5000 mg of Daily Sodium OK for Heart

The average daily salt intake of most Americans is 3400 mg a day. Contrary to the CDC’s recommendations, that number may not be unhealthy.

A new study published in the American Journal of Hypertension calls that the CDC recommendations "excessively and unrealistically low.” Instead, researchers found that sodium intake of up to 5000 mg does not impact cardiovascular risk.

Note: 5000 mg of sodium a day is equal to two teaspoons of salt.

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The 2010 CDC guidelines recommend 2300 mg for people under 50 years old and 1500 for those over 50. Americans consume, on average, between 2645 mg and 4945 mg of sodium each day, almost twice the recommended amount.

To investigate the relationship between sodium intake and all-cause mortality, as well as cardiovascular events, researchers pooled data on 274,683 participants from 23 cohort and 2 follow-up studies.

A “U-shaped correlation” between sodium intake and adverse health outcomes was identified, meaning that both low-sodium and high-sodium intake were detrimental to participants’ health.

"The good news is that around 95% of the global population already consumes within the range we've found to generate the least instances of mortality and cardiovascular disease."

– Michael Potts


  1. Graudal N, Jurgens G, Baslund B, Alderman MH. Compared with usual sodium intake, low- and excessive-sodium diets are associated with increased mortality: a meta-analysis. Am J Hypertens.2014 Mar 20. [epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpu02
  2. Levels of sodium intake recommended by CDC associated with harmful health outcomes [press release]. New York, NY: Oxford University Press USA; April 2, 2014.