High-salt intake has been associated with osteoporosis. Salt intake draws out calcium from the bones during urination.
By Dawn Flemming
Osteoporosis is a condition that involves the thinning and loss of bone resulting in bones becoming more brittle and susceptible to fracture. Genetics, age, nutrition and environment all play a role in the progression of osteoporosis. Around 10 million men and women aged 50 and older across the United States suffer from osteoporosis and about 44 million suffer from low bone density. Low bone density and osteoporosis are one of the greatest epidemics facing the U.S population today.
Studies have shown that high salt intake is associated with the progression of osteoporosis. This is because osteoporosis is characterized by a process of bone demineralization and high salt increases calcium loss through urination. Most of the calcium lost through urination is drawn from the bones.
In one study, it was shown that for every 100 mmol increase in salt consumption, 1.4 mmol of urinary Ca was increased. In parallel to this, decrease in salt consumption led to a reduction of calcium excretion. In fact, a reduction of salt consumption from 10 to 5g per day would result in the same effect to hip bone density as an increase in consumption of calcium of 1000 mg per day which is very difficult to attain without consuming supplements.
Salt has other dangers as well that are widely known. A sodium-rich diet can cause high blood pressure which puts people at risk for heart attacks and strokes. It can also adversely affect the kidneys and even the brain.
Most Americans needs about 500mg of sodium daily to be healthy but unfortunately, most Americans consume far more than the recommended limit. They consume about six times more sodium (3200mg) which puts them at risk for many health hazards.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.