If Americans reduce their sodium intake by as little as a teaspoon a day and increase that gradually over a decade, up to a half million lives could be saved. Using a computer, researchers projected that would lead to a reduction in daily salt intake by about forty percent and save between two hundred eighty thousand and a half million lives. If those reductions could be reached in a shorter time, then several hundred thousand more lives could be saved.
Americans consume about 3,600 milligrams of sodium a day which is more than twice the recommended amount. About 80% comes from commercially prepared and processed foods.
Doctors say excessive sodium can lead to high blood pressure which increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association.