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To Salt or Not to Salt: How Much Salt is Recommended for Alzheimer’s Prevention?

Posted by on Friday, September 1st, 2017

low salt diet for Alzheimer's prevention

It’s common scientific knowledge today that what’s good for the heart is good for the brain.  So, it stands to reason that a heart healthy diet is recommended for Alzheimer’s prevention.  But what about added table salt?  Most doctors and dieticians would recommend a low sodium diet for optimal heart health due to salt’s propensity to wreak havoc with the cardiovascular system.  In fact, too much sodium consumption can increase blood pressure and cause the body to hold onto fluid. This extra fluid can cause swelling in the extremities as well as more complicated health problems, such as congestive heart failure.  High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.

How Much Salt is Too Much?

So, how much salt does the average person in America ingest?  That number is estimated to be over 3,400 mg per day, according to Harvard Health.   According to a recent Harvard Health report, the U.S. guidelines for the average adult daily intake of salt per day is under a tsp. ofsalt–2,300 mg of sodium per day. The American Heart Association says no more than 1,500 mg per day, particularly for certain people with high risk for heart disease.  

When it comes to cardiovascular health, high blood pressure is one of the most modifiable risk factors (able to be changed). Heart disease is the leading cause of premature death worldwide, so factors that can be changed are important for heart as well as brain health. 

Studies on Salt Intake and Cardiac Health

In an article published in New England Journal, former Harvard Medical School faculty member, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, combined information from over one hundred studies regarding sodium intake-in as many as 66 different countries around the world.  The following estimate was published regarding cardiac disease related to salt intake:

  • The average sodium intake was nearly 4,000 mg a day
  • If the average intake of sodium was around 2,000 mg per day, there would be 1.65 less worldwide deaths per year
  • Reducing sodium rates (to recommended levels) would result in approximately 10 percent fewer deaths associated with cardiovascular disease.

High Risk Groups

High risk groups that are encouraged to lower their consumption of sodium include:

  • Any person over age 50
  • African Americans
  • Those with high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or heart failure

Limiting the intake of sodium can help prevent or control high blood pressure and avoid a condition where the body retains fluid beyond its ability to effectively get rid of it–called fluid overload.

What is hypervolemia?

Fluid overload, also referred to as hypervolemia, is a condition in the body with excess water.  Of course the body normally has a specific amount of water or fluid, but too much can actually lead to serious health problems.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypervolemia

  • Causes include, heart failure, kidney problems (retaining salt) diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, pregnancy, hormonal imbalances.
  • Swelling of the extremities (edema), usually in the feet, ankles, wrists, and face
  • Cramps, headache, bloating and overall discomfort in the body
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) caused by excess fluid in the bloodstream
  • Excess fluid in the lungs, causing shortness of breath
  • Excess fluid can speed up or slow the heart rate causing heart problems

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s diet by CLICKING HERE to view The Alzheimer’s Treatment, Alzheimer’s Prevention Diet book, written by Dr. Richard Isaacson, M.D., Harvard trained neurologist.


For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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