Salt is important for our body because it contains sodium and chloride, but too much salt can negatively affect the body.
It plays a vital role in regulating blood pressure, nerve, muscle function, and fluid balance, which is commonly used to increase the taste (1).
Chloride is necessary to keep the proper fluid balance in the body, which is also good for the stomach.
Sodium and chloride together play a vital role in absorbing, transporting nutrients throughout the body, and maintaining the water level.
But too much blood pressure lead to many health issues include – hypertension, an increase more thirst, kidney issue, etc.
Here are the top 12 effects of too much salt in the body.
In India, one in three adults above 60 years of age is influenced by high BP. and the estimate of High BP in-country is 29.8%.
During a study, the result showed that people with a higher salt intake had a more average BP and a greater increase in BP with age.
NOTE: Blood pressure is always best measured at rest. the ideal blood pressure is 120/80 (3)
Too much salt makes it harder for a kidney to get rid of fluid that you don’t need, as a result, high blood pressure (4).
There are many other risk factors that contribute to high blood pressure which include:
It is commonly believed that salt intake can increase drinking, but how true is this?
Salt contains sodium at about 40% and chloride at 60% sodium and a large amount takes water from your cells.
This turns your brain into thirst mode, where it does everything possible to help your body to restore the balance of fluid.
However, some study results showed no link between salt intake and increase thirst (6).
The high amount of salt intake can also lead to hypernatremia, which describes too much much sodium in the blood.
NOTE: Frequent thirst can also be a sign of diabetes, so talk to your doctor, if you feel any discomfort.
Effect During Pregnancy
High intake of salt during pregnancy leads to swelling, preeclampsia, and calcium can also be passed out through urine (10).
A study showed that high salt intake in pregnancy was allied with cardiac hypertrophy in one-day-old male offspring.
NOTE: During pregnancy, a pregnant lady should take 3.8 gm to 5.8 gm of salt.
Reducing salt intake during pregnancy also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, multiple diseases, as well as obesity.
May lead to premature death
There are different-different thoughts on mortality or premature death.
In a study where participants are divided into 2 groups, 1st group consumed less than 5.8 gm of salt per day, resulting shown the lowest mortality rate.
Where the 2nd group consumed more than 15 gm of salt per day, and yes they had the highest mortality rate (16).
A study also observed that too much salt intake induced an increase in the event of cardiovascular diseases (19).
Heart attack is one of the common heart health issues, and cases have increased significantly in the last decades.
A report showed that only patients with arterial hypertension have a high cardiovascular risk associated with high sodium intake (20).
Another meta-analysis study reported, that high salt intake tended to increase the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.
Two meta-analyses of studies have shown a connection b/w higher sodium intake and the risk of stroke and CV diseases.
Effect blood vessels walls
Several studies evidence found that high salt intake can adverse impact on the function of blood vessels walls (21).
Studies have shown that high salt intake affects blood vessels wall, which raises BP and may interfere with heart blood flow (22).
The high BP caused due to the intake of excessive salt, which puts strain on the inside of the arteries.
This leads to forces the artery muscle wall to become stronger and thicker, which constricts the arteries more and increases BP.
Overall this can lead to arteries so narrow, which are easily clogged, causing cut the oxygen and nutrition supply to organs and causing fatal damage (23).
Popular studies suggest that high sodium intake with dietary was allied to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Some studies have shown that too much salt intake can damage the heart, arteries, and kidneys without increasing blood pressure.
NOTE: Experimental studies show a direct tissue effect of excessive salt intake on kidney function (27).
Effect on the immune system
Our immune system is like a protection shield that protects us from viruses, and diseases caused by tiny invaders.
The immune system is spread throughout the body including cells, tissues, and antibodies, which all work together to kill bad bacteria.
In a 2020 study, where human participants consumed an additional 6 gm of salt daily, results showed immune deficiencies.
A group of researchers in Germany found that high salt in the blood can directly impact the functioning of immune system cells known as monocytes.
NOTE: Also having too much sodium in the blood can cause the immune cells to produce less energy (29).
Can lead to stomach cancer
Cancer is a group of cells involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.
Many epidemiological, and meta-studies have shown that, are associated with excess salt intake and the risk of gastric cancer (30).
A study suggests that people with high salt intake might 2 times more at risk of stomach cancer compared to a lower intake of salt.
Too much salt can bring you headaches and fatigue, which probably happen due to overeating sodium, leading to dehydration.
So put your salt spoon down, and turn on natural foods that are rich in sodium, and potassium, which help you to restore the balance.
If too much salt is in the blood, water rushes out of the cells to dilute the salt, which leads, to you feeling weaker than usual (32).
Increase the risk of dementia
A study where mice intake too much salt leads to an adaptive immune response in the gut, which reduces blood flow to the brain and promotes cognitive loss.
NOTE: However, one study showed that lower dietary sodium was significantly associated with better cognitive function.
There are some other factors that are also associated with cognitive function which include:
If you eat too much salty diet, you may face fluid retention (when sodium holds water in your body), resultin, in you looking puffier, especially around the abdomen and eyes (38).
According to WebMD, too much sodium in the body leads to swelling, which mostly occurs in the face, feet, hands, and ankles.
However, swelling can also happen due to other health conditions which include:
Too much salt in the body can lead to many health issues including – hypertension (high BP), fatigue, feeling sleepy, thirst, etc.
A pregnant lady should consume a medium amount of salt, not a high or low, which may lead to swelling and preeclampsia.