AHA Reaffirms Sodium Reduction Advice

Group expresses methodological concerns with studies published since 2011 concluding otherwise

MONDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The American Heart Association (AHA) is reaffirming its 2011 advisory limiting sodium consumption to less than 1,500 mg per day, according to a scientific statement published online Nov. 2 in Circulation.

Paul K. Whelton, M.D., along with colleagues from the AHA, reviewed recent reports of selected observational studies and a meta-analysis that led to calls to abandon recommendations for reduced sodium intake.

The researchers found that a strong and pervasive evidence base exists in support of recommendations for reducing sodium intake in the general population. New animal and human studies have provided evidence linking excess sodium to structural and functional impairment of the heart, great vessels, and kidneys. A detailed review of studies questioning the recommended sodium intake revealed substantial methodological concerns limiting the usefulness of these studies and indicating the potential to yield misleading results and misinterpretation of clinical trial results.

"Calls for abandoning the AHA dietary guidelines for sodium consumption are based on flawed analyses of data from observational studies that were not planned to study sodium relationships, with great potential to yield misleading results, and on misinterpretation of clinical trial results," the authors write. "The AHA remains committed to improving the health of all Americans through the implementation of its national goals for health promotion and disease prevention, including the goal to reduce dietary sodium to <1,500 mg/day."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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