Salt and hypertension: what do we know?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To evaluate the evidence for population-wide sodium restriction.

Recent findings

The recommendations for population-wide sodium restriction largely rely on one surrogate marker (blood pressure). However, recent evidence suggests that when looking beyond blood pressure (e.g. heart rate, aldosterone, renin, cholesterol, triglycerides, noradrenaline and adrenaline), the net effect of sodium restriction is likely harmful. Prospective studies support the notion that those consuming the lowest amounts of salt are at the highest risk of cardiovascular events and premature death.

Summary

There is no definitive proof that sodium restriction reduces cardiovascular events or death. It is time for the dietary guidelines to look at the totality of the evidence and reconsider the advice around population-wide sodium restriction.

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