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Research Shows Salt Substitutes Lower Risk of Heart Attack/Stroke and Death - SciTechDaily

Research Shows Salt Substitutes Lower Risk of Heart Attack/Stroke and Death - SciTechDaily

Research Shows Salt Substitutes Lower Risk of Heart Attack/Stroke and Death - SciTechDaily
Aug 12, 2022 2 mins, 3 secs

A pooled data analysis of the available evidence finds that dietary salt substitutes lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from all causes and cardiovascular disease.

According to a pooled data analysis of the available evidence, dietary salt substitutes lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from all causes and cardiovascular disease.

Salt substitutes, which replace a proportion of sodium chloride (NaCl) with potassium chloride (KCl), are known to help lower blood pressure.

A recently published large study from China (Salt Substitute and Stroke Study; SSaSS) found that salt substitutes cut the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and early death.

In an effort to shed light on this, the scientists trawled research databases looking for randomized clinical trials published up to the end of August 2021 that reported on the effects of a salt substitute on blood pressure, cardiovascular health, and early death.

Blood pressure, which is measured in mm Hg, is made up of two numbers: systolic—the higher number that indicates the force at which the heart pumps blood around the body; and diastolic—the lower number that indicates arterial pressure when the heart is filling with blood.

According to the pooled data analysis, salt substitutes lowered blood pressure in all the participants.

And each 10% lower proportion of sodium chloride in the salt substitute was associated with an additional 1.53 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure and an additional 0.95 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure.

A pooled data analysis of the results of five of these trials involving more than 24,000 participants showed that salt substitutes lowered the risks of early death from any cause by 11%, from cardiovascular disease by 13%, and the risks of heart attack or stroke by 11%.

The scientists acknowledge certain limitations to their findings, including that the studies in the pooled data analysis varied in design and that there were relatively few data for people who didn’t have high blood pressure.

“Since blood pressure lowering is the mechanism by which salt substitutes confer their cardiovascular protection, the observed consistent blood pressure reductions make a strong case for generalisability of the cardiovascular protective effect observed in the SSaSS both outside of China and beyond,” the authors write.

“These findings are unlikely to reflect the play of chance and support the adoption of salt substitutes in clinical practice and public health policy as a strategy to reduce dietary sodium intake, increase dietary potassium intake, lower blood pressure and prevent major cardiovascular events,” the researchers conclude.


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