Dietary Sodium and Blood Pressure: How Low Should We Go?

Linda Van Horn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Sodium intake in the United States exceeds recommended amounts across all age, gender and ethnic groups. National dietary guidelines advocate reduced intake by at least 1,000. mg per day or more, but whether there is population-wide benefit from further reductions to levels of 1500. mg per day remains controversial. Methods and Results: A brief review of current evidence-based dietary guidelines is provided and key prospective, randomized studies that report dietary and urinary sodium data are summarized. Dietary sources of sodium and eating patterns that offer nutritiously sound approaches to nutrient dense, reduced sodium intake are compared. Conclusions: No studies suggest that high sodium intake at the levels of the population's current diet is optimal. On the contrary, national and international evidence and systematic reviews consistently recommend reducing sodium intake overall, generally by 1000. mg/day. Recommendations to reduce intakes to 2400. mg/d are generally accepted as beneficial. Whether further reductions to 1500. mg/d are useful, feasible and safe among specific subgroups in the population who are at increased risk of hypertension or stroke remains controversial and requires individualized consideration by patients and their health care providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalProgress in Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Blood pressure
  • Dietary guidelines
  • Salt
  • Sodium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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