How does sodium chloride intake affect blood pressure (BP)?

Updated: Feb 22, 2019
  • Author: Matthew R Alexander, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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A number of studies have documented an association between sodium chloride intake and BP. The effect of sodium chloride is particularly important in individuals who are middle-aged to elderly with a family history of hypertension. A moderate reduction in sodium chloride intake can lead to a small reduction in blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends that the average daily consumption of sodium chloride not exceed 6 g; this may lower BP by 2-8 mm Hg. [8, 77]

One randomized controlled trial published found that moderate dietary sodium reduction (about 2500 mg Na+ or 6 g NaCl per day) added to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition was more effective than dual blockade (ACE inhibitor [ACEI] and angiotensin II receptor blocker [ARB]) in reducing both proteinuria and BP in nondiabetic patients with modest chronic kidney disease. Furthermore, a low-sodium diet added to dual therapy yielded additional reductions in both BP and proteinuria, emphasizing the beneficial effect of dietary salt reduction in the management of hypertensive patients with renal insufficiency.

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