Your Questions About Sodium, Answered

Your Questions About Sodium, Answered

How much salt is too much? Should I cut back? We asked experts these and other questions about sodium.

Without sodium, you wouldn’t be able to survive. Nerves would fail to fire; muscles wouldn’t contract. But experts say that most people consume far too much of it, increasing their risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

In the United States, for instance, about 95 percent of men and 77 percent of women consume more than 2,300 milligrams per day, a limit federal health officials recommend.

But in recent decades, researchers have disagreed about exactly how much sodium is too much, with some suggesting that federal guidelines are too strict. Those reports captured our attention and left many people confused, said Dr. Lawrence Appel, a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

But more recent research has clarified some of that murkiness, Dr. Appel said. We asked him and other experts to help set the record straight.

Scientific studies from the last 50 years or so have shown a clear pattern: “The more salt we eat, the higher our blood pressure goes,” said Cheryl Anderson, a professor of public health at the University of California, San Diego.

In a 2021 review of 85 clinical trials, for example, scientists looked at what happened to people’s blood pressure when they consumed 400 to 7,600 milligrams of sodium per day. As their consumption increased, the researchers reported, so did their blood pressure. The effect was strongest for people who already had high blood pressure, but the researchers also saw it in people who didn’t.


Kerri Waldron

My name is Kerri Waldron and I am an avid healthy lifestyle participant who lives by proper nutrition and keeping active. One of the things I love best is to get to where I am going by walking every chance I get. If you want to feel great with renewed energy, you have to practice good nutrition and stay active.

Add comment

sixteen − fourteen =