Sodium could be silently wrecking your health
Study: Even when blood pressure reads normal, widespread damage may be occurring
BY VICKI HACKMAN
Hammer tip: Avoid the multiple health hazards and poor athletic performance associated with excess sodium. Limit dietary sodium intake to 2,300 mg daily, and replenish electrolytes with sodium-smart, full spectrum Endurolytes. Read new research on the health effects of excess sodium below.
If you can't seem to shake the salt habit but feel safe because your blood pressure is normal, this news should give you pause. According to a new report, your daily dose of salty snacks, packaged convenience foods, and cured meats could be wrecking your health without causing any external warning sign.
The insidious effects of excess dietary sodium on the body's internal organs have been revealed in the recent paper "Dietary Sodium and Health: more than just blood pressure," published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Authored by faculty members of the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences and physicians at Christiana Care Health Systems, the article points to evidence of adverse effects on multiple organs, including the blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and brain - even when blood pressure remains normal. The researchers cite more than 100 studies to support their conclusions:
- Blood vessels: Potential effects include reduced function of endothelial cells (those that form the lining of the blood vessels), which are involved in coagulation, platelet adhesion, and immune function. According to the researchers, in studies of both animals and humans, high sodium intake reduced endothelial function and increased arterial stiffness independent of blood pressure.
- Heart: The researchers cite studies showing that high dietary sodium intake can lead to enlargement of the muscle tissue that makes up the heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle) even among those with normal blood pressure. Among a group of people who had only mildly elevated blood pressure, those who excreted the most sodium showed greater enlargement.
- Kidneys: Although "there are a limited number of studies of subjects without kidney disease ... evidence suggests that high sodium is associated with reduced renal function." One animal study showed a decline in renal function with only a minimal increase in blood pressure.
- Brain/nervous system: Chronically elevated dietary sodium may sensitize sympathetic neurons and increase response to a variety of stimuli. Even without increased blood pressure, "chronically increased sympathetic outflow may have deleterious target organ effects," say the researchers.
Limit your sodium intake
The average American consumes more than 3,200 mg of sodium per day, far more than necessary. The American Heart Association (and Hammer Nutrition) recommends limiting daily dietary sodium intake to 2,300 mg maximum. Here are some of the most effective ways to control sodium intake:
- Avoid processed foods. About 70% of dietary sodium comes from processed and prepared foods, including breads, cheeses, processed meats, and sauces. When you do buy packaged foods, check the label for sodium content.
- Don't add salt at the dinner table. If you must, use a low/no- sodium salt substitute, or enhance flavor with spices, herbs, vinegar, or lemon juice.
- When replenishing electrolytes during exercise, choose Endurolytes. Endurolytes capsules and Endurolytes Fizz contain a full spectrum of minerals, not just sodium and chloride. Endurolytes contains sodium in levels that will not overwhelm your body's natural ability to regulate this vital mineral. HN
Reference: Farquhar, William B.; Edwards, David G.; Jurkovitz, Claudine T.; Weintraub, William S. Dietary sodium and health: more than just blood pressure. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2015; 65(10):1042-1050.