New study: Does low salt consumption encourage a stroke?

According to Yusuf not only too much salt increases the risk of suffering a stroke, but too little, he concludes from a Pure study with 101,945 participants from 19 countries.

Salt deficiency harms the organism( fotolia.com/zikovic) Salt deficiency harms the organism( fotolia.com/zikovic)

Salt is vital
Sodium chloride, our common salt, is vital. Sodium is a building block of the blood and allows cell metabolism. Chloride is an elemental substance of stomach acid. Without salt, the bone structure suffers, as well as the digestion, the water balance and the nervous system.

Animal Salt Licks
Even animals lead salt to their body: elephants like horses, cattle like deer. Salt is the only substance that many different species feed on from outside - by eating earth or licking salt stones.

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  • salt is necessary for deer to grow their antlers. Predators such as wildcats or wolves ingest enough sodium through the blood and flesh of their prey.

    Mothers need a lot of salt during their rearing because they lose sodium through the milk. Even the change of coat leads to a salt deficiency in the metabolism.

    Salt Loss
    So people need salt to maintain the balance of fluids and nutrients in their cells. Healthy people have around 200 grams of salt in their own body, as we can easily tell if we cry or sweat.

    When we sweat or cry a lot, we need to add salt to the body.
    salt on the wounds
    Too much salt damages our immune system, thus blocking wound healing, Berlin researchers said in 2015.

    However, animals store salt in infectious tissue, and there it strengthens the macrophages, they white blood cells, which are the causative agents of inflammationkill, and every local on the North Sea knows: wounds heal better in salt water.

    How much salt do we need?
    salt is unhealthy or healthy? The answer is: Sodium chloride not only promotes good health but is as necessary as carbohydrates, fats or protein.

    Scientists agree on that. But they discuss how much salt a person needs. In Germany, most doctors recommend consuming 5.0 g of salt, which is about 2 teaspoons. The American Heart Society AHA even recommends 3.8 g of salt or 1.5 g of sodium per day to prevent heart attacks or strokes. However, Germans averagely consume about 9 g daily, and many 15 g or more.

    Heart and kidney specialists are questioning American standards, however, as there are few valid studies showing that reducing salt intake lowers the risk of heart attack. Studies from the 1990s and 2000s contradicted the question of which risk for heart attacks and strokes high salt intake brings.

    Ethnic-genetic differences
    Salim Yusuf, who today warns against low salt intake, said as early as 2013 that especially people from Asia who consume well over two teaspoons of salt a day would be at high risk for stroke, US-Americans or Europeans do not.

    cardiologists like Franz Eberli from Zurich confirm Yusuf. Our genetic dispositions set the course for how much salt we tolerate. In people with a hereditary trait to an increased sensitivity to salt, salt in higher amounts than two teaspoons per day raises the blood pressure. Chronic increased blood pressure, in turn, narrows the vessels with the potential consequence of a heart attack or stroke.

    Not only individuals and blood relatives have such a genetic disposition but also ethnic groups. According to Eberli, people from tropical Africa and Asia have a much more common heredity for salt sensitivity than Europeans.
    Not enough salt
    According to Yusuf, study participants who consumed less than three grams of salt per day were more likely to experience heart disease and strokes. What causes saline-sensitive amounts of salt, is therefore the result of salt deficiency in "normal": the body presumably pours out hormones in salt deficiency, which increase the blood pressure.

    Where is the center?
    Yusuf does not doubt that an extremely high salt intake favors strokes - a lack of salt as well. According to him, a moderate intake of salt is healthier than a lower one.

    According to this, subjects who consumed four to five grams of salt a day had the lowest risk.to die from cardiovascular disease, less than three grams increased the risk.

    High blood pressure
    In healthy people, the risk increased only when the salt intake was low but not high. This is not the case with clients with high blood pressure: with them, the risk of cardiovascular disease increased with too little as well as with too much salt.

    In plain language, the conclusion is therefore: In people without salt sensitivity, there is no relationship between high salt intake and cardiovascular disease, but very well between low salt intake and such complaints.

    People with high blood pressure, or 5% of the population, are at an increased risk of salt intake of more than 6 grams per day.

    Many effects
    salt, so sodium and chloride do not act in isolation. Therefore, the question "too much or too little salt" is often a sham discussion.

    The tip to swim in the sea for small injuries and then to dry in the sun does not automatically refer to salt alone as a healing source. Heat, water and trace elements may also play a role.

    Similarly, combined effects are also negative: what about someone who consumes a lot of salt with other lifestyle habits? Finished products with a lot of salt, such as potato chips or canned soups, are usually deficient in vitamins. They contain a lot of unsaturated fats and simple carbohydrates, which means lots of sugar.

    Patients who consume many such "hidden salt" products tend to under-range and resort to harmful foods such as alcohol and cigarettes.

    In pregnant women, a lack of salt is just as problematic as a lack of other nutrients that the fetus urgently needs for its development. For example, babies with low birth weight often have a low sodium content.

    Older people who have been eating very little salt for a long time often break their hips and their mental abilities suffer.

    WHO recommends that you do not take more than five grams of salt a day.

    How sodium and chloride in the body affect, however, is hardly explored.(Dr. Utz Anhalt)

    Not enough salt harms the body as well as too much of what is necessary. At least one recent study by Canadian internist Salim Yusuf from McMaster University suggests this. A Health ABC study published in January comes to the same conclusion.

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