Short-term dietary sodium restriction increases serum lipids and insulin in salt-sensitive and salt-resistant normotensive adults

Klin Wochenschr. 1991;69 Suppl 25:51-7.


Evidence suggests that dietary salt reduction similar to diuretic therapy may adversely affect lipid and glucose metabolism. We studied 147 non-obese normotensive subjects (60 females and 87 males) aged 19-78 years who entered a single-blind crossover trial and were randomly assigned to a low salt diet of 20 mmol or a high salt diet of 300 mmol sodium per day, for 7 days each. Sodium restriction lowered mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) by a mean of 7.5 mmHg in 17% (salt-sensitive), had no hemodynamic effect in 67% (salt-resistant) and raised MAP by a mean of 6 mmHg in 16% of the subjects (reverse reactors). With dietary salt restriction serum total- and LDL-cholesterol as well as serum insulin and uric acid concentrations increased significantly in all three groups. The largest increases in total (10%) and LDL- (12%) cholesterol occurred in the reverse reactors. Salt-sensitives had significant higher lipoprotein(a) values than the other two groups. Salt-restriction had no significant effect on this parameter. Plasma renin activity, as well as plasma aldosterone and noradrenaline concentrations rose in all three groups during the low salt diet, the largest increases being observed in the reverse reactors. Short-term sodium restriction in normotensive adults has unfavourable effects on lipid and glucose metabolism, especially in subjects who do not derive hemodynamic benefit. Further studies are necessary to examine the effects of more moderate salt reduction for longer periods on the risk factor profile for cardiovascular disease before a low salt diet can be regarded as a safe public health measure for the general population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renin / blood
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sodium, Dietary / pharmacology
  • Uric Acid / blood


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Insulin
  • Sodium, Dietary
  • Uric Acid
  • Renin