Possible deleterious hormonal changes associated with low-sodium diets

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Abstract

The average salt intake of people in Canada, the United States, and Europe is about 3,400 mg of sodium per day, which exceeds the recommended intake levels set by various health organizations. The World Health Organization recommends a worldwide reduction of sodium intake to less than 2,000 mg per day. Most research to date has focused on the negative effects of high-sodium intake; however, little information is available on the metabolic effects of low-sodium intakes. This review focuses on the hormonal changes associated with low-sodium diets, especially the hormones involved in metabolism and cardiovascular and renal function. Based largely on rodent studies, low-sodium diets have been associated with changes in glycemic control, energy metabolism, cardiovascular disease risk, cholesterol concentrations, inflammation, and functioning of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system. Overall, research has revealed mixed results regarding the impact of dietary sodium intake on various hormones. Further research is required to assess the effects of sodium reduction on hormones and their associated pathways in order to determine the likelihood of any unintended effects.

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