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Does eating lots of salt really affect blood pressure?

Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

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(NaturalNews) A new European study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association defies conventional wisdom concerning salt intake and heart health, suggesting that high salt consumption does not always lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium analyzed data on 3,700 Europeans that contributed urine samples at the beginning of the study, none of whom had heart disease, and two-thirds of whom had normal blood pressure. All participants were assigned to either low-salt, moderate-salt, or high-salt diets, and were then evaluated over the course of eight years.

At the conclusion of the study, the research team observed that heart and blood vessel disease rates did not differ among the salt intake groups. However, four percent of those in the low-salt group died from heart disease, while only one percent died in the high-salt group, indicating that low-salt diets may actually be more of a health risk than high-salt diets.

Additionally, roughly 25 percent of all participants, no matter what group they were assigned to, ended up with high blood pressure during or at the completion of the study. Overall, there were no significant differences observed between salt intake groups, other than a slight increase in systolic blood pressure among those in the high-salt groups. But researchers say the increase was so small that it is likely inconsequential.

"It's clear that one should be very careful in advocating generalized reduction in sodium intake in the population at large," stated Dr. Jan Staessen, author of the study. "There might be some benefits, but there might also be some adverse effects."

It is unclear precisely what type of sodium was used in the study. Highly processed, synthetic salts, and other artificial salt additives, are highly toxic to the body. Natural, unrefined, full-spectrum sea and mineral salts, on the other hand, provide the body with necessary trace minerals, as well as beneficial sodium that helps keep the body properly hydrated (

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May 6, 2011