Particularly in females with untreated hypertension, reducing salt intake to what's considered a healthier level appears to be good for both their gut health and their blood pressure, a new study by researchers suggests.
In the blood of 145 adults with untreated hypertension, scientists found that, particularly for the females, just six weeks of a daily sodium intake close to the 2,300 milligrams recommended by groups like the American Heart Association, resulted in increased levels of short-chain fatty acids, an indicator of a healthy microbiome, circulating in the blood. The hypertensive adults also experienced decreased blood pressure and more compliant blood vessels.
"There is a connection," Dr Haidong Zhu, molecular geneticist at the Georgia Prevention Institute at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, said about increasing evidence that the microbiome has a direct role in regulating blood pressure and how the average American high-salt diet can interfere with a healthy direction.
"Sodium is a factor in both sexes but the impact in relationship to the gut microbiome seems more in females. We need to study it further to see if that is true and why it's true if it holds," Zhu said.
To the scientists' knowledge their study in the journal Hypertension? is the first to look at how decreasing salt intake in humans affects circulating short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), says Zhu, the study's corresponding author.