A diet high in salt and low in potassium can increase the risk of cognitive decline

The concept of brain neuroscience

Cognitive decline refers to the progressive decline in cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, and problem-solving. It is a normal part of aging, but it can also be caused by various medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It can also be caused by certain lifestyle choices, such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, and social isolation.

Dementia is a debilitating condition that affects a person’s ability to remember, think and make decisions, making it difficult to perform daily activities. It has become one of the leading causes of death and disability among the elderly worldwide. In China, which has the largest number of elderly people and one of the fastest aging populations, dementia poses significant economic, health and social challenges.

Because dementia is irreversible and effective treatments are limited, preventing cognitive decline and detecting it early is critical. Studies have shown that certain lifestyle factors such as physical activity, diet, and sleep can affect cognitive function. However, the effect of dietary sodium and potassium on cognitive function remains poorly understood.

In a prospective study published in the journal KeAi Global transfersA group of researchers from China studied the effect of sodium, potassium, and the ratio of sodium to potassium and salt on the cognitive function of a group of elderly people in China. The number of participants was 4213 and they were at least 50 years old at baseline. Results are based on cognitive tests and participants’ self-reports.

Salt, potassium and memory chart

Association of average sodium-potassium intake, sodium/potassium-salt intake, and self-reported memory. Form 1 is adjusted for age, gender, location of residence, region of residence, educational level, work status, marital status, levels of physical activity, and smoking and drinking habits. Model 2 was adjusted for energy, carbohydrate, protein, and fat (potassium intake additively adjusted for the sodium intake model and sodium for the potassium model) based on Model 1. Model 3 was adjusted for body mass index, sleep time, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, and cognition test scores at the line Basis based on Model 2. Abbreviations: Q1-Q4, quartile 1-quartile 4; or, odds ratios; CI, confidence interval; body mass index and body mass index. The orange squares indicate a significant correlation (P < 0.05). Credit: Xiaona Na

The research team found that a high sodium intake (>5593.2 mg/day) and a high sodium-to-potassium ratio (>3.8/day) increased the risk of memory impairment in the elderly. Conversely, higher levels of potassium intake (>1653.3 mg/day) were associated with a higher cognitive score. The average cognitive test score (13.44 at baseline, overall score was 27.00) increased by approximately 1 point when 1000 mg/day of sodium was replaced with an equal amount of potassium.

In addition, the researchers built on previous studies by demonstrating that the effects of dietary sodium, the sodium-to-potassium ratio, and potassium on cognitive function have the potential to be mediated by cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease (CCVD), while the link between salt and cognition . The function may be mediated by sleep.

Although China has attempted to restrict salt and sodium in people’s diets for more than a decade, the population’s intake remains alarmingly high, outpacing many other countries and the World Health Organization’s recommendation of a maximum of 1,400 mg/day of sodium for people aged between Their ages are between 50 and 79 years old. years and 5g/day salt. This high salt intake is usually accompanied by inadequate potassium intake (1499.0 mg/day in this study versus the recommended level from China of 3600 mg/day).

The study results also confirm previous findings that the ratio of dietary sodium to potassium can provide a better measure of how these elements affect cognitive function, rather than looking at separate values ​​for sodium or potassium.

Corresponding author, Ai Zhao, adds: “Based on our findings, it is reasonable to suggest that decreasing sodium intake, and properly increasing potassium intake, is beneficial for cognitive function. Given our findings and the nutritional status of Chinese, it will be important that future studies focus on determining The optimal ratio of sodium and potassium in the diet in the elderly.In addition, developing strategies to improve the ratio of sodium to potassium in Chinese diets should be a priority.”

Reference: “Association of sodium, potassium, sodium/potassium, and salt with objective and subjective cognitive function among elderly people in China: a prospective cohort study” by Xiaona Na, Menglu Xi, Yiguo Zhou, Jiaqi Yang, Jian Zhang, Yuandi Shi, Yucheng Yang, Haiping Yang, and Ai Chow, Nov. 3, 2022, Available here. Global transfers.
DOI: 10.1016/j.glt.2022.10.002

The study was funded by the Sanming Medicine Project.

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