Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in America. And for nearly a century, mainstream medicine has advised people with heart disease to restrict salt intake as a means of improving survival. But a new meta-analysis found zero evidence that this misguided approach actually helps.
Of course, I’ve been talking about this very issue — which I call the “Great Salt Scam” — for a long time. In fact, one of my very first Daily Dispatches back in the summer of 2012, questioned the science behind the government’s “low-salt-diet-prevents-heart-disease” mantra.
In my view, there’s never been any good evidence to suggest that restricting dietary salt supports heart health or even lowers blood pressure — much less reduces mortality. On the other hand, there’s plenty of evidence linking a low salt diet with a higher risk of heart disease. (And now there’s even evidence showing that nixing salt might actually trigger Type II diabetes.)
Salt just isn’t the enemy it’s been made out to be by the mainstream…
The protective benefits of salt
In biblical times, people knew salt was a life-sustaining mineral, hence the positive connotation of the phrase “salt of the earth.”
Our bodies actually depend upon salt every moment of every day. And our cells are bathed in salt water, inside and out.
Salt also plays a critical role in dozens of body functions. For instance, it helps protect the body from traumatic injury. We lose salty fluids as the result of bleeding or burns, because the injured areas draw these fluids to them to support healing. But if you don’t have enough salt in your body, fluids are limited and can contribute to circulatory collapse (shock).
That’s why as soon as emergency care is available, the first step is always to provide intravenous water with salt.
Given all of its important functions in the body, it’s easy to see that salt cravings are normal — akin to our thirst for water. And when we eat and drink by following our natural taste and thirst, we tend to consume about 1½ teaspoons of salt per day. (That’s 50 percent more than the current U.S. guideline on salt intake.)
Despite all this biological evidence about the importance of salt, the medical mainstream continues to cling to the illogical low-salt myth. We can only hope this new meta-analysis will help usher in some much-needed clarity about this misguided — and deadly — advice.
Thousands of studies provide zero evidence for low-salt diet
For this new meta-analysis, researchers looked at more than 2,600 published articles on salt restriction and heart failure. Among all these studies, there were only nine properly performed clinical trials, which involved nearly 500 patients.
From this analysis, the researchers came away with three key findings:
- Salt intake didn’t influence the frequency or severity of heart failure symptoms.
- Evidence supporting restricted salt intake in patients with acute heart failure (in the hospital) was poor.
- There was zero clinical data showing that reducing salt improved actual outcomes — such as rates of hospitalization, cardiac events, or mortality.
The study researchers remarked that doctors and health experts should just admit that there’s a lack of evidence for this major low-salt policy — especially for people with heart failure.
According to Dr. Clyde Yancy, of the Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago, “We must make the painful deduction that the current evidence base addressing sodium restriction in heart failure is vacuous, lacks depth, and in some cases lacks integrity.”
In the end, mainstream medicine’s approach to heart health is like a house of cards. And once you take away one card — like the salt myth — everything will start to crumble, like the proverbial pillar of salt.
In the end, don’t waste your time trying to “count” sodium, or trying to follow any government dietary recommendations, whether about salt, cholesterol, saturated fats, eggs, or meat. I’m sad to say it, but I’ve never seen a single government dietary recommendation that was “worth its salt.” And cutting salt just doesn’t cut it — for any of us.
Fortunately, there’s still plenty you can do to support your heart. In fact, if you’re interested in learning about all the natural strategies to reduce your blood pressure and promote cardiovascular health — without having to take another dangerous heart medication — I urge you to check out my Heart Attack Prevention & Repair Protocol. For more information about this cutting-edge learning tool or to enroll today, click here.
P.S. Tune back in for tomorrow’s Daily Dispatch for my take on the curious (and potentially deadly) connection between heart attacks and cold weather. You won’t want to miss it!
“Reduced Salt Intake for Heart Failure: A Systematic Review,” JAMA Internal Medicine, (jamanetwork.com) 11/5/2018
Failure: A Systematic Review,” JAMA Internal Medicine, (jamanetwork.com) 11/5/2018