Salt Institute Points to Dangers of Too Little Salt in JAMA Study

November 30, 2011

According to the study, there is a J-shaped curve in which too little or too much sodium excretion can increase risk of adverse cardiovascular events.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examining the effects of sodium and potassium levels on cardiovascular disease risk says there is a J-shaped curve in which too little or too much sodium excretion can increase risk of adverse cardiovascular events. The Salt Institute has commented on the study, saying that it is evidence that the low-sodium diet being promoted by the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans is dangerous.

The study examined data from 28,880 subjects in the ONTARGET and TRANSCEND trials that took place between November 2001 and March 2008. Researchers say that a sodium excretion of more than 7 g/day was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, while sodium excretion of less than 3 g/day was also associated with increased risk. Excretion levels between 4 to 5.99 g/day, however, did not show increased risk.

By contrast, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a daily sodium intake of only 1500 to 2300 mg/day.

Commenting on the study, Salt Institute president Lori Roman stated, “I find it incredible that at the very time that the overwhelming mass of evidence is cautioning us against population-wide salt reduction, the government is moving full-steam ahead with this risky experiment on its citizens.”