Salt is a Killer Without Huge Intakes of Fruits and Veggies

Dear Paleo Diet Faithful,

Below is the citation, abstract and PDF link to a scientific paper my colleagues and I just published regarding the dietary sodium/potassium ratio and how these essential minerals influence blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.  This paper represents the most comprehensive scientific international review of the topic to date.  Do yourself or your loved ones a favor by reading it.  To Your Health, Loren Cordain, Ph.D.”

Link to Paper

Sebastian A, Cordain L, Frassetto L, Banerjeed T, Morris RC.  Postulating the major environmental condition resulting in the expression of essential hypertension and its associated cardiovascular diseases: Dietary imprudence in daily selection of foods in respect of their potassium and sodium content resulting in oxidative stress-induced dysfunction of the vascular endothelium, vascular smooth muscle, and perivascular tissues. Med Hypotheses 2018;119:110-119.

ABSTRACT:

We hypothesize that the major environmental determinant of the expression of essential hypertension in America and other Westernized countries is dietary imprudence in respect of the consumption of daily combinations of foods containing suboptimal amounts of potassium and blood pressure-lowering phytochemicals, and supraphysiological amounts of sodium. We offer as premise that Americans on average consume suboptimal amounts of potassium and blood pressure-lowering phytochemicals, and physiologically excessive amounts of sodium, and that such dietary imprudence leads to essential hypertension through oxidative stress-induced vascular endothelial and smooth muscle dysfunction. Such dysfunctions restrict nitric oxide bioavailability, impairing endothelial cell-mediated relaxation of the underlying vascular smooth muscle, initiating and maintaining inappropriately increased peripheral and renal vascular resistance. The biochemical steps from oxidative stress to vascular endothelial dysfunction and its pernicious cardiovascular consequences are well established and generally accepted. The unique aspect of our hypothesis resides in the contention that Americans’ habitual consumption of foods resulting in suboptimal dietary intake of potassium and supraphysiological intake of sodium result in oxidative stress, the degree of which, we suggest, will correlate with the degree of deviation of potassium and sodium intake from optimal. Because suboptimal intakes of potassium reflect suboptimal intakes of fruits and vegetables, associated contributors to oxidative stress include suboptimal intakes of magnesium, nitrate, polyphenols, carotenoids, and other phytochemical antioxidants for which fruits and vegetables contain abundant amounts. Currently Americans consume potassium-to-sodium in molar ratios of less than or close to 1.0 and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends a molar ratio of 1.2. Ancestral diets to which we are physiologically adapted range from molar ratios of 5.0 to 10.0 or higher. Accordingly, we suggest that the average American is usually afflicted with oxidative stress-induced vascular endothelial dysfunction, and therefore the standards for normal blood pressure and pre-hypertension often reflect a degree of clinically significant hypertension. In this article, we provide support for those contentions, and indicate the findings that the hypothesis predicts.

About Loren Cordain, PhD, Professor Emeritus

Loren Cordain, PhD, Professor EmeritusDr. Loren Cordain is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His research emphasis over the past 20 years has focused upon the evolutionary and anthropological basis for diet, health and well being in modern humans. Dr. Cordain’s scientific publications have examined the nutritional characteristics of worldwide hunter-gatherer diets as well as the nutrient composition of wild plant and animal foods consumed by foraging humans. He is the world’s leading expert on Paleolithic diets and has lectured extensively on the Paleolithic nutrition worldwide. Dr. Cordain is the author of six popular bestselling books including The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook, The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Answer, and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, summarizing his research findings.

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“1” Comments

  1. We know with many other foods and nutrients that it often isn’t what is eaten alone that causes health or disease but how it is consumed and in combination with what else. Do we know that high quality salt (sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, Celtic grey salt, etc) eaten with an optimally healthy diet causes any problems for someone with no prior health issues? Isolating potassium and sodium in a study might not give us useful information to be applied to our diets. I’d be curious to know, since this kind of careful and detailed research is rarely done.

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