Salt and Human Consumption

Sodium chloride, more commonly known as salt, represents an essential element of life, being one of the elements without which the human body cannot function. Sodium is an essential nutrient, a mineral that the body cannot manufacture itself but which is required to sustain life and good health. Due to the importance of sodium to your body, several interacting mechanisms guard against under-consumption of salt and its threat to your body’s nerves and muscles. However, research has tended to focus on the risks of over-consumption rather then under-consumption.

For decades, appropriate salt consumption has been the subject of much debate amongst scientists, researchers and medical health professionals. Americans, on average, consume about 3,400 mg/day according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. As the availability of processed and “fast” foods has increased over the years, sodium consumption has come under intense scrutiny as a major cause of heart disease. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2014, tested sodium consumption in more than 100,000 people in 17 countries and found that a healthy range of intake was actually higher than originally thought. According to this research the range of safe consumption is between 3,000 and 6,000 mg/day. This study went so far as to say that eating less than 3,000 mg/day can actually increase your risk of a cardiovascular incident more than a diet high in sodium. So we can deduce from this that average American salt consumption is well within a safe range.

Even with all the scrutiny the conclusion still remains elusive as to whether or not a diet low in sodium is actually reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. A Cochrane Review published in 2014, concluded “Further evidence of the effects of different ways of reducing dietary salt on clinical events is needed from experimental and observational studies to underpin public health policies.”

SaltWorks supports a diet high in fresh natural foods prepared with the moderate use of sea salt for healthy individuals as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.