Restricting salt consumption below 2.3 gm per day, increased short-chain fatty acid levels in the blood stream and lowered hypertension, blood pressure and improved arterial health.
Salt – common salt – sodium chloride – is known to be bad for you in excess. Too much sodium and not enough potassium in your cells can have dire effects and cause the mitochondria to mis-function. The regulation of salt inside cells is controlled by a pump on the cell membrane and that pump is driven by magnesium. So as a ‘rule of thumb’ you should eat a potassium- and magnesium-rich, low sodium diet to get the best from your cells, immune and blood systems. This would be perfectly fulfilled by the colourful Mediterranean Diet.
Various bodies suggest a maximum salt intake per day, with 1 gram being our favoured level. You always need some sodium chloride!
The American Heart Association suggests people consume less than 2,300 mg of salt per day to lower blood pressure. But how does it do it?
Dr. Haidong Zhu, molecular geneticist at the Georgia Prevention Institute, Augusta University and corresponding author on the study said that high salt diets restricted the gut microbiome but by reducing salt intake, the microbiome produced more circulating short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which are indicative of gut health. Some SCFAs are known to block the production of cholesterol, while others reduce blood pressure.
In the research, providing a low salt diet almost immediately reduced systolic blood pressure by 5 points.
Put simply, your commensal bacteria in your gut do not like salt and it inhibits them and their production of helpful compounds.
Salt is found in high levels in all processed and packaged foods, canned foods such as baked beans, bacon, sausages, hams, Chinese food, pickled foods, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, cheese, salted peanuts, crisps, fast food.
Sodium is commonly found in sodium chloride, monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite in foods. The last three compounds have been linked to cancer.
- Chen, L., et al. (2020) Modest Sodium Reduction Increases Circulating Short-Chain Fatty Acids in Untreated Hypertensives. Hypertension