Study finds Salt substitutes effective to control blood pressure

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Salt substitutes lowers hypertension
Rep.Image | Courtesy: Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels

A new study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, has found that the replacement of regular salt with a substitute can reduce incidence of hypertension, or high blood pressure, in older adults without increasing their risk of low blood pressure episodes.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mortality. It affects over 1.4 billion adults and results in 10.8 million deaths per year worldwide.

One of the most effective ways to reduce hypertension risk is to reduce sodium intake. This study looks at salt substitutes as a better solution to control and maintain healthy blood pressure than reducing salt alone.

Yangfeng Wu_Salt substitute help in lowering hypertension
Yangfeng Wu
MD, PhD, Lead author
Executive Director
Peking University
Clinical Research Institute

“Adults frequently fall into the trap of consuming excess salt through easily accessible and budget-friendly processed foods. It’s crucial to recognize the impact of our dietary choices on heart health and increase the public’s awareness of lower-sodium options.”

Researchers in this study evaluated the impact of sodium reduction strategies on blood pressure in elderly adults residing in care facilities in China.

While previous studies prove that reducing salt intake can prevent or delay new-onset hypertension, long-term salt reduction and avoidance can be challenging.

The DECIDE-Salt study included 611 participants 55 years or older from 48 care facilities split into two groups: 24 facilities (313 participants) replacing usual salt with the salt substitute and 24 facilities (298 participants) continuing the use of usual salt.

All participants had blood pressure <140/90mmHg and were not using anti-hypertension medications at baseline.

The primary outcome was participants who had incident hypertension, initiated anti-hypertension medications or developed major cardiovascular adverse events during follow-up.

At two years, the incidence of hypertension was 11.7 per 100 people-years in participants with salt substitute and 24.3 per 100 people-years in participants with regular salt.

People using the salt substitute were 40 percent less likely to develop hypertension compared to those using regular salt. Furthermore, the salt substitutes did not cause hypotension, which can be a common issue in older adults.

“Our results showcase an exciting breakthrough in maintaining blood pressure that offers a way for people to safeguard their health and minimize the potential for cardiovascular risks, all while being able to enjoy the perks of adding delicious flavor to their favorite meals,” Wu said.

Wu further added that, “Considering its blood pressure, lowering effect, proven in previous studies, the salt substitute shows beneficial to all people, either hypertensive or normotensive, thus a desirable population strategy for prevention and control of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.”

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