Problems Arising

Salt (NaCl) & Sodium (Na)

Salt = Sodium Chloride


40% 60%


Ever wondered what is in your salt? Salt (NaCl) and Sodium (Na) are not the same thing.

Sodium function (1)
• Maintain electrolyte balance in the body
• Nerves impulse transmission
• Muscle tissue contraction.


Potassium (K)

Salt alternative = Potassium Chloride


53% 47%

Potassium (K) functions (2)
• Maintain fluid balance
• Electrolyte balance
• Maintain cell integrity

Both Na and K is important for (2)
• Nerve impulse transmission
• Muscle contraction in the cell to regulate a steady heartbeat

Both K and Na are absolutely essential in the regulation of blood pressure, which we will discuss more later.


Effects of hypertension (1)
Why is hypertension so deadly?



Sodium in our table salt plays an extensive role in making our food taste great, but the high sodium content in food today has caused numerous health problems. One of them is Hypertension, or high blood pressure, which is a
condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure. The higher the blood pressure, the higher the risk of damage to the blood vessels in major organs such as the heart, brain and kidneys. (3)




Effects of hypertension (2)

According to NHMS 2011, an alarming 5.8 million of Malaysians aged 18 years & above suffer from high blood pressure. (5) Hypertension causes symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and chest pain. However, many people with hypertension have no symptoms at all. This is why it has been named “The Silent Killer”.




Effects of excessive salt consumption (CKD)


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) are conditions that damage your kidneys and decrease their ability to keep you healthy. (7). A high sodium intake will alter the sodium balance in the body, causing the kidneys to retain water resulting in higher blood pressure. This puts strain on the kidneys (8). Salt load also increases the concentration of the Angiotensin II hormone which constricts the blood vessels in the kidney. (9) Both these conditions severely burdensthe kidney and if prolonged, will lead to chronic kidney disease. High blood pressure is one of the most common cause of kidney disease which contributes to over a quarter of all cases of kidney failure. (10)



Effects of excessive salt consumption (Stomach Cancer)


Some studies have shown that people with high sodium intake have a higher risk of stomach cancer. High salt consumption enhances carcinogenesis, which is literally cancer creation. (11) It also damages the lining of the stomach, encouraging the growth of a bacteria called H.pylori. This bacteria causes stomach ulcers, leading to stomach cancer. (12) Countries that have a high salt intake tend to have higher numbers of people dying from stomach cancer, such as Northern China, Japan and Korea. (13)



Effects of excessive salt consumption (Osteoporosis)



High sodium consumption may also result in osteoporosis. A study shows that when salt intake is high, it causes more calcium to be excreted from the body through urine, about 74% higher compared to low salt intake.(14). The body then detects a deficiency of calcium in the body and bone resorption happens, where osteoclasts (a bone cell) breaks down the bone which is calcium rich and transfers it to the blood to replenish the calcium. An increase in bone resorption rate caused by sodium compared to the low rate of bone formation (15) could then lead to osteoporosis.



Importance of balanced minerals


The best way to “treat” these growing health threats is by prevention. One of the important and easily modifiable risk factors of hypertension is unbalanced mineral intake. Therefore, the mineral balance in our diet have to be re-examined to lower our risk of hypertension.


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