E. DIETARYHigh Blood Pressure

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

Hi, I’m JR

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