Aug. 10, 2022 -- Using substitutes for salt can reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, stroke and death from all causes, a new study says.

A diet too high in salt composed of sodium chloride raises blood pressure and damages cardiovascular health, raising the chances of early death.

But the research published in the journal Heart says that we can lower all of these health risks by using a substitute for salt that replaces part of the sodium chloride with potassium chloride.

The survey results were reported in the British Guardian.

Some 32,000 people were involved in 21 clinical trials examining the effects of salt substitutes on blood pressure. Researchers discovered that the salt substitutes lowered blood pressure across the board, regardless of factors such as age, gender and weight.

“Salt substitutes produce consistent blood pressure-lowering effects across geographies and diverse participant subsets,” the researchers write.

There were no ill effects from using more potassium chloride, although it is a concern for people with kidney disease; they should limit how much potassium they ingest every day.

Researchers looked at 24,000 people and found that salt substitutes also lower the risk of heart attack, stroke and early death from any cause by 11%. Risk of cardiovascular disease fell 13%.

In the United Kingdom, more than 14 million people have high blood pressure, the British Heart Foundation says. High blood pressure contributes to half of the country’s heart attacks and strokes.

Almost half of adult Americans have high blood pressure, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death in the United Sates, with hypertension contributing to more than 670,000 deaths in 2020.

Tracy Parker, a heart health dietitian at the foundation, told the newspaper, “This research is a helpful reminder to cut the amount of salt we have in our diets and to look for alternatives.”

Show Sources

The BMJ: Heart:  “Effects of salt substitutes on clinical outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis”

 

The Guardian: “Swapping salt for substitutes reduces risk of stroke and heart conditions – study”

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts about Hypertension

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