Role of Adequate Dietary Ca Intake in the Prevention & Management of Salt-Sensitive Hypertension

uring the past decade, a credible body of evidence has emerged supporting the concept that maintaining an adequate dietary mineral intake, specifically of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, protects against high blood pressure in humans. Observational and interventional studies in humans and extensive use of laboratory models showed that a significant portion of blood pressure variability in response to sodium chloride could be linked to the adequacy of the mineral content of the diet. This review summarizes the observational data from several large databases showing that when adults meet or exceed the recommended dietary allowances of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, the simultaneous ingestion of a diet high in sodium chloride is not associated with elevated arterial pressure. In fact, a higher sodium chloride intake in these adults is most likely associated with the lowest blood pressure in the society. The interaction between adequacy of mineral intake and protection against salt sensitivity in humans provides an important opportunity for further improving blood pressure control in our society. Educating individuals to maintain, on a daily basis, adequate intakes of calcium, magnesium, and potassium rather than limit their sodium chloride is a viable health recommendation that individuals can implement to reduce their risk of sodium chloride-induced hypertension.

D.A. McCarron, Am J. Clin Nutr 1997