Salt and Blood Vessel Function
Thursday, April 23, 2009

Reducing the salt in your diet can help lower your blood pressure, but it may also lower your risk for having a heart attack or stroke in another important way. 

In addition to helping keep blood pressure down, eating a low-sodium diet may help keep blood vessels working properly.

A study measured the impact of salt restriction on the endothelium, the thin layer of cells that line the interior of the blood vessels and help regulate blood flow.

Overweight and obese study participants with normal blood pressure who restricted the sodium in their diets showed evidence of improved endothelial function compared to participants who did not restrict salt.

The study included 29 overweight and obese men and women who ate either three and a half grams of salt a day or seven and a half grams a day for two weeks. Then they switched to the other diet for two weeks.

None of the participants had high blood pressure when they entered the study.

While on the salt-restricted diet, but not the normal diet, the study participants showed improvements in endothelial function in tests designed to measure blood vessel dilation and blood flow.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.