Vim & Vigor - Winter 2013 - University of Virginia - (Page 3)

BY JOSH BARNEY Is a Low-Salt Diet Good for Everyone? UVA researchers have found a way to determine your optimal salt intake W e've heard it before: Reducing the amount of salt we consume can help us avoid high blood pressure and related health problems, right? Not so fast. Although nonprofit organizations such as the American Heart Association and the Institute of Medicine have a one-size-fitsall recommendation on salt intake, University of Virginia Health System research helps make it clear that each individual is genetically programmed with a personal salt index; in other words, an upper and lower limit on daily salt consumption for good health. In addition, UVA researchers have developed a test to determine that level and to identify people who should watch their salt consumption closely and even those who should consume more salt. ARE YOU SALT SENSITIVE? SOCIAL MEDIA UVA researcher Robin Felder, PhD, explains: "The blood pressure of about 25 percent of the population is sensitive to salt, increasing Stay in the Know Want to keep up on the latest news from UVA Health System? Subscribe to our blog, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Pinterest or your favorite social media site. Learn more at uvahealth. com/socialmedia. risk for strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure. Therefore, we developed a simple test to help the medical community determine an individual's ability to tolerate salt, and so their sodium chloride [salt] dietary guidelines can be personalized." DO YOU NEED MORE SALT? "Lowering salt intake might not be good for everyone," Felder adds, "since about 15 percent of individuals demonstrate an increase in blood pressure on a low-salt diet-just the opposite of what one would expect." There are other potentially harmful effects of low-salt intake, leading to plaques and ultimately blockages in the arteries. Felder's research was based on a previous UVA study overseen by Cynthia Schoeffel, MD, and Robert M. Carey, MD. Their research team evaluated how the kidney metabolizes salt and blood pressure in 183 adult volunteers who agreed to follow a special diet of high salt for one week and very low salt for another week. The negative effects of salt appear at the highest and lowest levels of consumption. Sodium chloride intakes that are above and below the range of 2.5-5.8 grams per day are associated with increased cardiovascular risk. "If an individual consumes close to their daily personal salt index," Felder says, "they are likely to avoid saltrelated illness." A Simple Salt Test A UVA Health System laboratory has developed a test to determine how much salt a person should consume each day. The test is currently only available as part of UVA research, but Robin Felder, PhD, says, "if all goes well, the test will be available through UVA physicians by late next year." It will be an important test for someone whose blood pressure may be sensitive to salt. One clue that sometimes occurs in saltsensitive individuals, Felder says, is large weight gain after a high-salt meal that takes several days to return to normal. WI NTER 2013 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2013 - University of Virginia

Vim & Vigor - Winter 2013 - University of Virginia
Life in Balance
Is a Low-Salt Diet Good for Everyone?
Have You Done Your Monthly Breast Self-Exam Lately?
Waiting for a Heart
Got Excuses?
Managing Your Health with a DIY Tool Kit
Is It the Stress Talking?
The Wonderful World of Greens
Knee-to-Know Basics
On the Cover
Run for Your Life
14 Good-for-You Gifts
Special Delivery
Virtual Health
A Childhood Interrupted by Cancer
Cupcake Wars

Vim & Vigor - Winter 2013 - University of Virginia