Does too much sodium really threaten your life?

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

February 28, 2022


Medical professionals say too much dietary sodium can raise your blood pressure. But not enough sodium can weaken your adrenal glands and cause fatigue.

So what’s a person to do? Does too much sodium really threaten your life? Well, a new study will really blow your mind.

The authors of a new study on the effects of dietary sodium on death rates examined 23 different randomized, placebo-controlled studies.

In total, the studies looked at 274,683 men and women and compared a low-sodium diet, a usual sodium diet, and a high-sodium diet. What they found was really interesting.

The risk of dying from any cause and also of specifically dying from cardiovascular disease was 10% less in the people on the usual salt diet verses the low salt.

In other words, the studies are clear. Statistically you are better off with a typical intake of sodium than you are with a low intake of sodium. That flies in the face of what medicine has preached for many years especially in regards to cardiovascular disease.

But What About High-Sodium Diets?

They found that people on a high-sodium diet were no more likely to die from any cause or from cardiovascular disease than those taking the usual amount of sodium. This is good news for those of us who like their salt. But let’s not get carried away.

There are still those people who may need to be salt conscious who have heart disease, kidney disease, or high blood pressure. And remember that the results of these studies are statistically true over large populations, but are certainly not true in every case.

Everything that is true about healthy lifestyle choices is moderation based. Excessive amounts of anything from dietary sources and sleep to vitamins and exercise are not good ideas.


Graudal, N., G. Jürgens, et al. “Compared with usual sodium intake, low- and excessive-sodium diets are associated with increased mortality: a meta-analysis.”

Am J Hypertens, 2014 September;27(9):1129-37.

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