Salt intake, hypertension, and osteoporosis

J Endocrinol Invest. 2009;32(4 Suppl):15-20.


A high salt intake has been correlated with several pathological conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, renal calcium stones, and osteoporosis. Some of these diseases present a high prevalence in the elderly and common pathogenetic mechanisms are proposed for some of them. A high salt intake has been associated with hypertension as well as osteoporosis and one of the proposed pathogenetic mechanisms is an increased calcium excretion in urine. Urinary calcium loss induces a negative calcium balance that may predispose hypertensive subjects to developing greater bone loss. The gene which encodes for the thiazide- sensitive sodium-chloride cotransporter (NCCT) represents a possible link between hypertension and osteoporosis. Subjects heterozygous for an inactivating mutation of NCCT present a positive effect on bone density as shown by the significantly higher Z-scores at the lumbar spine and total femur. Recent clinical studies also support the benefit of ACE inhibitors in reducing fracture risk or improving bone metabolism. These data suggest that the renin-angiotensin system may be one of the several factors involved in bone metabolism. Hypertension, together with stroke, has been demonstrated to be a risk factor for osteoporosis. Although the risk associated with hypertension was limited in terms of relative risk, it may have a significant impact on the general population owing to the high prevalence of hypertension. The treatment of hypertension may thus be very useful in also giving protection against fractures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Osteoporosis / complications
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / etiology*
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary* / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary* / pharmacology


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary