The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a presidential advisory calling for renewed efforts to reduce sodium consumption among Americans. Published ahead of print in AHA’s Circulation, the advisory summarizes the latest evidence backing its recommendation that consumers reduce their sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams per day.
To this end, the new report builds on a 2011 presidential advisory that linked excess sodium consumption to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke. It also attempts to debunk what the advisory describes as “[r]eports of paradoxical inverse or J-shaped associations between sodium intake and CVD and stroke risk and a meta-analysis [that] have been widely misinterpreted as disproving the relationship between sodium and CVD and stroke risk and have received considerable media attention.”
According to AHA, these publications “have stirred controversy and confusion in the popular press and the general population,” leading some to question the need to curb salt intake. “People should not be swayed by calls for a change in sodium intake recommendations based on findings from recent studies reporting that a reduction in sodium consumption does not improve cardiovascular health,” said the advisory’s lead author in a November 2, 2012, AHA press release. “Our detailed review of these studies identified serious methodological weaknesses, which limit the value of these reports in setting or revising sodium intake policy. Our focus should be on finding effective ways to implement, not change, the existing American Heart Association policy on sodium intake.” Additional details about AHA’s first advisory appear in Issue 377 of this Update.