Holding the Salt Could Save Your Life
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- According to new research, less sodium in the U.S. diet could save 280,000 to 500,000 lives over ten years.
Using computer simulations and models, researchers found that a gradual reduction in sodium consumption by 40 percent to about 2,200 mg/day over ten years is projected to save hundreds of thousands of lives – between 280,000 and 500,000 depending on the modeled assumptions.
Three research groups contributed to the study, each using a different approach for their simulation. One approach used observational cardiovascular outcome follow-up data, while the other two based their projections on established evidence that salt reduction lowers blood pressure. These two groups inferred the cardiovascular effects of reducing sodium from data about the relationship of blood pressure to cardiovascular disease.
"The research groups used the same target populations and baseline death rates for each projection, and our study found that the different sources of evidence for the cardiovascular effects of sodium led to similar projected outcomes," said Pamela Coxson, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a mathematics specialist in the department of medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).
"It is helpful when three research groups use different approaches and come up with similar results," said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D, M.D., senior author of the study and associate professor of medicine at UCSF and director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations.
The three approaches included a gradual reduction of sodium by 40 percent; instant reduction of sodium by 40 percent or instant reduction of sodium to no more than 1500 mg/day. According to the researchers, only the first scenario — gradual population-wide reduction of sodium by 40 percent over ten years — is a potentially achievable public health goal.
"These findings strengthen our understanding that sodium reduction is beneficial to people at all ages," Coxson said. "Even small, gradual reductions in sodium intake would result in substantial mortality benefits across the population."
SOURCE: American Heart Association Journal Hypertension, February, 2013