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Can Dietary Sodium Intake Be Modified by Public Policy?

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The importance of dietary salt has been recognized from time immemorial, with humans using salt in almost all dishes being consumed. Several researches have been conducted to study the effects of salt or sodium chloride on health and disease in human beings. The focus of these researches has been the impact of salt on regulation of blood pressure in the body. Because of the noted effects on the blood pressure levels salt consumption has been advised in moderation. Several guidelines have also been proposed regarding salt intake.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Electrolyte DRI Committee in 2003 advised 2300 mg/d as the safe upper level of sodium in the diet. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommended this same level for healthy adults and 1500 mg/d for individuals at risk of hypertension. Nevertheless, other scientists have presented with conflicting evidence regarding restriction of salt intake at these levels.

Therefore, to provide a conclusive guidance, a special IOM committee has recently been charged to formulate such strategies in the United States. Great Britain has also made similar moves to form a public policy about intake of dietary sodium chloride. While some experts feel that such a policy is feasible and the recommended goal of sodium chloride intake can be reached, others question the credibility of safe or normal levels of salt required by our body. Thereby the question is raised about the ability of such public policy in controlling the dietary intake of salt. Further, several studies have noted the important role of salt on the functioning of the nervous system which is one of the most important functions in our body.

The recommended levels in 2003 and 2005 were reportedly not based on proper studies as some studies noted that 2300 mg or 100 mmol/d was substantially below the lower limit of 117 mmol/d noted in other studies. Thereby, while forming a public policy to regulate the intake of sodium chloride in the diet care should be taken to include proper studies so as to ensure that inadequate levels do not result in a public catastrophe.

While public policy regarding sodium chloride intake can be formed, its feasibility remains questionable until large scale studies are able to identify the exact amount of sodium chloride needed by the body to function normally while preventing the development of adverse events.

Source: http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/cgi/reprint/CJN.04660709v1   

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: December 09, 2014