Your genes might be begging you to cut back on that table salt.

This trait is all about the genetics underpinning our sensitivity to dietary sodium and how much salt we consume. Sodium is an essential nutrient for cellular processes, especially for neurons in the nervous system. However, as you may already know from your doctor, too much of it is harmful and even deadly: sodium intake elevates your risk of hypertension, which can then cause heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events.

In this recently published paper by Pilic and Mavrommatis, the possible links between sodium intake and blood pressure were examined. Here, they identified loci on the SLC4A5 gene among healthy, predominantly Caucasian adults that was associated with their sensitivity to sodium, which was defined in terms of the change in blood pressure after being on a low-sodium or high-sodium diet for a week.

Moreover, another locus on the SLC4A5 gene was associated with sodium intake, in addition to sodium sensitivity. However, interestingly, the 'salt taste detection threshold' or the sensory ability to taste salt was not found to be associated with salt intake. This means that the participants' consumption of salt did not depend on their ability to taste it.

Do keep in mind, though, that the authors acknowledge that the small sample size for the analysis on salt intake, salt taste detection, and blood pressure limited the ability to find a significant association, if it truly exists. While further research is necessary, this paper provides preliminary data for the genetic basis of salt sensitivity and intake.

For more information, check out the original paper:

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Sodium Intake (Sensitivity to Sodium)

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