Salt intake and risk of gastric intestinal metaplasia: systematic review and meta-analysis

Nutr Cancer. 2010;62(2):133-47. doi: 10.1080/01635580903305391.


The understanding of the association between salt intake and precancerous lesions may contribute to clarify the causal relation with gastric cancer. We systematically reviewed 17 articles addressing the association between dietary salt exposure and gastric intestinal metaplasia and conducted meta-analyses for quantitative synthesis (random effects model). Salt exposure was estimated assessing salted/salty food consumption, preference for salted/salty foods, use of table salt, or sodium urinary excretion. Heterogeneity was also large regarding food items evaluated, consumption categories, and data analysis. The combined odds ratio (OR) was 1.68 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.98-2.90; I(2) = 55.4%) for the association between salted/salty meat and intestinal metaplasia (4 studies) and the OR was 1.53 (95% CI = 0.72-3.24; I(2) = 76.8%) for salt preference. There was a positive, nonstatistically significant association between intestinal metaplasia and urinary sodium excretion. The heterogeneity of methodological options and results preclude quantitative synthesis or its proper interpretation, even if the available evidence may suggest a positive association between salt and intestinal metaplasia.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Humans
  • Intestines / pathology*
  • Male
  • Metaplasia
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Precancerous Conditions / chemically induced
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / adverse effects*
  • Stomach / pathology*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / chemically induced


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary