Do you eat a lot of salt? That's not good for your muscles...
A diet with (too) much salt is probably harmful to the muscles in the longer term. You might draw that conclusion from an epidemiological study published by South Korean researchers at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital in Clinical Interventions in Aging.
The researchers determined the sodium/salt intake of 2,982 South-Korean over-65s. At the same time, the researchers determined the amount of force with which the test subjects could pinch a dynamometer.
Here you see what kind of device a dynamometer is, Here you see how researchers use a dynamometer to measure muscle grip strength.
Almost 20 percent of the study participants had dynapenia. Dynapenia is a loss of muscle strength due to aging. Doctors speak of dynapenia when the muscle grip strength of women is less than 18 and 26 kg respectively.
The total sodium/salt intake did not correlate with muscle strength. But when the researchers looked at the amount of sodium/salt per 1000 kilocalories, they did find an association.
The more sodium-rich foods the study participants consumed, the lower their muscle strength. If you want to convert the daily sodium intake per 1000 kilocalories into salt intake, you can multiply the values in the table below by 2.5.
Click on the table below for a larger version.
Although there was also among men a trend that sodium-rich foods reduced muscle strength, this association was not statistically significant.
How much sodium/salt?
Nutritional scientists believe that adults should not consume more than 2.5 grams of sodium/6 grams of salt per day. However, most world residents consume a lot more.
"These results suggest that a balanced dietary intake, considering sodium and potassium as well as protein, could play significant roles in preserving muscle strength among older adults", write the researchers.
"Prospective studies, including long-term clinical trials, are needed to confirm the effect of dietary intake of sodium on muscular fitness."
Clin Interv Aging. 2019;14:2163-71.
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