Four more reasons to keep your sodium intake low
Researchers are finding that excessive sodium intake not only causes problems with your blood pressure but also harms the bone, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and your stomach.
The effect that high sodium has on your bones is this; it increases the amount of calcium eliminated through the urine. This process leaches calcium from the bone and contributes to bone loss, which increases the risk of suffering a bone fracture over time.
A simple reduction of salt intake has a positive influence on calcium balance. Reducing this calcium loss may help moderate some of the bone loss related to age.
A high level of sodium can make the blood vessels of your body less flexible. This loss of flexibility may cause or even worsen atherosclerosis. This may happen independently from sodium’s effect on the individual’s blood pressure.
A recent study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, described how a single, 1500 mg, high sodium meal caused a negative effect on the blood vessels ability to dilate in healthy people within thirty minutes of eating. Even more importantly, a high sodium load can be the trigger to heart failure in those with an already impaired heart function.
Medical professionals know that high blood pressure is a major cause of kidney damage. However, those outside of the medical field are generally unaware that sodium directly weakens the kidneys ability to process fluids. Moreover, an increased amount of leached calcium in the urine caused by high sodium can be a contributing factor to an increased risk of kidney stones.
If all that is not enough to cause you to use less salt, consider what the Institute of Medicine (IOM) had to say about high sodium intake and stomach problems.
In the report, mentioned earlier, they found a link between higher sodium intake and an increased risk of gastric cancer. This link, between salty foods and the stomach lining, implied that is more likely that the bacterium H.pylori (1) (a direct cause of ulcers and stomach cancer) can affect the stomach tissues. Not only is this a possibility but it also increases the likelihood that the stomachs environment may be altering the structure of H.pylori. This alteration may increase its ability to survive and therefore do more damage to the stomach lining.
(1)H. pylori is a spiral-shaped bacterium found in the stomach, which (along with acid secretion) damages stomach and duodenal tissue, causing inflammation and peptic ulcers. Approximately 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. population is thought to have H. pylori, but fortunately, most people don’t develop ulcers. Even so, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, H. pylori is a leading cause of ulcers among those who develop them