The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Blood pressure effects of low- and high-salt diets

    In this Cochrane review, researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital, in Denmark, estimated the effects of low-sodium vs. high-sodium intake on blood pressure (BP), renin, aldosterone, catecholamines, and lipids.

    First, the details.

    • 167 studies were included in the review.
    • All reported results are statistically significant.

    And, the results.

    • Effect of sodium reduction in normotensive Caucasians:
      • Systolic BP (SBP) -1.27 mmHg
      • Diastolic BP (DBP) -0.05 mmHg
    • Normotensive Blacks:
      • SBP -4.02
      • DBP -2.01
    • Normotensive Asians:
      • SBP -1.27
      • DBP -1.68
    • Hypertensive Caucasians:
      • SBP -5.48
      • DBP -2.75
    • Hypertensive Blacks:
      • SBP -6.44
      • DBP -2.40
    • Hypertensive Asians:
      • SBP -10.21
      • DBP -2.60
    • Sodium reduction resulted in significant increases in…
      • Renin
      • Aldosterone
      • Noradrenalin
      • Adrenaline
      • Cholesterol
      • Triglycerides

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Sodium reduction resulted in a significant decrease in BP of 1% (normotensives), 3.5% (hypertensives), and a significant increase in plasma renin, plasma aldosterone, plasma adrenaline, and plasma noradrenalin, a 2.5% increase in cholesterol, and a 7% increase in triglyceride.”

    Statistically, but probably not clinically significant changes. The average drop in systolic blood pressure was -1.27 and diastolic BP was -0.5 — a negligible benefit, according to the authors

    In fact, “”Due to the relatively small effects and… the antagonistic nature of the effects [of the other hormones measured]…these results do not support that sodium may have net beneficial effects in a population of Caucasians.”

    More research is need in Asians and African-Americans.

    1/24/12 23:52 JR

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