Salt could help, not hinder, heart problems, study shows

5th May 2011

Cutting down on salt may put the heart in danger, as opposed to reducing the risk of heart problems, new research has shown.

People who consume less salt are putting themselves at a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, US researchers said, after it was discovered that those with a low salt count were 56 per cent more likely to suffer these afflictions.

It was also found that people who consume an above average amount of salt were at no higher risk of developing heart problems, including high blood pressure and hypertension.

Doctors may have to make a massive U-turn in the advice offered to patients following the results of the study.

Lead researcher Jan Staessen said: "Our findings do not support a generalised reduction of salt intake in the population."

However, he added that people with high-blood pressure should still stick to a low-salt diet.

A 2007 study conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, America, showed that reducing the amount of salt consumed can reduce the risk of heart attack.

Posted by Philip Briggs

Staessen, Jan et al. "Fatal and Nonfatal Outcomes, Incidence of Hypertension, and Blood Pressure Changes in Relation to Urinary Sodium Excretion." Journal of the American Medical Association. April 2011.
Cook, Nancy et al. "Long term effects of dietary sodium reduction on cardiovascular disease outcomes: observational follow-up of the trials of hypertension prevention." British Medical Journal. 20th April 2007.

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