Researchers have recommended decrease in use of common salt and to even look for replacement for salt as a means to decrease blood pressure among rural Indians.
According to the study by The George Institute for Global Health, even substituting a small part of the sodium in salt with potassium without altering the taste led to a substantial reduction in systolic blood pressure in these patients, supporting salt substitution as an effective, low-cost intervention for lowering blood pressure in rural India.
The study entitled “Effects of reduced-sodium added-potassium salt substitute on blood pressure in rural Indian hypertensive patients: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial” provides the first-of-its-kind evidence from rural India on the effectiveness of a salt substitute and has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Excess salt intake causes high blood pressure, a leading risk for cardiovascular disease. Almost all adult populations worldwide consume more than the recommended level of salt including those living in rural India, where average salt intake is nearly double the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations of less than 5 g/day (2 g/day sodium).
The primary outcome was the change in systolic blood pressure from baseline to 3 months in the salt substitute group compared to the regular salt groups. Secondary outcomes included the change in diastolic blood pressure, 24-hour urinary biomarkers, and self-reported use and satisfaction with the study salts provided.
“As none of the participants were aware of the existence of reduced-sodium salt at the beginning of the study, this suggests policymakers should consider supporting increased access to, and education about the use of such salt substitutes for hypertensive patients in India”, according to one of the researchers.