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Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Jul;107(26):457-62. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2010.0457. Epub 2010 Jul 2.

Salt restriction for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Medizinische Klinik des Klinikums Dortmund, Quellenweg 7, Dortmund, Germany.d-klaus-dortmund@t-online.de



Restricting the dietary intake of sodium chloride is associated with a reduction of the arterial blood pressure by approximately 4/2 mm Hg in hypertensive patients and by approximately 1/0.6 mm Hg in normotensive persons. As the cardiovascular risk is known to rise steadily with systolic blood pressure values starting from 115 mm Hg, lowering the mean blood pressure of the general population by dietary salt restriction would seem to be a practicable form of primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.


Selective literature search and review.


Multiple studies have shown dietary salt restriction to be associated with lower cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The reduction of adjusted relative risk in controlled observational studies ranges from 25% over 15 years to 41% over three years.


On the basis of the available studies, it seems likely that a moderate lowering of the daily intake of sodium chloride by the general population from 8 to 12 grams per day (the current value) to 5 to 6 grams per day would be a useful public health measure, with economic benefits as well. The potential risks for certain groups of individuals are foreseeable and controllable. A general reduction of dietary salt intake can only be achieved by reducing the sodium chloride content of industrially processed foods, as these account for 75% to 80% of the sodium chloride consumed daily. Aside from a general reduction of dietary salt intake, further important primary prevention measures for the general population include changes in lifestyle and in dietary habits.

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