Dietary sodium and health: more than just blood pressure

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Mar 17;65(10):1042-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.12.039.


Sodium is essential for cellular homeostasis and physiological function. Excess dietary sodium has been linked to elevations in blood pressure (BP). Salt sensitivity of BP varies widely, but certain subgroups tend to be more salt sensitive. The mechanisms underlying sodium-induced increases in BP are not completely understood but may involve alterations in renal function, fluid volume, fluid-regulatory hormones, the vasculature, cardiac function, and the autonomic nervous system. Recent pre-clinical and clinical data support that even in the absence of an increase in BP, excess dietary sodium can adversely affect target organs, including the blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and brain. In this review, the investigators review these issues and the epidemiological research relating dietary sodium to BP and cardiovascular health outcomes, addressing recent controversies. They also provide information and strategies for reducing dietary sodium.

Keywords: dietary sodium chloride; hypertension; kidney; sodium-restricted diet.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology
  • Black or African American
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Cardiac Output / physiology
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / ethnology
  • Sodium, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology


  • Sodium, Dietary