Low Salt Diets Can Send You to an Early Grave

Dec 5, 2015
Disease Protocols
4 0

Pro-establishment with its condescending tone, says to cut your salt-intake, well not in my lifetime! Maybe there’s something missing from their advice–yes they are missing the big picture. The sodium in salt is an essential element, just like magnesium, potassium, iodine, and zinc. We cannot exist without it. It is only in the past few decades that many dietitians and physicians seem to have forgotten that adequate salt is needed to maintain normal blood pressure and the transport of bodily fluids, proper heart muscle function, the production of energy, and skin hydration. As a matter of fact, the most recent evidence demonstrates that lowered salt intake results in a higher rate of cardiovascular disease and death.

Heart Disease

 A group of researchers, headed by Dr. Jan Staessen of the University of Leuven in Belgium, studied 3,681 people with no signs of high blood pressure or heart disease. [1]

In the 8 years following the study’s inception, there were 500% more deaths among the people who consumed the least amount of salt. The following chart shows the amount of deaths in each of the low, medium, and high salt groups (higher excretion = higher intake):


Salt Intake as it Corresponds to Heart Attacks
The study concluded that: In this population-based cohort, systolic blood pressure, but not diastolic pressure, changes over time aligned with change in sodium excretion, but this association did not translate into a higher risk of hypertension or CVD (cardiovascular disease) complications. Lower sodium excretion was associated with higher CVD mortality. What’s apparently happening here is that a low salt diet induces the activation of the renin–angiotensin system, which increases production of a very destructive free radical called superoxide through the enzyme NADPH oxidase (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-oxidase). NADPH oxidase in turn, reduces the bioavailability of the important blood vessel dilator, nitric oxide (NO) in the heart. [2], [3]

Essentially this mechanism causes the heart to be deprived of oxygen, leading to respiration failure, one cause of heart attacks. Other studies have also linked low salt intake to organ damage caused by low blood sodium (hyponatremia). Salt intake is particularly important during the hot summer months because we can lose quite a bit through perspiration. In fact, adequate salt intake might save your life, as the likelihood of getting heat stroke, along with the subsequent effects, are exacerbated by low blood sodium.

Blood Pressure
Salt restriction does not lower blood pressure significantly. This may come as a shock to many people but numerous studies have demonstrated this very point. A 2003 study out of Glasgow revealed the unimpressive results of long term salt restriction, showing an average drop in systolic pressure by 1.1 mmHg and an average drop in diastolic pressure by 0.6 mmHg. [4]

If you think that sounds low, you’re correct; in fact, it’s totally insignificant.

So here we have experts telling us to lower our salt intake in order to reduce blood pressure, while the evidence shows that lowered salt intake does not significantly lower blood pressure, blood pressure does not cause heart attacks (article), and those who consume low salt diets are more likely to have a heart attack! Along those lines, not only does salt restriction do nothing for blood pressure, it can increase the incidence of insulin resistance, a metabolic disorder that results in fatigue and diabetes. Moreover, adequate sodium intake significantly improves insulin function. [5] Diabetics should take note of this point as their glucose metabolism may improve when proper amount of sodium is consumed.

How Much Salt Do We Need?
About one teaspoon or more of salt per day is necessary to survive. How much more depends on the climate and your current level of perspiration, but the important takeaway is to eat the amount of salt your body craves and not restrict intake. Take note that there are much better forms of salt than common table salt. Unrefined Celtic Sea Salt provides a number of trace minerals and Wright Salt has been shown to reduce death from stroke and heart disease in Finland.


[1] JAMA 11;305(17):1777–1785.
[2] Circ Res. 2010 Feb 19;106(3):593-600.
[3] Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2010 Nov;299(5):H1476-83.
[4] J Eval Clin Pract 03;9(1):1–22
[5] Am J Hypertens 01;14(7 Pt 1):653–659

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