#DoesItWorkSummary: Dietary Sodium and Arterial Stiffness

By Atanas G. Atanasov


Background: This #DoesItWorkSummary is based on the findings of a systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials study published in the Journal of Hypertension in April 2018 [1]. Arterial stiffness, the loss of elasticity of arterial vessels, is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (the major cause of human death), and is also linked to higher general risk of death [2]. Increasing of arterial stiffness is also closely associated to high blood pressure [3]. Dietary sodium (a major chemical constituent of table salt) reduction lowers blood pressure [4], therefore, it is of relevance to examine if sodium intake reduction will also reduce arterial stiffness. A systematic evaluation of the available human trial data was done to get overview if decrease in sodium consumption would indeed translate in decrease of arterial stiffness. 

#DoesItWorkSummary Dietary Sodium and Arterial Stiffness

Findings: Analyzed were 14 trials involving 431 people [1]. The available results indicated that short-term (1-6 weeks) reduction of sodium intake with an average of 5.2 g table salt per day leads to 2.8% decrease of arterial stiffness. Since usual salt intake per day in most Western countries is around 10 g, the arterial stiffness-lowering effect achieved could be viewed as a result of decreasing approximately twice the typical daily salt intake. The observed effect was not entirely related to blood pressure decrease, and also involved blood pressure-independent effects on the arterial blood vessels.



1          D’Elia, L., Galletti, F., La Fata, E., Sabino, P. and Strazzullo, P. (2018) Effect of Dietary Sodium Restriction on Arterial Stiffness. Journal of Hypertension, 36, 734–743. https://doi.org/10.1097/HJH.0000000000001604.

2          Vlachopoulos, C., Aznaouridis, K. and Stefanadis, C. (2010) Prediction of Cardiovascular Events and All-Cause Mortality With Arterial Stiffness. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 55, 1318–1327. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2009.10.061.

3          Ecobici, M. and Stoicescu, C. (2017) Arterial Stiffness and Hypertension – Which Comes First? Maedica, Amaltea Medical, Editura Magister, 12, 184–190. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29218066.

4          Sacks, F.M., Svetkey, L.P., Vollmer, W.M., Appel, L.J., Bray, G.A., Harsha, D., Obarzanek, E., Conlin, P.R., Miller, E.R., Simons-Morton, D.G., Karanja, N., Lin, P.-H., Aickin, M., Most-Windhauser, M.M., Moore, T.J., Proschan, M.A. and Cutler, J.A. (2001) Effects on Blood Pressure of Reduced Dietary Sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet. New England Journal of Medicine,  Massachusetts Medical Society , 344, 3–10. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM200101043440101.


Keywords: #DoesItWorkSummary, dietary sodium, arterial stiffness, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, table salt, arterial blood vessels, CVD.


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