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Recent research has shown that systolic blood pressure can be significantly reduced in adults aged 50–75 by cutting sodium intake in the daily diet by about 4,000 mg.
The research was led by Indian-origin doctor Deepak Gupta, associate professor of medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Translational and Clinical Cardiovascular Research Center in the division of cardiovascular medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in Nashville, Tennessee.
The change was noted in over 70 percent adults within a week of making the change in the diet. The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023 scheduled from November 11 to 13 in Philadelphia.
“High blood pressure is the most common chronic disease condition in the world, and for the majority of adults, dietary sodium intake influences blood pressure. However, dietary sodium recommendations are debated in part due to the variability in blood pressure response to sodium consumption from food,” Gupta said.
The study was conducted on more than 200 adults aged 50 to 75, as well as other individuals. Researchers measured participants’ blood pressure while following their usual diets, and then conducted a randomized trial in these same individuals to understand how a change in sodium content in diet caused changes in blood pressure.
Participants were randomized to a high sodium diet containing 2,200 mg of sodium added to their usual daily diet, or a low-sodium diet with a total of 500 mg sodium daily, for a full week. Participants were then switched to the opposite diet for a week. Researchers measured the participants’ blood pressure over a 24-hour period of the last day of each diet, and found that a low-sodium diet had significantly lowered blood pressure in nearly 75 per cent of the adults.
“These results indicate that lowering blood pressure through dietary sodium reduction can be achieved safely and rapidly within one week,” Gupta said.
“This reinforces the importance of reductions in dietary sodium intake to help control blood pressure, even among individuals already taking medications for hypertension. Just as any physical activity is better than none for most people, any sodium reduction from the current usual diet is likely better than none,” he added.