Salt Substitutes to Reduce Blood Pressure

Reducing your blood pressure is important for the 1 out of 2 adults in the US that have hypertension. Lifestyle changes are often spoke of in attempting to reduce blood pressure.  Things like losing weight, exercising, eating healthy, reducing stress, and reducing salt in your diet.   But the use of salt substitutes should be considered.  As always, check with your doctor to be sure this is right for you. 

The use of added table salt, as well as low levels of potassium, has long been associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. Sodium reduction and potassium supplementation have been shown to independently lower blood pressure and to have synergistic effects.  Salt substitutes with reduced sodium levels and increased potassium levels are an inexpensive way to improve your health. Salt is 100% sodium chloride.  Salt substitutes can come in a variety of compositions, but for the benefit of lower blood pressure, should contain at least 25% potassium chloride. 

The effects of salt substitutes are an actual benefit. In a long-term study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, among those who had a history of stroke or were 60 years of age or older and had high blood pressure, the rates of stroke, major cardiovascular events, and death from any cause were lower with the salt substitute than with regular salt. In this study it is estimated that 365,000 strokes, 461,000 premature deaths, and 1,204,000 vascular events could be averted each year by the population-wide use of a salt substitute in China.

Because it is primarily persons in low-income and disadvantaged populations who add large quantities of salt to their diet during food preparation and cooking, salt substitution — a practical, low-cost intervention — may have the potential to reduce health inequities related to cardiovascular disease. This will also save the healthcare system money as a result. 

By using a salt substitute, you are reducing your sodium intake while increasing your levels of potassium, combining the synergistic effects to improve overall health