How much salt substitution in your diet is needed to reap cardiovascular benefits? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Potassium chloride is one commonly used alternative to table salt, sodium chloride, with a pair of recent studies demonstrating the benefit of using it in reducing blood pressure and cardiovascular events. Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, points to what’s needed to realize a such a benefit.

Martin: In the large China trial it was about 25% I believe that was substituted as potassium chloride. And so what they did was identify large numbers of people, weaning out anyone who could possibly have risk from higher potassium levels such as people with chronic kidney disease, and look at then if you use this salt substitute at home in your cooking, that was associated with lower blood pressures and improved clinical outcomes.  :25

There are alternatives to both, such as mixtures of spices and dried vegetable extracts. Martin says trying them and choosing those that appeal most to you will most likely result in a change you can live with. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.