Getting the right fit on salt sensitivity
The latest research coming out of the University of Virginia may result in a critical shift in our approach to salt consumption. A team led by Dr. Robin Felder has demonstrated a quick and simple test to determine an individual’s sensitivity to salt . The initial studies indicate that about 25% of people experience increased blood pressure on very high salt diets and 11% develop the same high blood pressure when placed on low salt diets. The team went on to isolate the gene responsible for salt sensitivity.
Just as our unique genes predetermine our physical features such as iris patterns or fingerprints, they govern the characteristics of metabolism and our risk to all health challenges. That is why doctors always check for family history and why the most effective medical and nutrition approaches target individual requirements. If we can have shoe sizes that fit properly, isn’t it equally important to have nutrition and health measures that fit our individual needs?
Yet, for more than 3 decades the government’s line on dietary salt has reflected an indifferent, ‘one size fits all’ approach that will not benefit the majority of people and place a significant portion of the population at a risk of higher blood pressure. In fact, most of the research during the last five years suggests that the majority of the population will face increased negative health outcomes if the government recommendations for salt are realized.
The ability to quickly and easily determine individual salt sensitivity removes any rationalization for a population-wide approach. People are not stamped out by cookie cutters. We have individual, unique needs. If the shoe doesn’t fit, no one should be forced to wear it.