A research study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session showed that excess reduction in the intake of sodium levels in our diet could increase the risk of death and heart disease. Cutting sodium intake below the standard recommended level which is 2.3 grams per day is not beneficial at all.
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How does excess sodium increase the chances of heart failure?
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a sodium intake of 2.3 grams or less, i.e. one tablespoon of table salt per day for an adult. But the average American consumes more than 3.4 grams of sodium per day. This has led to recommendations limiting sodium intake that are blindly followed by people without taking into consideration their own health needs . Research findings have now shown that cutting sodium intake below the level of what is recommended does not bring any additional health benefits. Instead, it might increase the risk of heart failure. In this condition, the heart muscles become very weak or inflexible to pump blood in the body, a problem that is prevailing in almost six million adults in the U.S, said Anirudh Palicherla, MD, an internal medicine resident at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. He clarified that if sodium intake is lesser than what they have suggested, it will not show any better results.
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What has the study revealed?
The study was performed using a method known as Randomized Controlled trials (RCT), in which participants are assigned randomly to an experimental group. These participants were assessed based on the data about their sodium consumption as well details of hospitalization and heart failure. The study included data on 3,500 heart failures collected from nine such trials that were conducted between 2008 and 2022. The data was analyzed to find that people with an intake of sodium, less than 2.5 grams per day, were 80 percent more likely to die than those who were consuming 2.5 grams or more. The debate on how much sodium should be cut out to reduce heart failure is still ongoing. The study shows that we still need to figure out how much sodium intake is safe rather than restricting it completely. Experts recommend some ways to curb sodium intake by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned, packed food like sauces or boxed food which often contain high levels of sodium. Always reading the nutritional information and food labels to check the sodium levels before consuming them is beneficial.
The study is published by the American College of Cardiology