Dietary Salt Intake Linked to Stomach Cancer Risk

A new study investigating a link between high salt intake and risk of stomach (gastric) cancers could add to increasing pressure for industry-wide sodium reduction, researchers have said.

The study – a meta-analysis of previous research published in Clinical Nutrition – investigated the relationship between habitual dietary salt intake and the risk of gastric cancer using data from nearly 270000 people. Using data from seven previous studies, the researchers reported to find “a graded positive association between salt consumption and incidence of gastric cancer.”

“Our pooled estimates indicate that habitual ‘high’ and ‘moderately high’ salt intake are associated with 68% and 41% greater risk of gastric cancer, respectively, compared with ‘low’ salt consumption,” said the research team leader.

Sodium is of course a vital nutrient and is necessary for the body to function, but the average daily salt consumption in the western world, between 10 and 12 grams, vastly exceeds maximum recommendations from WHO/FAO of 5 grams per day to control blood pressure levels and reduce hypertension prevalence and related health risks in populations.

In countries like the UK, Ireland, the USA, and other industrialized countries, over 80% of salt intake comes from processed food, and people therefore do not realize they are consuming it.

Researcher said that the latest findings “give another angle to salt reduction,” explaining that it adds into other evidence on cancer and cardiovascular disease to show that “reducing salt intakes globally needs to be a priority.”

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