even in people with too low consumption of salt can occur problems with blood pressure and increased risk of death. Thus, persons which consume less than three grams of sodium a day, exposed to the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Thу result of study contradicts to recommendations. The restriction of sodium intake ( about 2.5 to 1.5 grams per day) had led to a significant drop in blood pressure. But reduces of the risk of cardiovascular disease has not been studied in this research.