Avoiding salt prolongs life and improves body health: large-scale study Person

Avoiding salt prolongs life and improves body health: large-scale study

As you know, excess salt is harmful to humans. It consists of chlorine and sodium, and the excess of the latter negatively affects the general condition of the body. Many studies have examined the relationship between increased sodium levels in the diet and health problems, for example, with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

At the same time, other studies have revealed the effect of insufficient potassium content in the diet of people: it also negatively affects blood pressure.

It just so happens that one product, usually available in many supermarkets, can solve both of these problems at the same time. We are talking about salt substitutes that have the same taste as salt, but at the same time contain less sodium and more potassium.

However, despite the apparent benefits of salt substitutes, no major clinical trials have yet been conducted measuring their effect on stroke, heart disease and death, so questions remain about how effective they are.

But now the situation has changed. A giant study conducted in China has demonstrated that almost everyone will benefit from the transition to salt substitutes.

Almost everyone in the world consumes more salt than they should," says clinical epidemiologist Bruce Neal of the George Institute for Global Health in Australia. If salt were replaced with its analog all over the world, several million premature deaths could be prevented annually.

As part of the study, Neal and his team surveyed more than 20,000 residents from rural China, recruiting participants with a history of stroke or low blood pressure for their experiment. In total, people came from 600 villages, their average age at the beginning of the study was about 65 years.

During the experiment, half of the participants were provided with a free supply of salt substitute, which was to be consumed instead of regular salt. The stock was designed for a five-year experiment, but its timing was slightly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The salt substitute given to the villagers contained less sodium and potassium, and they had to be used more sparingly to maximize the overall reduction in sodium levels. Meanwhile, the other half of the villagers acted as a control group and continued to use salt during cooking, as always.

At the end of the study, there was a sharp difference in health indicators in the two groups.

In general, about five years after the start of the experiment, more than 4,000 participants died, more than 3,000 suffered a stroke and more than 5,000 acquired some serious cardiovascular disease - sad and unfortunate results, but not unexpected, given the age and overall health of the participants at the start of the experiment.

Nevertheless, the group of salt substitutes was significantly less susceptible to strokes compared to regular salt consumers (29.14 cases versus 33.65 cases per 1000 person-years), and also had a low probability of serious cardiovascular events (49.09 cases versus 56.29 events) and mortality (39.28 events versus 44.61 events).

The researchers say their results effectively confirm previous models that have shown that salt replacement, carried out at the national level, can save the lives of approximately 460,000 people annually. This is achieved by simply preventing premature death associated with the health consequences of excessive sodium intake.