Lowering your sodium intake means lowering your cortisol level
A diet with less sodium than we are used to consume improves the mood, makes us a bit leaner and, if we are to believe animal studies, can also enhance muscle growth. Australian researchers, affiliated with Deakin University, may have found out how this is possible. According to their study, the less sodium we consume, the less cortisol our body produces.
Too much sodium
Every day adults need about 4 grams of salt (the main source of sodium). Nutrition scientists advise not to increase the daily intake of salt by more than 6 grams per day. However, most of us consume much more, thanks to the intake of ready-to-eat foods. Numerous studies indicate that a high salt intake increases the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis and stomach cancer.
During 24 hours, the researchers collected the urine from 120 school children aged 5-12 and their 100 mothers. In the urine they determined, among other things, the concentration of sodium and that of free cortisol.
In the both the children's and their mothers' samples, the researchers detected an association between cortisol and sodium. The higher the concentration of sodium in their urine, the higher the concentration of free or unbound cortisol.
"In conclusion, in a population of schoolchildren and their mothers, this study has shown that high sodium [...] intake is associated with increased production of cortisol", write the Australians.
"The negative health implications of elevated cortisol exposure are well documented. Future research should include metabolic studies to investigate mechanisms that might be involved and the effect of sodium reduction on cortisol levels in these target populations."
Br J Nutr. 2018 Oct 30:1-22. doi: 10.1017/S0007114518003148. [Epub ahead of print].
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