Reducing salt consumption below the currently recommended 2,300 milligrams – about 1 1/2 teaspoons– per day maybe unnecessary, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

The news follows a decades-long push to get Americans to reduce the amount of salt in their diet because of strong links between high sodium consumption and hypertension, a known risk factor for heart disease.

The IOM, at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reviewed recent studies published through 2012 that explored ties between salt consumption and direct health outcomes like cardiovascular disease and death. The organization describes itself as "an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public."

Researchers determined there wasn't enough evidence to say whether lowering salt consumption to levels between 1,500 and 2,300 mg per day could increase or decrease your risk of heart disease and mortality. But lowering sodium intake might adversely affect your health, the panel found.

"These new studies support previous findings that reducing sodium from very high intake levels to moderate levels improves health," said committee chair Brian Strom, the George S. Pepper professor of public health and preventive medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. "But they also suggest that lowering sodium intake too much may actually increase a person's risk of some health problems."

Those problems, he said, could include heart attack or death.

The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that a sub-group of people - anyone older than  51, African Americans, and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease - limit their salt intake to 1,500 mg a day.

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However they are still saying that reducing sodium to 2300 mg/day is good for you.

Hypertension is easier prevented (by low-sodium diet etc.) than cured.  Once you have it, it may be permanent.  That's a big confusing factor that makes people think salt isn't important in hypertension.

Reports are confusing Luara. I agree.

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