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You may have read newspaper reports that a study in The Lancet showed that people who took in the most salt had an increased risk for heart attacks, even if they did not have high blood pressure. How can this be? Nobody has ever shown that a high salt intake causes heart attacks without also causing high blood pressure. The only way that taking in excess salt can cause heart attacks is by increasing blood pressure that damages arteries.

If you take a look at the study data, you will see that only the obese men who took in too much salt had an increased risk for heart attacks. This did not happen to women or to men who were not obese. So the newspaper reports should have stated that a study in the British medical journal, Lancet, shows that obese men who take in a lot of salt have an increased risk for heart attacks and this risk has nothing to do with salt because obese men who take in too much salt also have higher blood cholesterol levels and have an increased risk for high blood pressure. It is eating more fat, refined food and extra calories, not the salt that causes heart attacks. It is ridiculous to state that taking in lots of salt causes heart disease without causing high blood pressure. If you exercise regularly and restrict salt, you will suffer frequent bouts of tiredness, muscle weakness and cramping that can only be relieved by taking in extra salt. Salt is the only mineral that you lose in large amounts with exercise, and lack of salt causes chronic fatigue in regular exercisers.

Lancet, March 217, 2001

May 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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