Researchers at the University of Dundee and University College London agree that you should be warned about the potential dangers of high sodium intake from prescribed medicines. They also state that sodium-containing formulations should be prescribed with caution only if the perceived benefits outweigh the risks and call for the sodium content of medicines to be clearly labeled the same way foods are.
The researchers followed 1.2 million United Kingdom patients for a little over seven years documenting 61,000 cardiovascular incidents. Factors taken into account included smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, history of various chronic illnesses, and use of certain other medications.
The researchers compared the risk of cardiovascular events non-fatal heart attack, non-fatal stroke or vascular death in patients taking sodium-containing effervescent, dispersible and soluble medications with those taking non-sodium versions of the same drugs between 1987 and 2010.
The researchers also concluded that:
- Patients taking the sodium-containing effervescent, dispersible and soluble medications had a 16 percent increased risk of heart attack, stroke or vascular death compared with other patients taking the non-sodium versions of those exact medications.
- Patients taking the sodium-containing drugs were also seven times more likely to develop high blood pressure and overall death rates were also 28 percent higher in this group. These events were largely driven by an increased risk of hypertension and stroke.
- They also acknowledged that there is still some controversy regarding the relation between dietary sodium and cardiovascular events but say the findings are potentially of public health importance.
In conclusion, the researchers state: Prescription of these sodium-containing formulations should be done with caution, and patients prescribed them should be closely monitored for the emergence of hypertension.
Last month a study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) revealed that reducing refined table salt intake provides clear benefits for the heart and kidney health of patients with chronic kidney disease. These findings back the advice of salt restriction in potentially prolonging kidney disease patients lives.
Excessive refined table salt intake is:
- Consistently linked to increased risk of heart disease and worsening kidney function.
- People with chronic kidney disease may be particularly susceptible to salts detrimental effects. due to the kidneys role in controlling salt balance and their increased risk of dying from heart disease.
Up until this study, the effect of refined table salt restriction in these patients had not been well explored. The researchers discovered that:
- On average, low refined table salt intake reduced excess extracellular fluid volume by one liter
- Lowered blood pressure by 10/4 mm Hg
- Halved protein excretion in the urine without causing significant side effects
If these findings are transferable to the larger CKD population and shown to be sustainable long-term, this could translate to markedly reduced risk of cardiovascular events and progression to end-stage kidney disease and it could generate considerable health-care savings, says Katrina Campbell, PhD, principal investigator of the study.
In conclusion, the findings suggest that refined table salt restriction is an inexpensive, low-risk and effective intervention for reducing cardiovascular risk and risk of worsening kidney function in people with chronic kidney disease. When shopping for salt, opt for unrefined sea salt instead of commercial brand refined salt. These natural sea salts can be found in the natural section of your grocer, at a health food store or online.
Health Benefits Of Natural Sea Salt
Interestingly, by weight, sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium and have the same basic nutritional value, however, sea salt is a more natural and healthy alternative. Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes usually with little processing, according to a Mayo Clinic report. Certain trace minerals and elements are left behind depending on the water source and the minerals add color, flavor and a variety of coarseness levels.
Refined table salt typically mined from underground salt deposits is more heavily processed to eliminate minerals. It typically contains an additive to prevent clumping and most of it also has added iodine which is an essential nutrient to help maintain a healthy thyroid.
The health benefits of sea salt include:
- Preserves melatonin and serotonin hormones that help deal with stress
- Helps build up a strong immune system
- Contains small amounts of potassium to help prevent muscle pains and spasms
- Is alkalizing to prevent and reverse high levels of acids in the body which eliminates risk of serious and life-threatening diseases
- Helps contribute to the prevention of osteoporosis
- Helps contribute to weight loss by digesting food faster and preventing digestive tract buildup
- Helps diabetics or those at risk for the disease by helping maintain proper sugar levels in the body and help reduce the need for insulin
- As a salt bath, relieves dry and itchy skin, eczema and psoriasis by opening pores, improving skin circulation and hydrating tissues
- Helps reduce high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and regulation of an irregular heartbeat, which also helps prevent strokes, heart attacks and atherosclerosis
- Reduces respiratory system inflammation