A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that a low dietary intake of sodium could, just like a high dietary sodium intake, lead to an increased incidence of major cardiovascular events,. The publication is the result of research performed at the McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.
Scientist Martin O’Donell and colleagues found that the chance of the occurrence of major cardiovascular events rises with 15% with high sodium intake (>7 grams per day) in comparison to the reference group with average sodium intake (4.00 – 5.99 grams per day). According to the results this chance also rises with 27% with low sodium intake (<3 grams per day).
As a possible explanation the authors suggest that low sodium levels in the blood can affect hormone levels that are associated with cardiovascular health.
There have been studies before on the association between low sodium intake and the effect it has on the incidence of major cardiovascular events. However, this study is the first with this size and composition of the study population: the results are based on 101,945 randomly selected subjects from 17 countries.
The sodium intake was estimated by measuring the sodium levels in urine samples. This is seen as a precise way to determine the sodium intake. After collection, the urine samples were frozen and transported to the central labs in Hamilton and Beijing.
Salt consists for approximately 40% of sodium. The average salt intake among the population worldwide lies between the 7 and 10 grams per day. Many dietary guidelines for people with bad cardiovascular heath currently recommend that this should be below 5 grams per day.