For Immediate Release: June 21, 2018
Jorge Amselle: Jorge@saltinstitute.org
Park City, Utah—Four of the world’s top scientists on cardiovascular health outcomes gathered today for a frank discussion on salt and health. They concluded that there is a dire need for large randomized controlled trials on the impact of salt on health outcomes before any population wide sodium reduction recommendation can be made. Held today at the at the 2018 World Salt Symposium, the panel included Dr. Michael H. Alderman, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Andrew Mente PhD, MA, McMaster University, David A. McCarron, MD, FACP, FAHA, University of California, Davis, and Professor Jan A. Staessen, MD, PhD, University of Leuven.
Dr. Alderman, editor of the American Journal of Hypertension, said “Sodium consumption around the globe has a mean of about 3,600mg/day, and a range from 2,600 – 5,000mg/day. This mid-range describes about 90 percent of the world’s population. More than 30 studies, with more than 400,000 participants, have established a “U” or “J” shaped association of sodium intake to all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Optimal survival is realized by those whose intake is between 2,800 and 5,000mg/day. Specifically, there is no evidence of a superior health outcome at intakes less than 2,000mg/day compared with those in the usual range. It is likely that the increased risk associated with excessive intake may be limited to those with high blood pressure. The implications of these facts are clear. There is no scientific justification for any effort to modify either current general clinical practice, or population sodium diet.”
Dr. Mente and his team conducted the largest ever epidemiologic study of the impact of sodium intake on blood pressure, cardiovascular disease risk, and mortality in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study. “We found that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low-sodium intake is related to more heart attacks, strokes, and deaths compared to average intake,” he said. Dr, Mente’s research study included over 100,000 individuals from 18 low, middle and high-income countries on 5 continents.
Dr. McCarron’s research identified the dietary pattern effects, now called the DASH diet, on high blood pressure. “An array of studies have identified the adverse health consequences of inadequate of sodium which increases the risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. The evidence also demonstrates the futility of a national policy, like that of the UK, to reduce the food supply’s sodium content to lower the population’s intake. The brain will always win out over politics and misdirected policy,” he said.
Dr. Staessen leads the Research Unit Hypertension and Cardiovascular Epidemiology, KU Leuven Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Leuven, Belgium. He added, “The evidence relating blood pressure to salt intake does not translate into an increased risk of incident hypertension in people consuming a usual salt diet. Statistical modelling led to the belief that modest reductions in dietary salt intake could substantially reduce cardiovascular events and medical costs. Short-term intervention studies in human normotensive volunteers, or hypertensive patients, or even chimpanzees cannot be reasonably extrapolated to the long-term exposure of the general population to salt. Of US adults, only 9 percent currently consume less than 2,300 mg/day and just 0.6 percent have a sodium intake of less than 1,500 mg/day, rendering current sodium recommendations the most aggressive lifestyle intervention ever planned in the history of mankind.”
The Salt Institute is a North American based non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the many benefits of salt, particularly to ensure winter roadway safety, quality water and healthy nutrition.