What do hypertension and erectile dysfunction treatment have in common?
It turns out that they have more in common than you’d think.
I keep hearing from guys that their doctors are telling them to restrict salt to lower blood pressure.
Salt obviously consists mostly of sodium chloride.
Sodium is what is called an alkaline metal.
There are other alkaline metals that are very common in the body, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Whether you eat a plant or animal as part of your diet, you’re getting a lot of alkaline metals.
You’re getting a lot of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.
And doctors insist that lowering salt intake will lower blood pressure.
But is it true?
What is the effect of salt on blood pressure?
Reducing salt intake has a lot of negative effects in the body.
It increases a hormone called aldosterone, which raises blood pressure and causes fibrosis in the kidneys.
Aldosterone is implicated in renal inflammatory and fibrotic processes.
In the cardiovascular system, aldosterone has fibrotic effects and can alter endothelial function.
And higher aldosterone causes fibrosis in other places including the penile erection chambers.
Aldosterone is one of the restraining factors for human penile erection.
And this is bad because restricting salt causes aldosterone to skyrocket.
One major analysis showed that restricting salt raises aldosterone levels by more than 300%.
Not that I believe it matters, but restricting salt also raised cholesterol, specifically raised LDL-cholesterol.
And this is what doctors (wrongly I think) like to call “bad cholesterol.”
As the authors conclude that to lower blood pressure,
These results do not support a general recommendation to reduce sodium intake.
But let’s look at a much larger study.
It’s one of the largest studies that was ever done on salt restriction.
And it showed an almost negligible, teeny, tiny effect from restricting salt.
Remember that this is more than just a study on restricting salt.
Researchers also worked to improve the diets of these people in the study.
For example, they tried to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables.
And despite lowering salt and raising consumption of fruits and vegetables, the results weren’t big.
In fact, the people in the study who lowered their salt consumption only lowered their blood pressure a tiny amount.
It was such a negligible and small amount of reduction that it can’t support salt restrictions as treatment.
I don’t think that lowering salt causes blood pressure to fall at all.
And this study proves that it makes no difference.
Let me show you.
First, researchers exaggerated the scale on the left side which makes it seem like a huge difference.
But it is really only a couple of points, 2.9 to 5.9 points if that.
In reality, the difference is even smaller and mostly due to the improvements in diet than the reductions in salt.
For example, when people went on the improved DASH diet, the difference in sodium was almost NOTHING, 1.3 to 1.7 lower.
So if you are 165/95, basically you would be 163/94.
This study was huge and very expensive, yet it showed virtually no difference in blood pressure by restricting salt.
Restricting salt raises very harmful aldosterone hormone levels.
Plus, restricting salt makes food bland and tasteless.
Restricting salt really does nothing to lower blood pressure.
Effect of aldosterone on isolated human penile corpus cavernosum tissue
Aldosterone: effects on the kidney and cardiovascular system
Effects on Blood Pressure of Reduced Dietary Sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet