Older women who consume too much salt put themselves at greater risk of non-vertebral fractures regardless of their bone density, the findings of a Japanese study indicate. The results were presented earlier this month at the San Francisco-hosted annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.
A non-vertebral fracture is one occurring anywhere in the skeleton apart from the spine. As numerous studies have established, hip fractures are particularly dangerous because they can result in substantial disability, sometimes even death. Kiyoko Nawata, lead author of the Japanese study and professor of health and nutrition at the University of Shimane, said that excessive salt consumption appeared to be linked to higher risk of bone fragility. This makes it very important to pay attention to sodium intake when osteoporosis dietary therapy is considered, she added.
The study involved 213 post-menopausal women, whose average age was 63. All the subjects had been screened for osteoporosis. The research team established that the average salt consumption for the entire group was 5,211 mg per day, while the highest amount consumed averaged 7,561 mg. Nawata pointed out that the latter represented the sodium equivalent of more than seven double cheeseburgers from McDonald´s. The women with the highest salt intake were 4.1 times more likely to have suffered a non-vertebral fracture in comparison with women consuming less salt. The risk remained higher even when other factors were taken into consideration, such as age, bone mineral density, body mass index, calcium and vitamin D consumption, blood level of vitamin D, balance and muscle strength.