Lowering your intake of a crucial mineral could lead to heart disease

How often are we told to watch our salt intake? It seems like one of the most common piece of health advice, but it seems if you take this too literally, you could be putting yourself at risk.

We all know high salt intake has been linked to greater risk for heart disease nut according to new research, low salt intake may be just as harmful.

Published in The Lancet, the study found that not getting enough salt, or sodium, may raise the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, compared with an average salt intake.

According to lead author Andrew Mente, of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Canada, and colleagues their results indicate only people with high blood pressure (hypertension) who have a high salt intake should reduce how much salt they consume.

The team analysed data of more than 130,000 individuals across 49 countries and looked at the sodium intake of participants and its correlation to the risk of heart disease and stroke among those with and without high blood pressure.

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The results spoke volumes: when compared with people who had an average salt intake, the rates of heart attack, stroke, and death were higher among those who had a low sodium intake, even if the person didn’t have high blood pressure.

Interestingly, low salt intake in the study was defined as an intake of less than 3,000 milligrams a day, which is above current recommendations.

Lead author Mente says “While our data highlights the importance of reducing high salt intake in people with hypertension, it does not support reducing salt intake to low levels.

“Our findings are important because they show that lowering sodium is best targeted at those with hypertension who also consume high sodium diets.

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“This study adds to our understanding of the relationship between salt intake and health, and questions the appropriateness of current guidelines that recommend low sodium intake in the entire population,” said study co-author Martin O’Donnell.

“An approach that recommends salt in moderation, particularly focused on those with hypertension, appears more in-line with current evidence”.

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