Cutting Sodium in Diet Significantly Lowers Blood Pressure in One Week

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Compared to their usual diet, participants placed in the low sodium diet group—required to keep their sodium intake to 500 mg daily—had their blood pressure reduced by 6 mm Hg.

Cutting Sodium in Diet Significantly Lowers Blood Pressure in One Week

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Reducing sodium in diet to 4,000 mg/day significantly lowers blood pressure after 1 week, a new study found. This was the case for 70% of adults, aged 50 – 75 years old. The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 11, 2023.

“High blood pressure is the most common chronic disease condition in the world, and for the majority of adults, dietary sodium intake influences blood pressure,” Deepak K. Gupta, MD, MSCI, FAHA, of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, told the American Heart Association in a press release. “However, dietary sodium recommendations are debated in part due to the variability in blood pressure response to sodium consumption from food.”

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 – 2025 recommends adults consuming less than 2300 mg of sodium daily. Except, adults in the U.S. often consume after 50% more sodium or 3400 mg/day.The American Heart Association also recommends < 2300 mg of sodium daily but thinks we should work towards a sodium limit of < 1,500 mg/day.

Participants in the study were randomized into the low sodium group with 2200 mg of sodium daily or the high sodium group of 500 mg of sodium daily. At the start of the study, roughly a quarter of the 213 participants had normal blood pressure, 20% had controlled high blood pressure, 31% had uncontrolled high pressure, and 25% had untreated high blood pressure. About 1 in 5 participants had diabetes.

The low sodium group consumed food and drink provided by the researchers, given food options like oatmeal, Greek yogurt, grapes for breakfast, fruit, a bag of chips, chicken salad, lentil soup, or peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and fruit, a bottle of 1% low-fat milk, low-sodium frozen burrito, low-sodium frozen vegetable lasagna, or a low-sodium rice and vegetable entrée for dinner. Meanwhile, participants in the high-sodium group consumed 2 chicken bouillon packets daily, which contained 1,100 mg of sodium per packet.

The findings suggested having a low-sodium diet significantly lowers blood pressure, as it had had lowered the blood pressure in 70% - 75% of participants in 1 week. People on the low sodium diet had their blood pressure significantly reduced by 7 – 8 mm Hg compared to the high-sodium diet group. And, in comparison to their usual diet, the low-sodium group had their blood pressure reduced by 6 mm Hg.

The median blood pressure measure was 125 mm Hg for a usual sodium diet, 126 mm Hg for a high sodium diet, and 119 mm Hg for a low sodium diet. Thus, there was not much of a difference between the usual and high sodium diet. Though, returning to a high-sodium diet after switching to a low-sodium diet raised blood pressure.

“These results indicate that lowering blood pressure through dietary sodium reduction can be achieved safely and rapidly within one week,” Gupta said. “Our study also supports the American Heart Association’s position that consuming excess sodium beyond recommended levels is associated with increasing blood pressure.”

References

Reducing sodium intake significantly lowered blood pressure in as little as one week. American Heart Association. November 11, 2023. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/reducing-sodium-intake-significantly-lowered-blood-pressure-in-as-little-as-one-week?preview=133d. Accessed November 13, 2023.

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