High Blood Pressure? Salt Might Not Be To Blame

Once thought to be the major culprit in hypertension diagnoses, salt may be getting a reprieve thanks to a recent study completed by Boston University School of Medicine.

Study Sheds Light on Sodium's Effects

Lynn Moore, a researcher and associate professor of medicine at the Massachusetts university, recently dove into the connection between sodium and hypertension. Moore and her team analyzed 2,632 men and women in the age ranges of 30 to 64 years. These men and women were participants in the Framingham Offspring Study, a spin-off from the Framingham Heart Study.

According to the study, each participant began the trial with normal blood pressure.

The follow-up period of the study lasted for 16 years. During this period, the participants consumed less than 2,500 milligrams of sodium daily and actually had higher blood pressure than those who consumed over the Dietary Guidelines intake of 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

Moore's findings were contradictory to what the industry would have expected.

"While we expected dietary sodium intake to be positively associated with both SBP [systolic blood pressure] and DBP [diastolic blood pressure], the opposite was found," read the study, which was presented to attendees of the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting in Chicago, Illinois earlier this year.

"We saw no evidence that a diet lower in sodium had any long-term beneficial effects on blood pressure. Our findings add to growing evidence that current recommendations for sodium intake may be misguided," explained Moore.

Moderation Is Key

Similar studies have been conducted across the globe in recent years, as researchers continue to question the initial beliefs regarding the concept. All of these studies continue to point toward the same finding: low-sodium diets and high-sodium diets both possess a higher risk of heart disease. Those who consume a moderate amount of sodium seem to carry the lowest risk of heart disease.

It is believed that the majority of Americans fit into this middle ground.

"We saw no evidence that a diet lower in sodium had any long-term beneficial effects on blood pressure. Our findings add to growing evidence that current recommendations for sodium intake may be misguided," explained Moore.