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Dietary salt intake predicts future development of metabolic syndrome in the general population

Abstract

Excessive dietary salt consumption is one of the most important risk factors for hypertension. Metabolic disorders often coexist with hypertension, and excess salt intake has been reported to underlie metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that excessive dietary salt causes metabolic syndrome in the general population. In total, 13886 subjects who participated in our medical checkup were enrolled, and salt intake was assessed using a spot urine sample. The characteristics of participants with metabolic syndrome (n = 1630) were examined at baseline, and then participants without metabolic syndrome (n = 12256) were followed up with the endpoint being the development of metabolic syndrome. The average estimated salt intake in our participants was 8.72 ± 1.93 g/day. A significant association between salt intake and metabolic syndrome was obtained from the logistic regression analysis, and salt intake increased as the number of metabolic disorders in an individual increased at baseline (P < 0.001). During the median follow-up period of 52 months, 1669 participants developed metabolic syndrome. Kaplan–Meier analysis demonstrated an increased risk of metabolic syndrome across quartiles of baseline salt intake (log-rank, P < 0.001). In the Cox proportional hazard regression analysis where salt intake was taken as a continuous variable, salt intake at baseline was an independent predictor of developing metabolic syndrome. These results suggest that excessive salt intake is significantly associated with the development of metabolic syndrome in the general population. Salt may play an important role in the development of metabolic disorders and hypertension.

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Correspondence to Hiroyuki Takase.

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Takase, H., Hayashi, K., Kin, F. et al. Dietary salt intake predicts future development of metabolic syndrome in the general population. Hypertens Res 46, 236–243 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41440-022-01035-7

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