How can the so-called “authorities” be so wrong about low-sodium diets? They’re wrong because they don’t understand the physiology and biochemistry of sodium.
It is as simple as this: Reducing sodium intake to the level recommended by the American Heart Association (less than 1,500 mg/day) does not supply the body with enough sodium to function optimally.
Ingesting that little sodium would trigger a stress response by the adrenal glands, releasing hormones such as renin, angiotensin, and aldosterone. These hormones help the body absorb more sodium from the diet and also enable the kidneys to reabsorb more sodium from urine.
What happens when these stress hormones are released? Cholesterol and triglyceride levels increase and blood pressure goes up. Insulin levels also rise.
Of course, there are many drugs available to treat elevated levels of renin and angiotensin, and there are also plenty of drugs to treat high cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels.
Maybe the powers that be have other reasons to recommend low-sodium diets. The average American diet contains about 5 grams of salt per day. There is no need to reduce salt intake below this level unless you have kidney disease.
In fact, because 9 to 18 mg of salt can be excreted by the kidneys each day, up to 100 grams of salt per day might not even be too much. However, I don’t recommend eating that much salt.
I do suggest using natural, unrefined salt that has a full complement of minerals.
Posts by David Brownstein, M.D.
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