This might be the most stubborn myth in all health care -- and possibly the most dangerous

Myths die hard

This might be the most stubborn myth in all health care.

It might also be the most dangerous. It actually puts millions of people at risk — especially seniors.

And that’s why I’ve been warning you about this for years…

If you reduce your sodium intake, you will not protect your heart. You won’t even lower your blood pressure. In fact, if you completely avoid sodium, your heart will suffer. You’ll be at grave risk.

Of course, this kind of talk makes many medical mainstreamers come unglued. That’s okay. We can help them back to reality with some old-fashioned evidence.

And here’s a surprise: It comes with a mainstream stamp of authenticity.

Harm upon harm

Recently, the Institute of Medicine put together a panel to review sodium research. Here’s what they found…

There is no evidence that you should keep your sodium intake below 1,500 mg per day.

That’s the level previously recommended for patients with high blood pressure. Currently, the American Heart Association recommends that level for everyone. And it’s ridiculously low — just half a teaspoon of salt.

Now, if that were the only myth busted by the IOM panel, that would be huge. But there’s more. Much more.

The panel found no evidence that anyone should limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. But more importantly, daily intake below that mark can create serious health problems for some people.

Here’s why…

Consistently lower sodium levels can contribute to insulin resistance and boost triglycerides. That’s devastating! It can actually INCREASE risk of heart disease, liver disease, and type 2 diabetes.

This myth of low sodium benefits hits seniors particularly hard. They often end up with symptoms of hyponatraemia — low blood levels of sodium. But doctors often dismiss those symptoms because they’re conditions that everyone associates with aging: fatigue, confusion, and poor balance.

And now for the kicker. It’s hilarious, but also pretty sad…

A spokesman for the AHA said… “The American Heart Association is not changing its position,”

Of course not!

But they WILL come around. Or they will become irrelevant. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen evidence like this. It sure won’t be the last.

Sources:
“No Benefit Seen in Sharp Limits on Salt in Diet” Gina Kolata, The New York Times, 5/14/13, nytimes.com

Get urgent health alerts, warnings and insights delivered straight to your inbox