Japanese researchers conducted an observational study so they could investigate whether dietary sodium intake predicts future blood pressure and the onset of hypertension in the general population (J Am Hear Assoc. July 29, 2015). Yes, there is a close relationship between dietary sodium and hypertension, but the idea that people who eat relatively high amounts of sodium have an increased risk of developing hypertension compared with those who eat relatively low amounts of sodium has not been studied intensively in a cohort; hence, this study.
Individual sodium intake was estimated in 4,523 normotensive participants who visited the researchers’ hospital for a health checkup. After a baseline examination, they were followed for a median of 1,143 days, with the end point being development of hypertension. During the follow‐up period, hypertension developed in 1,027 participants (22.7 percent). The risk of developing hypertension was higher in those who consumed higher rather than lower amounts of sodium. In multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, baseline sodium intake and the yearly change in sodium intake during the follow‐up period (as continuous variables) correlated with the incidence of hypertension. Furthermore, both the yearly increase in sodium intake and baseline sodium intake showed significant correlations with the yearly increase in systolic blood pressure in multivariate regression analysis after adjustment for possible risk factors.
The researchers said both relatively high levels of dietary sodium intake and gradual increases in dietary sodium are associated with future increases in blood pressure and the incidence of hypertension in the Japanese general population.
It’s no secret that the industry has been lower sodium content in foods for several years now. Among soups, sauces, snacks, frozen meals, salad dressings and more, sodium is a major flavor element; it often serves as a preservative. But given the clean-label movement and increased health concerns, it’s no surprise sodium reduction is a concern.