HealthDay News — The beneficial effects of salt substitutes on blood pressure seem to be consistent across geographies and populations, according to a review published online in Heart.

Xuejun Yin, from the George Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales in Newtown, Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the effects of salt substitutes on outcomes to understand the likely generalizability of the results of the Salt Substitute and Stroke Study, which reported blood pressure-mediated benefits of a potassium-enriched salt substitute. Data were included from 21 trials with 31,949 participants; 19 reported effects on blood pressure, and five reported effects on clinical outcomes.

The researchers found that the overall reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure was −4.61 and −1.61 mm Hg, respectively. Consistent reductions in blood pressure were seen across geographical regions and population subgroups defined by age, sex, hypertension history, body mass index, baseline blood pressure, and baseline 24-hour urinary sodium and potassium. Each 10% lower proportion of sodium chloride in the salt substitute was associated with −1.53 and −0.95 mm Hg greater reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively. Clear protective effects were seen for salt substitute on total mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and cardiovascular events (risk ratios, 0.89, 0.87, and 0.89, respectively).


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“These findings are unlikely to reflect the play of chance and support the adoption of salt substitutes in clinical practice and public health policy as a strategy to reduce dietary sodium intake, increase dietary potassium intake, lower blood pressure, and prevent major cardiovascular events,” the authors wrote.

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