Projected Effect of Dietary Salt Reductions on Future Cardiovascular Disease

Key Points from Dan Murphy, D.C.

1) “The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services recommend daily intake of less than 5.8 g of salt (2300 mg of sodium), with a lower target of 3.7 g of salt per day for most adults (persons over 40 years of age, blacks, and persons with hypertension).”

2) Despite these guidelines, the average man in the US consumes about 10.4 g of salt per day and the average woman 7.3 g per day.

3) The US diet is high in salt, and most of this salt comes from processed foods. “75 to 80% of the salt in the US diet comes from processed foods, not from salt added during food preparation or consumption.”

4) “Despite evidence linking salt intake to hypertension and cardiovascular disease, dietary salt intake in the U.S. is on the rise.”

5) Reducing dietary salt by 3 g per day (1200 mg of sodium per day) is projected to reduce the annual number of new cases of:

CHD by 60,000 to 120,000

Stroke by 32,000 to 66,000


infarction by 54,000 to 99,000

Annual number of deaths from

any cause by 44,000 to 92,000

6) In reducing dietary salt by 3 g per day, “all segments of the population would benefit, with blacks benefiting proportionately more, women benefiting particularly from stroke reduction, older adults from reductions in CHD events, and younger adults from lower mortality rates.”

7) Reducing salt intake by 3 g per day would save 194,000 to 392,000 quality-adjusted life-years and $10 billion to $24 billion in health care costs annually.

8) “Reducing dietary salt lowers blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

9) “All adult age groups, both sexes, and blacks and nonblacks would be expected to benefit from reductions in salt intake.”

10) “Our postulated dietary reduction of 3 g of salt per day, which is within the range targeted by other developed countries, is projected to benefit the entire US population and yield substantial reductions in morbidity, mortality, and health care costs.”

11) “The magnitude of the health benefit suggests that salt should be a regulatory target of the Food and Drug Administration, which currently designates salt as a food additive that is ‘generally regarded as safe’.”

12) The benefits of salt reduction may be even greater than we have projected “by lowering salt intake even earlier, during childhood and adolescence.”

13) “Modest reductions in dietary salt would yield substantial health benefits across the US population of adults by lowering rates of cardiovascular events and death and reducing medical costs.”


Dr. Dan Murphy graduated magna cum laude from Western States Chiropractic College in 1978. He received Diplomat status in Chiropractic Orthopedics in 1986. Since 1982, Dr. Murphy has served part-time as undergraduate faculty at Life Chiropractic College West, currently teaching classes to seniors in the management of spinal disorders. He has taught more than 2000 postgraduate continuing education seminars. Dr. Murphy is a contributing author to both editions of the book Motor Vehicle Collision Injuries and to the book Pediatric Chiropractic. Hundreds of detailed Article Reviews, pertinent to chiropractors and their patients, are available at Dr. Murphy’s web page,

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