An excessive consumption of sodium over an extended period of time has been associated with a greater risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. However, a new study published online by JAMA Internal Medicine reveals that sodium intake “was not associated with 10-year mortality, incident cardiovascular disease, or incident heart failure, and consuming greater than 2300 mg/d of sodium was associated with nonsignificantly higher mortality in adjusted models.”
The study from JAMA analyzed the data after a 10-year follow up of 2,642 adults between 71 and 80 years of age who participated in the study.
The researchers looked at sodium intake from <1,500 mg/d (very low) to >2,300 mg/d (high). Mortality was 33.8% in the very low group, 30.7% in the moderate group (1,500 to 2300 mg/d) and 35.2% in the high group. The numbers they found were not statistically significant.
According to For The Media, 881 of the participants had died, 572 had developed cardiovascular disease and 398 had developed heart failure after the 10 years. Sodium intake was not associated with mortality or the development of cardiovascular disease and heart failure in these cases.
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The researchers acknowledged that the study was not perfect because the sodium-intake by the adults was self-reported. People have a tendency to underestimate their sodium consumption and often consume higher amounts than they had originally thought.
“Our data emphasize the need for stronger evidence, preferably from rigorous controlled trials testing additional thresholds for sodium intake, before applying a policy of further sodium restriction to older adults beyond the current recommendation for the general adult population (2,300 mg/d)," concludes the study.
Until further research is done, adults should consume no more than the general recommendations of one teaspoon (2,300 mg) daily.
“In older adults it’s probably ok if you stick with the general recommendations of one teaspoon (2,300 mg),” said study author Dr. Andreas P. Kalogeropoulos.
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“If you reach 70 and are free of cardiovascular disease or heart failure, these people are probably going to do ok with the standard recommendations. But know that anything over one teaspoon is bad for your health.”
The American Heart Association recommends that everyone should be consuming less than 1,500 mg/day of sodium. Adults over the age of 50 are especially urged to reduce their sodium intake to prevent the adverse health effects linked to high sodium consumption.