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GYM CONQUER ジム筋華のブランドイメージ

The Truth About Salt Reduction: Is It Really Effective?



Uncovering the Dramatic Truth About Salt Reduction!

Salt reduction has long been believed to lower blood pressure effectively. However, a recent meta-analysis, comprising 13 studies, reveals a shocking conclusion: salt reduction does not effectively lower blood pressure! Unless you belong to the 20% of individuals who are salt-sensitive, worrying about salt intake might be a myth.

An intense scene in JOJO style. On one side, there are foods high in salt (pickled foods and miso soup). On the other side, bones are depicted releasing calcium and magnesium due to extreme salt reduction. The scene features vibrant colors and dramatic, exaggerated expressions.

Salt Intake and Recommended Amounts

The average daily salt intake for Japanese people is around 9-11g. In contrast, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese (2015) recommends a daily intake of less than 8.0g for men and 7.0g for women. The WHO recommends less than 5g per day. Looking at these numbers, it seems we should be mindful of salt reduction...


What Are the Downsides of Salt Reduction?

Reducing salt intake may have adverse health effects. For example, bones act as mineral reservoirs. When dietary salt is limited, the body compensates by extracting sodium from the bones, which also releases calcium and magnesium. One study reported that after ten days of consuming 2.2g of sodium (about 5.6g of salt), the amount of calcium and magnesium excreted in urine increased significantly.


Moreover, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) warns that for people with heart problems, excessive salt reduction might increase health risks. The CDC's meta-analysis found that reducing sodium intake to 1500-2300mg per day actually increased mortality rates. Extreme salt reduction appears to be dangerous.


Benefits of Salt Intake

Salt plays a crucial role in maintaining bodily functions. For instance, IV drips contain saline, which matches the osmotic pressure of extracellular fluid. Pure water would disrupt the osmotic balance, leading to dehydration or uremia (inability to excrete harmful substances).

During intense summer exercise, we lose sodium through sweat. Drinking only water can lead to a sharp drop in sodium levels, causing a counterproductive mechanism called "voluntary dehydration," where the body expels more water to concentrate body fluids. This creates a vicious cycle.


Sodium also helps maintain pH levels. During training, acids like lactic acid lower pH, but sodium helps keep it stable. Sodium is also vital for digestion, as hydrochloric acid in the stomach is derived from dietary chloride ions (salt). In the summer, drinking plenty of water can reduce sodium levels, decreasing stomach acid production and appetite. Consuming miso soup or similar can effectively replenish sodium.


Conclusion: Rethink the Need for Salt Reduction

Reducing salt intake is not universally beneficial. It is crucial to consume the necessary amount of salt and avoid extreme reductions. Assessing one's salt sensitivity and tailoring salt intake accordingly is key to maintaining true health.



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