Hold the salt for a longer life? Why opting for other seasoning could add years to your lifespan


LONDON — Sprinkling salt substitutes on meals could add years to your life, according to new research. A global study found opting for a seasoning other than salt lowers the risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease or any cause by more than 10 percent.

They also reduce heart attacks and strokes by 11 percent. Consuming too much salt can lead to clotting, cutting off blood supply to major organs. Salt replacements taste just like the real thing and are widely available in supermarkets.

They also contain added potassium and less sodium, protecting against high blood pressure, according to the international team.

“The magnitude of the cardiovascular protection afforded is likely to be determined by the magnitude of the fall in blood pressure,” the study authors write in the journal Heart.

“Blood pressure-mediated beneficial effects of salt substitute on clinical outcomes appear likely to be accrued across a broad range of populations without adverse effects.”

“These findings are unlikely to reflect the play of chance and support the adoption of salt substitutes in clinical practice and public health policy as a strategy to reduce dietary sodium intake, increase dietary potassium intake, lower blood pressure and prevent major cardiovascular events,” the researchers add in a media release.

How helpful are salt substitutes for blood pressure?

The findings come from the results of 21 clinical trials involving nearly 30,000 people in Europe, the Western Pacific Region, the Americas, and South-East Asia. Salt substitutes lowered blood pressure among all participants.

Overall, systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) readings dropped by 4.61 and 1.61 mm/Hg, respectively. The former reflects the heart’s force when it pumps and the latter when it rests between beats. Major organs are vulnerable to stress if either blood pressure number is too high.

Each 10 percent lower proportion of sodium chloride displayed a connection to a 1.53 and 0.95 mm/Hg greater fall in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively. Nearly half of all U.S. adults have hypertension, according to the CDC.

Estimates show that around a third of all cases are undiagnosed, with health officials calling it the “silent killer” — as there are few symptoms.

“Excess dietary sodium and insufficient dietary potassium are both well-established causes of high blood pressure,” the team writes. “Randomized trials demonstrate that reduced dietary sodium consumption or potassium supplementation lowers blood pressure.”

“Sodium-reduced, potassium-enriched salt substitutes, in which a proportion of the sodium chloride (NaCl) in regular salt is replaced with potassium chloride (KCl), combine these blood pressure-lowering effects.”

What makes seasoning healthy?

The reductions in blood pressure among people using salt substitutes were consistent irrespective of geography, age, sex, history of high blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and baseline levels of blood pressure, urinary sodium, and potassium. There was no evidence that higher dietary potassium levels led to any harmful effects on health.

Standard table sea or rock salt is virtually 100-percent sodium chloride. In substitutes like LoSalt, up to two-thirds of the sodium is replaced by potassium. The salty tasting mineral is lacking in many people’s diets.

However, the body needs this mineral for healthy muscles and nerves, and for normal blood pressure. Studies have previously linked the supplements to lower blood pressure. A quarter-teaspoon serving of Lo Salt contains 450mg potassium, 23 percent of an adult’s daily required amount.

Western diets are high in processed food that already contain high levels of salt, a habit which has prompted calls for the food industry to switch to low-sodium salt as well.

“Since blood pressure lowering is the mechanism by which salt substitutes confer their cardiovascular protection, the observed consistent blood pressure reductions make a strong case for generalizability of the cardiovascular protective effect observed in the SSaSS both outside of China and beyond,” researchers conclude.

South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report.

Comments

  1. This article is seriously flawed. Salt is not the problem. High blood pressure is the problem. If you don’t have high blood pressure then reducing salt intake is pointless and will change nothing.

    1. Yes, single-factor studies of general populations where other variables are not controlled for are questionable. They do make easier-to-digest “news bites” though.

      I have followed this debate since reading Dr. Andrew Weil’s books in the 80s. He counseled a “whole foods” approach that would tend to normalize your minerals across the board. Also somewhat dated now is a book by another MD called the “K-Factor Diet” in which he argues that simply making sure you are eating adequate potassium-rich foods (like fresh fruits) would normalize blood pressure. But other MDs have got people afraid to eat fruit because of the sugar! (The sugar in whole fruits metabolizes more slowly than refined sugar in processed foods and soft drinks).

      The “fast food” type diets are also too low in magnesium, that’s in all the “green” foods. Eat magnesium and potassium-rich foods and you can stop worrying about sodium.

    2. If salt is really the problem you won’t be able to eat anything.
      A can of soup has enough salt to stroke out a marathon runner and any advertised reduced fat or reduced sugar means more salt.

  2. Any excess salt intake is expelled in 95% of the population (up to a point). High blood pressure has many causes, salt intake is not one of them, except in that 5% group. Now as to “salt substitutes”, they use potassium, and it has a very bitter back taste that most people dislike, a lot!

    So, you are never going to convince them to use a salt substitute.

  3. There have been several studies that show it is not the salt that is the problem it is the lack of potassium with the salt.
    When potassium was increased to required levels there was no elevation of BP. It also has to be proportionate to the salt level.

  4. Living a long bland tasteless life is no way to live. The reality is science needs to start working for the people and not the corporations. they need to focus on solving issues not recurring revenue.

  5. Yet another explanation for all the vaccinated people suffering heart attacks and strokes. SADS (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome) due to too much salty food. Definitely not the experimental vax we all took.

    1. The approved COVID-19 vaccines do NOT cause heart attacks, strokes, or other dire side effects, so what you said is very misleading. The only remaining questions are, (1) Are you in the pay of a foreign power? (2) If not, where do you get this dangerous fecal contamination?

      1. John Malcolm…sponsored by Pfizer.

        Do you enjoy lying? Are you paid to do it? Denying the increasing number of “vaccine”-injured folks’ ailments is only possible from a sick mind and/or corrupt heart.

  6. This was not a study, per se, but analysis of previous studies. From the document:

    “Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Library up to 31 August 2021. Parallel group, step-wedge or cluster randomised controlled trials reporting the effect of salt substitute on blood pressure or clinical outcomes were included. Meta-analyses and metaregressions were used to define the consistency of findings across trials, geographies and patient groups.”

  7. Agreed with other users. Salt is not necessarily the problem. If you are prone to high blood pressure, reducing salt intake could make a difference. If not, reducing salt probably wont do much. And the bigger issue at hand is really just excessive food in general. People who eat an unhealthy diet with huge portions tend to consume multiples of the recommended salt intake. Overall diet is a bigger risk.

    1. I use NoSalt (all potassium, or K+) It is much healthier than BP meds; I actually started taking it b/c diurectics deplete K+(Na+ follows K+ out of the kidneys)-these meds can cause diabetes. Don’t let them scare you-my dr likes my chemistry panels better now!

  8. This is a repeat of what they did with sugar and fat. They paid a scientist to say fat was the “devil” and sugar made you skinny!

    Cue the decades of butter substitutes and sugar filled garbage and men dying of heart disease through the rough.
    We have fake oils (soy, canola, veggie and so on) to blame for infertility and hormonal imbalances.
    Don’t eat meat they said, Eat soy! And deplete your body of amino acids and omega 3’s so you can get Alzheimer’s, dementia, and struggle with suicidal depression and anxiety.
    Take your tongue and feel those canines in your mouth? We’re not cows, were made to eat them (take it from a former vegetarian who nearly lost her teeth and her life over it)
    Now they say, oh, sugar isn’t the problem, it’s salt!
    Watch how we kill more people due to greed.
    Sugar is cheap and addictive, it’s always, always the problem.

    Real salt has essential minerals and vitamins, any of those suffering from headache’s and migraines are salt deficient.
    Pull garbage food from your diet, salt your buttered veggies and eat your grass fed meats and I’ll see you in 80 years 🙂

  9. I had salt aversion therapy at an early age. Watching my father cover his food heavily in salt before tasting the food was instructive. (my parents coughing up a lung every morning made me a never smoker) The food was already salted heavily when it was cooked, like much Southern cooking historically has been. When I moved away from home I began cooking with less salt and more salt free seasonings and herbs to enhance the flavors. I have never used a salt substitute. If I want a bit of salt to boost flavor I use flake type sea salt scattered over it by hand.
    My sodium and potassium levels all fall a bit below normal high but well above normal low, and have for over a decade. It is graphed for me using my every 90 day complete blood work . Clearly, there is plenty of sodium and potassium in my diet, even though I very rarely eat processed foods. I think Americans are habituated by processed foods into desiring overly-salted foods. When I need salt, I feel the craving and eat a salty snack. That seems like a much more natural state of health to me.

  10. nature and over ten thousand years of recorded and successful human activity are once proven wrong by ‘science’ the religious organization, not Science, the system by which discoveries are made and reproducible.

  11. Just more boo sheet and fraud from the pseudoscience called nutritional studies. Very general information in this article and nothing that shows what kind of studies they were whether they were epidemiological or not what the cohorts were like and what were the confounding factors. Just more sound bite garbage to be used by the quackery that is modern medicine. Come on guys you can do better than this! This is why Western Health is nose diving into the ground.

  12. This study must be dated 1970 – right?
    We’ve known about the health risks of too much salt, sugar and fats since the 1950’s thanks to Jack Lalanne.
    Maybe if America has listened to Jack, our nation would not be a herd of land whales.

  13. Islam recommends Salt before and after each meal
    Salt is one of the best foods you can take before and after meals, and the recommendation by the Prophet (P.B.U.H&H.P) is very current and important. It is reported that the Prophet (P.B.U.H&H.P) always used to have salt before and after meals, and he said that a person who does this act is protected from 70 types of diseases (curses), among which leprosy is the minor one. Islam made this calling because of the benefits of salt (sodium chloride) to the physiology and the human energy system, in particular when taken before and after meals, when it has the most merit during the digestion process.
    Without salt we cannot live. Salt ensures the transmission of electrical nerve impulses to and from the brain and the contractions of the heart and other muscles. Salt is necessary to the flow of nutrients around the body and is vital to the digestion of food. This help in digestion is what we need during meals. Salt stimulates the sensory nerve endings on the tongue to prepare your system for digestion, and increases the rate of absorption.
    Sodium is also a principal component of a person’s internal environment, the extra-cellular fluid. Nutrients reach your body’s cells through these fluids. Sodium facilitates many bodily functions including fluid volume and acid base balance. Sodium enables the transmission of nerve impulses around the body. It is an electrolyte, and like potassium, calcium and magnesium it regulates electrical charges moving in and out of cells in the body.
    Chloride, too, is essential to good health and is a fundamental element in the digestion process. It preserves acid-base balance in the body. It aids potassium absorption. It supplies the essence of hydrochloric acid used in the stomach to help us to breakdown and digest the food we eat and controls the level of bacteria present in the stomach.
    A case in point, the main reason why we have medical doctors and health-care professionals restraining the general community from consuming salt is that it may cause or exacerbate high blood pressure. Unfortunately, the problem is not in the Prophet’s advice, but with the advancement in food processing and preserving technology, and we have too much salt content already in our processed and highly adulterated foods. Therefore, consuming extra salt would be harmful.
    Second, the table salt lacks potassium and the companies concerned extract the important mineral and sell it as a supplement, so when people take too much table salt, it has the disadvantage to cause high blood pressure problems in a vulnerable person. The advice is to ingest pure sea salt that is balanced in sodium, potassium and other minerals, and to consume less preserved foods.
    No matter what, the advice of the Prophet (P.B.U.H&H.P) remains an important matter to all of humankind to maintain that electrical and chemical balance during and after meals. Because salt has so many electrical properties within the body, its role in balancing the ambient energy fields cannot be ignored. Improper food digestion will affect the energy of the person concerned.

  14. I see that the study did not include Africa. Did the study include African-Americans?

    Leaving Africa out is a mystery and many studies in the United States do not include, or include an insufficient sample of African-Americans (or other ethnic minorities). African Americans suffer a disproportionate share of heart disease, cardiovascular ailments, and high blood pressure. I suspect Africans do to based on their diets. For them not to be included in the study should be disclosed, if this is so.

    Many of the solutions to the “salt” and other nutritional problems are said to be solvable by eating a healthy diet, but this is not possible in the increasing urban landscape around the world where poverty or the lack thereof is the true arbiter of access to healthy food. Solving Poverty will go further to solving these nutritional problems than any other proposed solution.

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