Does salt raise blood pressure?


What is salt

Salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl) is ubiquitous. It has been the most commonly used seasoning in virtually all human cultures. More imporatanly, salt is essential to the life of many highly evolved organisms. In particular, our central nevrous system depends on sodium ions to transmit signals. Every muscle movement requires sodium! Salt is also constantly removed from our bodies through urine and sweat. Replenishing it is necessary, but not nearly at the rate at which most people consume salt as a part of their daily diet.

Sodium intake recommendations for children

World Health Organization recently published a report calling for even lower sodium consumption. In particular, WHO addressed the various health risk linked to high sodium intake in children: blood pressure, blood lipids, catecholamine levels and other potential adverse effects. The entire document is a 50+ page PDF that is probably not really meant to be read by the general public. It cites supporting research and provides evidence for the suggested measures.

Is excessive sodium really bad for you?

Just found an article in Scientific American which summarizes recent research trends regarding salt consumption. The text is heavily biased against the understanding that excessive salt is bad for you: “a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure.