Renal function in relation to sodium intake: a quantitative review of the literature

Kidney Int. 2017 Jul;92(1):67-78. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2016.11.032. Epub 2017 Apr 12.


We undertook a quantitative literature review to search for evidence underpinning current guidelines proposing a reduction of sodium intake to less than 2.4 g/d for the management of chronic kidney disease. We searched PubMed for peer-reviewed articles published from January 1980 through May 2016. Two investigators screened 5072 publications and extracted data from 36, including 11 cross-sectional and 5 longitudinal observational studies and 20 intervention trials. Within-study effect sizes were pooled and standardized to a sodium gradient of 100 mmol/d by using inverse-variance weighted random effects models. Among cross-sectional studies, the pooled odds ratio for albuminuria was 1.23 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.92-1.64, P = 0.16), and the pooled mean difference in glomerular filtration rate amounted to 8.5 ml/min (CI, -2.3 to 19.2 ml/min; P = 0.12). In the cohort studies, the pooled relative risk of a renal endpoint was 1.08 (CI, 0.92-1.29; P = 0.35). In the intervention trials (median duration, 14 days [range, 4-186 days]), the mean differences in estimated glomerular filtration rate and albuminuria (high vs. low sodium intake) averaged 4.6 ml/min (CI, 3.4-5.8 ml/min; P < 0.0001) and 53% (CI, 21-84; P = 0.001), respectively. Cochran's Q statistic indicated significant heterogeneity among cross-sectional studies for both estimated glomerular filtration rate and albuminuria (P < 0.0001) and among intervention trials for albuminuria (P = 0.04). In conclusion, there is no robust evidence suggesting that long-term reduction of salt intake would prevent chronic kidney disease or delay its progression. However, our current findings, which were mainly obtained in people with slight renal impairment, cannot be extrapolated to patients with moderate or severe chronic kidney disease.

Keywords: CKD; albuminuria; glomerular filtration rate; meta-analysis; salt; sodium.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Albuminuria / blood
  • Albuminuria / physiopathology
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Protective Factors
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / blood
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Sodium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Sodium, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Sodium, Dietary / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Sodium, Dietary