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mellowsong
05-04-11, 08:14 PM
As this comes from Medscape, I don't know how many of you can access the whole article but I'm posting enough here to give you an idea.

May 3, 2011 (Leuven, Belgium) — Controversial findings from a new European study question the need to try to curtail salt intake in populations around the world and refute computer-generated estimates of the lives and healthcare costs that would be saved by lowering sodium consumption [1]. Dr Katarzyna Stolarz-Skrzypek (University of Leuven, Belgium) and colleagues report their results in the May 4, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"What our study basically shows is that it might not be right to impose a general reduction on sodium intake," senior author Dr Jan A Staessen (University of Leuven, Belgium) told heartwire . "We are not negating previous studies, and I think sodium restriction is meaningful for patients who already have hypertension and perhaps for patients with heart failure, but there are very few arguments showing that reducing salt intake in the general population would result in substantial benefit."

Most contentious of all, the new study shows that lower sodium intake-- as measured by the "gold standard" of 24-hour sodium excretion--was associated with higher cardiovascular mortality. However, the study did find that there was a rise in systolic blood pressure of 1.71 mm Hg for each 100-mmol increment in sodium intake (p<0.001), an increase Staessen calls "very small," over 6.2 years of follow-up.

These findings are therefore "paradoxical" and unreliable, says long-term advocate of salt reduction Dr Graham MacGregor (Queen Mary University of London, UK), who has spearheaded a successful UK campaign to reduce the sodium content in foods. "They've shown that salt puts up blood pressure, and yet they then claim that salt relates inversely to events; well, that doesn't make sense," and there is no attempt to explain this, he says, illustrating "the bias of the authors, in my view. Everything else that has been shown to lower BP is beneficial in terms of heart attacks and strokes."

This is clever, but it's harmful in my view. It's like saying we don't think cigarettes are harmful so we shouldn't do anything about smoking.
In addition, this is a "badly written paper," and there are "severe methodological problems" with it, most notably with urine collection in the group that had the lowest salt intake, MacGregor notes, adding that "JAMA has published a lot of controversial papers about salt. I really don't think this is worth paying attention to. They are trying to create a stir. This is clever, but it's harmful in my view. It's like saying we don't think cigarettes are harmful so we shouldn't do anything about smoking," he adds.

"The overall evidence [in favor of salt reduction] is overwhelming," MacGregor asserts. "That isn't to say we wouldn't change our mind if we had really good evidence, but I don't think this is it. This will not divert us from reducing salt intake worldwide. At a high-level meeting of the World Health Organization, salt reduction has been recommended as the next thing after tobacco reduction because it's so cost-effective to implement and so easy to do."

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/742034

mellowsong
05-04-11, 08:17 PM
It angers me that they devote so much of the article to ONE naysayer. The evidence in favor of sodium reduction only applies to about 10% of the population which of course, is not mentioned anywhere. There is also no mention whatsoever of the importance of adequate potassium intake, especially in relation to sodium intake. Probably good findings with very poor reporting but I don't have access to the actual study.

Maurya
05-04-11, 08:58 PM
Mellowsong, would I be right in understanding that the ratio between sodium and potassium would be more important than the absolute amounts either of Na or of K?

mellowsong
05-05-11, 03:32 PM
Mellowsong, would I be right in understanding that the ratio between sodium and potassium would be more important than the absolute amounts either of Na or of K?

Yes. Let me try to keep this as non-technical as possible, lol. This explanation is going to assume that the pituitary and kidneys are producing "normal" amounts of the hormones which help regulate fluid/electrolyte balance. When the hormones are off or kidneys diseased, it's a totally different ball game. The cells in the body trying to maintain homeostasis in regard to the fluid/electrolytes within. Water flows in and out of the cells depending on mostly the amount of sodium and potassium present. Both potassium and sodium have positive charges (cations). Sodium is the primary cation in fluid INSIDE cells, while potassium is the primary cation in fluid OUTSIDE of cells. The kidneys try to keep this ratio constant regardless of fluid, sodium or potassium intake. However, when excess sodium is present, especially in conjunction with deficient potassium, several things happen. Most importantly, fluid is pulled into the blood stream in an effort to dilute the sodium and normalize the sodium/potassium ratio. This increases blood volume, which in turn increases blood pressure. Then the kidneys try to excrete the sodium in the urine. Although the kidneys conserve potassium during this process, some potassium is lost in the urine. As the volume of fluid in the blood stream increases, fluid leaks out of the blood vessels into the tissues causing edema. All of this happens because the body is trying to maintain the ratio of sodium to potassium both inside and outside of the cells.

If the intake of both was proportionate, in the absence of kidney disease, homeostasis would be maintained. Basically the body needs about 2400mg of sodium per day while it needs about 4700mg (almost twice as much) potassium...close to a 1:2 ratio. The average American's diet supplies 3500 to 5000mg of sodium per day and only 2000 to 3000mg/day of potassium which turns the ratio upside down. I really hope this made some sense :)

Reesacat
05-05-11, 08:37 PM
Thank you Mellow-great explanation!

Eating 8-10 servings a day of fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to keep your potassium in balance with sodium.

Islander
05-05-11, 08:54 PM
Here's more:
Eating less salt doesn't cut heart risks: study
By Genevra Pittman
NEW YORK | Tue May 3, 2011

(Reuters Health) - People who ate lots of salt were not more likely to get high blood pressure, and were less likely to die of heart disease than those with a low salt intake, in a new European study.
The findings "certainly do not support the current recommendation to lower salt intake in the general population," study author Dr. Jan Staessen, of the University of Leuven in Belgium, told Reuters Health.

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/3dxkyc9

Reesacat
05-05-11, 09:48 PM
Ms. Pittman's article has a great quote:
"Dr. Hillel Cohen, an epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, told Reuters Health that when restaurants or food companies put less salt in their products, they may put in other potentially harmful products to make up for the lost taste, or as preservatives."

Look at the packages on low-salt/low fat foods-the ingredients list reads like a chemistry lab inventory.

Islander
05-05-11, 09:58 PM
I seldom shop for processed foods but I do occasionally read labels on BBQ sauce, ketchup, specialty cheeses. I'm now in the habit of bringing my reading glasses to the market!

Maurya
05-06-11, 09:28 AM
Thanks, Mellowsong. Great explanation, as always!

Islander
05-09-11, 08:59 PM
High Potassium-to-Sodium Ratio May Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Date:06 May 2011
Source:Nutrition Horizon
Summary:Consuming twice as much potassium as sodium can halve the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease according to a study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

5/6/2011 --- Americans are consuming too much sodium and not enough potassium according to clinical studies, including one by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology recently covered in Heart Insight. This imbalance is taking a toll in the form of higher rates of heart disease and stroke, the first and third most deadly diseases in the U.S., respectively, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Baobab, a superfruit new to North America, is a convenient way to boost dietary potassium.

The baobab superfruit naturally offers the highest overall concentration of this important mineral. While in the past doctors recommended bananas, sweet potatoes and tomato paste as sources of potassium, baobab offers even more of this nutrient – five times the amount of potassium per gram compared to bananas, according to Baobab Foods.

Multiple nationwide studies, such as one published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, have analyzed the risks of a high-sodium, low-potassium diet. The average American ingests just 2,600 mg of potassium a day versus the 4,700 mg recommended by the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. At the same time, Americans consume 4,000 mg or more of sodium daily, far higher than the suggested 2,300 mg recommended maximum. While healthy dietary guidelines proposed in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggest a 2-to-1 ratio of potassium to sodium, the actual average intake is nearly a 2-to-3 ratio. Excess sodium causes the body to retain fluids, raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of heart disease.

Consuming twice as much potassium as sodium can halve the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease according to a study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This study suggests that simply increasing potassium may mitigate the negative impacts of a high-sodium diet. Dr. Gregg Fonarow, professor of cardiology at UCLA and member of The American Heart Association, has stated, “Clinical trials have established that a diet high in potassium and low in sodium can significantly lower blood pressure.” In addition to lowering blood pressure, high potassium intake is believed to prevent thickening of artery walls, protecting against the development of vascular damage caused by excessive sodium intake.

Baobab is a raw, whole food which the FDA has recently granted GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status. Baobab Foods of Bellevue, Wash., is the exclusive importer of premium baobab from Afriplex of South Africa, marketing the pure Nutrition Powder and Nutrition Bars, both made with Baobest. The new superfruit was unveiled in the United Stated at the recent Natural Products Expo, where a Delicious Living Magazine editor named it as one of the conference’s “top five foods.”

http://tinyurl.com/6dyzy9a

Julieanne
05-23-11, 06:16 AM
Any discussion of salt intake always seems to focus on hypertension. I've never had high blood pressure, so haven't worried about my salt intake. But when I discovered I had severe osteoporosis I did a lot of reserch, and found salt contributes to this. Never see it mentioned though. Wish I had known this years ago.

Reesacat
05-23-11, 07:06 AM
I had never heard of heavy salt intake contributing to osteoporosis-could you tell us where you found that information? Wonder if they were talking about processed salt in processed food-that would set up mineral and nutritional imbalances that would affect bone.....

Undiagnosed gluten intolerance is a cause of osteoporois-also, weak teeth.

Aaltrude
05-23-11, 03:51 PM
I had never heard of heavy salt intake contributing to osteoporosis-could you tell us where you found that information? Wonder if they were talking about processed salt in processed food-that would set up mineral and nutritional imbalances that would affect bone.....

Undiagnosed gluten intolerance is a cause of osteoporois-also, weak teeth.
I had the same thoughts Reesacat.
The book "The Calcium Lie" by Robert hompson M.D. and Kathleen Barnes says for good bone health we need a balance of numerosus minerals and osteoporosis is a deficiency of minerals, not just calcium. The minerals necessary for good bone health are: Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Silica, Iron, Zinc, Selenium, Boron, Phosphorus, Sulfur, Chromium and traces of many other minerals. It also indicates we are making a big mistake by using processed salt which is straight sodium chloride, rather than unprocessed sea or rock salt which have a lot of the minerals our bodies need. They recommend Redmonds Real salt and Celtic Sea Salt as good healthy salts to include in our diets.
The reading I have been doing suggests that the epidemic of osteoporosis is more likely to be due to the excess of dairy products consumed in western culture. It is a disease that is almost non existant in cultures that consume no or very low levels of dairy.

Julieanne
05-24-11, 06:37 AM
Sorry Reesacat, it was a while ago. When I was told I had osteoporosis I just did massive searches for reasons and cures. Salt came up quite a lot. I do use sea salt, but only in the last few years. But I know I did a lot of other things wrong too, like smoking and drinking wine. I am now reaping the results of my sins!

I do read lots of stuff on the net, and I'm fairly good at sorting out what's what, but would like to know really reliable sites to find info. Any ideas?

Islander
05-24-11, 09:15 AM
I'm fairly good at sorting out what's what, but would like to know really reliable sites to find info. Any ideas?
I just did a site seach here on osteoporosis and came up with 4 pages of vague, misleading titles, which tells me that we all need to be more attentive to putting key words in that subject heading! From what I've read, I think Aaltrude summed up the mineral needs above, though I would put vitamin D and vitamin K2 at the top of the list; I've also heard strontium mentioned — but many of these are trace minerals. I've also read that dairy and calcium supplements are not good ideas, especially if you are getting sufficient calcium in your green leafies. Too much calcium can result in deposits in places where you would not want it, like joints or in kidney stones, IIRC. And you probably know that the phosphoric acid in soda pop leaches calcium from the bones.

Jon Barron usually has careful, well-balanced ideas on natural health without the shrill agenda so many advocates have. Check out the items on this page: http://www.jonbarron.org/search/node/osteoporosis. You might also try a mercola.com site search.

Julieanne
05-25-11, 06:07 AM
Islander, what I meant was good sites for any alternative medicine info. I feel I've researched osteoporosis to death, but will look at John Barron's site. I have been taking strontium for nearly two years. Not the one I could get cheaply from our health system (I'm on a pension ) that was absolutely loaded with Aspartame. How stupid is that? I'm an adult, I don't need a medication to be sickly sweet. My complaints to the company fell on deaf ears.

I am due for another scan in September, so will be interested to see if Vit K2, Vit D, magnesium etc, plus strontium, has really made a difference. Then again, I'll never know which one was most helpful!

Islander
05-25-11, 09:07 AM
Jon Barron has a bi-monthly letter with an in-depth article on health topics. Not long ago he did an entire series on the digestive system, almost like a class in med school. He (and his staff) are now doing daily health tips. If you look at his article in the Radiation forum you'll get an idea of his style. His site is searchable but you can also sign up for the letters direct to your in-box.

Maurya
05-25-11, 10:12 AM
One of my current favorites for on line health information has been Dr Jonny Bowden. Just to add another name to the list of recommendations. Some of these email "Doctors" have become so lame and repetitive that I have unsubscribed from their email address list.