How much salt is too much?

Salt intake has become an increasingly prominent issue for most modern nations. Studies revealing that excess salt consumption can cause diseases like stroke have done little to abate the hunger people seem to have for salt.

Of course, whenever the question of excessive salt intake arises, the first query raised is this: how much salt is too much?

According to American medical experts, adults shouldn’t consume more than 2,300 milligrams of salt (roughly one teaspoon) in any given day. Not surprisingly, most adults consume far more salt than their doctors recommend, with Doctor Tom Frieden, the Centers for Disease Control Director suggesting that governments around the world need to do more to save lives by reducing salt intake.salting

The benefits and risks of salt

Salt is essential to the human body and the various functions of its organs, including the regulation of the bodily fluids.

Some studies have suggested that salt can play a role in the body’s ability to combat certain harmful bacteria, thus reducing the risk of infection.

However, excessive salt intake proves to be dangerous, attracting unwanted complications, particularly regarding cardiovascular health. From heart disease to hypertension and even liver disease, the risks of excess salt intake are well known.

A lot of the risks emanating from excessive salt intake revolve around the fact that large amounts of salt in the body cause it to retain water, which exerts strain on the heart and blood vessels. High blood pressure and cardiovascular ailments like stroke are the logical outcomes.

The focus of many medical experts for a few years now has been to determine the point where salt stops helping the body’s operations and begins causing harm.

While certain organizations still support the 2,300 milligrams salt intake limit, some scientists have suggested that 2,300 milligrams of salt on any given day is actually too little and might actually put one’s health at risk.

A study led by a team from McMaster University in Canada revealed that individuals taking less than 3,000 milligrams of salt within any given 24 hour period stood a higher chance of suffering from cardiovascular diseases like stroke.

Additionally, this study determined that salt only increased the risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals that not only had high blood pressure but who were also consuming more than 6,000 milligrams of salt per day.

According to Michael G. DeGroote, the study leader, there is little evidence to suggest that reducing salt intake to levels as low as 2,300mg will actually benefit the human body. Whether or not people like DeGroote are right and all the hullaballoo over excessive salt intake is indeed exaggerated, everyone agrees that the issue of salt intake must be studied further to determine the appropriate levels of salt that must be consumed to ensure optimum health.