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Salt Slashes Blood Pressure-Lowering Enzyme

Posted Mar 24 2009 3:16pm

It’s drummed into our heads. Salt bad, salt bad, salt bad. But why! A new study in the Journal of Nutrition claims salt decreases levels of an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase (NOS). NOS signals nearby muscles to relax, which improves blood flow and reduces high blood pressure. First, using bovine cells, scientists observed a decrease in NOS activity with an increase in salt concentration and similar results were observed using Chinese hamster ovary cells; Food Navigator reports.

A previous study showed obese people following a low-salt diet for two weeks had improved flow-mediated dilation, i.e. blood vessels ability to relax, and in the United States, cutting salt by just 1 gram could lower the number of new heart disease cases by 250,000.

In addition to heart-risks, Dr. Fuhrman explains eating too much salt over-stimulates taste buds resulting in an inability to detect subtle flavors in food, specifically fresh fruits and vegetables.

Image credit: Krista76

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