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High salt diet lowers heart disease risk

By dsorbello at Nov. 27, 2011, 1:26 a.m., 24333 hits

ANI | May 5, 2011, 02.39pm IST

Doctors have been telling us for long that too much salt is bad for our health.

However, the controversial results of an eight-year study by Belgium scientists have suggested that eating a diet high in salt is not only good for you, but could also reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack or a stroke.

“The study indicates that those who eat the least sodium – about one teaspoon a day – don't show any health advantage over those who eat the most,” reports the Daily Mail.

In fact, those with less salty diets actually had slightly higher death rates from heart disease.

The study, which followed 3,681 healthy European men and women aged 60 or younger, also found that above-average salt intake did not appear to increase the danger of developing high blood pressure.

Sodium was measured in the urine of those taking part, at the beginning and end of the study.

A little more than six per cent of the participants suffered a heart attack, a stroke or some other cardiovascular emergency during the eight years. About a third of these were fatal.

Those who consumed the least salt had a 56 per cent higher risk of death from a heart attack or stroke compared with those who consumed the most.

This was even after obesity, cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes and other risk factors were taken into account.

There were 50 deaths in the third of participants with the lowest salt consumption, 24 in the third with medium intake and just ten deaths in those with the highest salt levels.

Lead researcher Jan Staessen, head of the hypertension laboratory at the University of Leuven, in Belgium, said, “Our findings do not support a generalised reduction of salt intake in the population.”

The scientists, however, did not have a firm explanation for their results, but they reportedly speculated that low levels of salt in the body could cause more stress in the nervous system, decrease sensitivity to insulin and affect hormones that control blood pressure and sodium absorption.

The findings appear in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Posts [ 2 ] | Last post Nov. 27, 2011, 1:26 a.m.
#1 - May 10, 2011, 4:55 p.m.
personal training

These sort of findings seem to support the general thought that moderation in everything, seems to be the best middle ground. First eggs were “bad” for you, then found to be good; similarly butter, chocolate and now salt. If the body were treated more like an ecosystem that needs variety and balance, maybe we'll get more of these studies to outweigh popular myths about what is bad for health.

#2 - Nov. 27, 2011, 1:26 a.m.
Hans J. Kugler, PhD

You can't just look at sodium alone!
Na/K is an important part of the transport system in and out of the cell; also important for physical - sports - performance, and more.
Remember Gatorade - - mineral replacement after mineral losses due to high performance and sweating!
Look at any biochemistry textbook; Sodium (Na) and potassium (K) is always treated as a pair.
Remember several publications - around 1973 and earlier - that associated high sodium (salt) intake with high blood pressure? When I was at Roosevelt U. in Chicago, doing longevity studies with cancer-prone mice, we estimated sodium intakes and didn't find it to be especially high, but Na/K ratios were almost 100% off, with low potassium. Then it turned out that INCREASING potassium intake was a key in some people in bringing blood pressure down (and not lowering sodium, or salt intake).
A European diet consists much more of natural foods, including plenty of minerals. People are also more active, allowing for a higher caloric intake, and with this a higher mineral intake ( - - with balanced Na/K ratios).
A key in my new (e-)book is to fulfill minimums for optimum results for the basic health practices - - along Alabama U. prof. Cheraskins's (my long-time mentor) defining life-long health as a state of homeostasis. See my book and for more anti-aging facts.