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Taking a Second Look at Salt

We have heard for a long time about the dangers of consuming too much salt. Yet new research is showing new insights about salt and how having too little can adversely affect your health. Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D. breaks it all down for us.

It is recommended that we consume at most 2,300 mg of salt a day. That’s about one teaspoonful. However, most Americans consume one-and-a-half teaspoons a day of salt. This puts many Americans in danger of increased risk to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and stroke. Thus, we are told to limit our salt intake. Yet, that may not be the best advice.

What we are finding is that when we consume less salt, blood pressure could go either down or up. Those who have normal blood pressure levels are just as likely to see their blood pressure rise or fall when cutting back on salt. In fact, many people don’t see any change at all in their levels.

If blood pressure levels do go down, the body activates hormones that can retain salt in order to compensate for less blood volume. These include angiotensin-II, renin, and also aldosterone. However, these hormones also cause arteries to stiffen. This is not good if you are trying to avoid a heart attack or stroke.

Insulin also becomes more active when on a low-salt diet. Insulin helps the body store fat. Therefore, having a diet low in salt can actually make you more likely to gain weight. It also means becoming insulin resistant, which can lead to prediabetes or even diabetes.

Finally, a low salt diet can actually raise blood viscosity as well as platelet activation. This is a big problem if you are at risk of hypertension because the platelets will stick together. This, in turn, can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Want to learn more about taking a second look at salt? You can read the full article here: The Downside of a Low Salt Diet.