(HealthDay News) – Lowering sodium levels to moderate (2,300mg/day) seems to result in improved health outcomes, but the evidence is insufficient to assess the benefits and harms of further lowering levels, according to a review published by the Institute of Medicine.

Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the emerging evidence on the association between sodium and health effects, and to comment on the implications for population-based sodium reduction strategies.

According to the report, evidence supports a positive correlation between higher levels of sodium intake and the risk of heart disease, likely due to the impact of sodium on blood pressure. Based on current evidence, it cannot be concluded whether lowering sodium intake levels <2,300mg/day would be beneficial or detrimental with respect to heart disease, stroke, or all-cause mortality. Low sodium intake may correlate with adverse health outcomes for those with mid- to late-stage heart failure who are receiving aggressive treatment. Within specific population subgroups (including those with diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and hypertension), the evidence is not strong enough to determine the balance of benefits and harms of further reducing sodium intake <1,500mg/day.

“These studies make clear that looking at sodium’s effects on blood pressure is not enough to determine dietary sodium’s ultimate impact on health,” Strom said in a statement. “Changes in diet are more complex than simply changing a single mineral. More research is needed to understand these pathways.”

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