Health effects of salt

SEM image of a grain of table salt

The health effects of salt are the conditions associated with the consumption of either too much or too little salt. Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl) and is used in food for both preservation and flavor. Sodium ions are needed in small quantities by most living things, as are chloride ions. Salt is involved in regulating the water content (fluid balance) of the body. The sodium ion itself is used for electrical signaling in the nervous system.[1]

In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that adults consume no more than 5 grams (0.18 oz) (just under a teaspoon) of salt per day, an amount providing about 2 grams (0.071 oz) of sodium per day.[2][3] The WHO further recommends that salt intake be adjusted for those aged 2 to 15 years old based on their energy requirements relative to those of adults.[2] High sodium consumption (5 g or more of salt per day) and insufficient potassium intake (less than 3.5 grams (0.12 oz) per day) have been linked to high blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.[4][5]

As an essential nutrient, sodium is involved in numerous cellular and organ functions. Several national health organizations recommend limiting sodium consumption to 2.3 g per day. However, some studies have found that sodium intake that is below 3 g per day (equivalent to about 7.5 g of salt) may increase risk for cardiovascular disease and early death.[4][6][7]

  1. ^ Caldwell, J. H.; Schaller, KL; Lasher, RS; Peles, E; Levinson, SR (2000). "Sodium channel Nav1.6 is localized at nodes of Ranvier, dendrites, and synapses". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 97 (10): 5616–5620. Bibcode:2000PNAS...97.5616C. doi:10.1073/pnas.090034797. PMC 25877. PMID 10779552.
  2. ^ a b "Salt reduction: fact sheet". World Health Organization. 29 April 2020. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Sodium: How to tame your salt habit". Mayo Clinic. 29 June 2019. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Too much and too little salt is associated with increased heart risks". CardioSmart, American College of Cardiology. 24 July 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference gc17 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ Mente, A; O'Donnell, M; Rangarajan, S; Dagenais, G; Lear, S; McQueen, M; Diaz, R; Avezum, A; Lopez-Jaramillo, P; Lanas, F; Li, W; Lu, Y; Yi, S; Rensheng, L; Iqbal, R; Mony, P; Yusuf, R; Yusoff, K; Szuba, A; Oguz, A; Rosengren, A; Bahonar, A; Yusufali, A; Schutte, A. E.; Chifamba, J; Mann, J. F.; Anand, S. S.; Teo, K; Yusuf, S; Pure, Epidream Ontarget/Transcend Investigators. (2016). "Associations of urinary sodium excretion with cardiovascular events in individuals with and without hypertension: A pooled analysis of data from four studies". The Lancet. 388 (10043): 465–75. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30467-6. hdl:10379/16625. PMID 27216139. S2CID 44581906.
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference graudal_2014 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

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