The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Blood pressure effects of low- and high-salt diets

    In this Cochrane review, researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital, in Denmark, estimated the effects of low-sodium vs. high-sodium intake on blood pressure (BP), renin, aldosterone, catecholamines, and lipids.

    First, the details.

    • 167 studies were included in the review.
    • All reported results are statistically significant.

    And, the results.

    • Effect of sodium reduction in normotensive Caucasians:
      • Systolic BP (SBP) -1.27 mmHg
      • Diastolic BP (DBP) -0.05 mmHg
    • Normotensive Blacks:
      • SBP -4.02
      • DBP -2.01
    • Normotensive Asians:
      • SBP -1.27
      • DBP -1.68
    • Hypertensive Caucasians:
      • SBP -5.48
      • DBP -2.75
    • Hypertensive Blacks:
      • SBP -6.44
      • DBP -2.40
    • Hypertensive Asians:
      • SBP -10.21
      • DBP -2.60
    • Sodium reduction resulted in significant increases in…
      • Renin
      • Aldosterone
      • Noradrenalin
      • Adrenaline
      • Cholesterol
      • Triglycerides

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Sodium reduction resulted in a significant decrease in BP of 1% (normotensives), 3.5% (hypertensives), and a significant increase in plasma renin, plasma aldosterone, plasma adrenaline, and plasma noradrenalin, a 2.5% increase in cholesterol, and a 7% increase in triglyceride.”

    Statistically, but probably not clinically significant changes. The average drop in systolic blood pressure was -1.27 and diastolic BP was -0.5 — a negligible benefit, according to the authors

    In fact, “”Due to the relatively small effects and… the antagonistic nature of the effects [of the other hormones measured]…these results do not support that sodium may have net beneficial effects in a population of Caucasians.”

    More research is need in Asians and African-Americans.

    1/24/12 23:52 JR

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