For almost 50 years, government health “experts” have claimed that salt in your diet causes high blood pressure. And they want you to severely restrict salt to lower your heart disease risk.
The problem is, they have absolutely no evidence to support this claim. In fact, some evidence suggests that low salt causes heart disease.
Fortunately, some MDs are starting to catch on, as explained last summer in the August 2017 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. (If you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up here.)
Even the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is starting to look at the science. In fact, last month, AARP’s member magazine ran a fantastic article examining the lack of evidence behind the government’s ridiculous low-salt recommendations.
Years ago, when I worked in Washington, D.C., I was concerned that the AARP was just another big, quasi-government, special-interest bureaucracy. But I came to appreciate that they’re trying to protect older Americans’ “entitlement” to social insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security, which the government forced us to pay into for decades.
(It’s interesting — big government advocates like to scare us and talk about “running out of money” to reimburse older Americans for their lifelong payments into these programs. But they never seem to talk about running out of money for the government programs that are entirely give-away.)
I’ve also come to appreciate that AARP actually pays attention to real medical science. In fact, mainstream medical practice should pay as much attention to the science as AARP does to inform its members.
And AARP certainly took a hard look at the science on salt…
Examining the Great Salt Scam
Without question, high blood pressure is an epidemic in this country. It’s also the single greatest contributor to heart disease (with stress as the common denominator).
But sodium does NOT cause high blood pressure and heart disease. (Nor do the government’s other favorite “risk factors”: cholesterol, saturated fats, and meat.) In fact, sodium is essential for hydration and metabolism.
Suzanne Oparil, M.D., an expert in high blood pressure at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB), says the government’s current low salt recommendations are far too extreme. In fact, she said, “There is zero evidence that cutting salt to very low levels like 1,500 mg is beneficial.”
It makes sense that Dr. Oparil comes out of UAB. In the 1980s, medical scientists I knew there started to research the role of stress as the real cause of high blood pressure. (And for many of us, the government is a major source of stress, as their recommendations provide no solutions.)
Getting just the right amount of salt
The AARP article cited a Danish study from 2014 that found optimum sodium intake should fall between 2,600 mg and 4,900 mg. And the average American consumes about 3,400 mg each day. So — we’re right in the middle of that healthy range.
Furthermore, according to Dr. Gabriel Navar, Chair of the Department of Physiology at Tulane University in New Orleans, as long as you have normal kidney function, your body can process and eliminate up to 5,000 mg sodium per day. That’s far more than the average American consumes!
Of course, the government urges you to severely restrict sodium to 1,500 mg per day. However, even if you could get to that level by following a healthy diet, evidence suggests that 1,500 mg is way too low for good health…
In fact, research links sodium below 3,000 mg per day to an increased risk of heart disease!
As a former forensic pathologist, I appreciated how the AARP author organized the article on salt. It read like a court case, with subheads like: “Opening arguments,” “The evidence,” “The case for defense,” and “The verdict.”
Ultimately, the author found that the government could not “prove” the case for its low-salt recommendations. Unfortunately, the government doesn’t have to follow their own “rules of evidence.” They make the rules…but that doesn’t mean you always have to follow them (at least when it comes to nutrition).
Ignore the governments’ unproven recommendations, and follow these five science-backed steps to keep your blood pressure under control:
1. Stay well hydrated and keep your electrolytes in balance by drinking tea made with aspal (in rooibos or red bush), which nourishes your body on a cellular level. (For more information on the benefits of aspal and where to get it, visit DrMicozzi.com and search the archives.)
2. Get enough potassium every day. Adults should aim to consume at least 4,700 mg per day. Good sources are bananas, dairy, fish, meat, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, and yogurt.
One note of caution: Many blood pressure medications (diuretics) cause the kidneys to lose potassium. So if you are taking these drugs, I recommend supplementing with 90 mg of potassium per day. (And, of course, consider ways to lower your blood pressure naturally.)
3. Cut down on processed and prepared foods, such as packaged cold cuts and baked goods, which are typically loaded with excess salt. These foods shouldn’t be a part of a healthy diet in any case.
I recommend following a Mediterranean diet, a heart-healthy diet that emphasizes healthy fats, legumes, whole grains, fish, produce, herbs, spices, extra virgin olive oil, and nuts.
You can also check out more healthy eating tips in this Daily Dispatch, titled, “9 ways to get a balanced diet on a balanced budget.”
4. Don’t waste your time trying to “count” sodium, or trying to follow any government dietary recommendations, whether they be about salt, cholesterol, saturated fats, eggs, or meat. Sad to say, I have never seen a single government dietary recommendation that was “worth its salt.” And cutting salt just doesn’t cut it.
5. Seek ways to reduce stress with moderate exercise, spending time in Nature, or even reading a good book. You can also stimulate your vagus nerve to reduce stress, which I discussed at length in the September issue of my monthly newsletter. (Subscribers can access this by logging into the “Subscriber” tab via DrMicozzi.com. Not yet a subscriber? Now’s a great time.)
You can learn about more natural strategies to reduce your blood pressure and promote cardiovascular health — without ever taking another dangerous heart medication again. I discuss all this and more in my new Heart Attack Prevention & Repair Protocol. For more information or to enroll today, click here.
“Salt v. the State of Your Health,” AARP Bulletin (www.aarp.org) 10/2017
Retrieved from: https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/daily-sodium-intake-blood-pressure.html