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According to the Study of Excess Salt and Deficiency of Potassium Lower Cognitive

According to the Study of Excess Salt and Deficiency of Potassium Lower Cognitive – According to the Study of Excess Salt and Deficiency of Potassium Lower Cognitive. Anything in excess is bad, especially sodium or salt. Can increase the risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases, the recommendation for limiting salt intake from the Ministry of Health is 50 mg/person/day or the equivalent of 1 teaspoon.

Potassium is known to balance the effects of sodium in the body. However, what happens when the effect is unequal? Recent studies warn that if potassium consumption is not commensurate with salt, then cognitive health is at stake!

Involving thousands of elderly people in China

So far, research on the relationship between sodium and potassium intake is still inconclusive. Published in the journal Global Transitions in early November 2022, Chinese researchers wanted to examine the relationship between these three variables.

The research titled “Association of dietary sodium, potassium, sodium/potassium, and salt with objective and subjective cognitive function among the elderly in China” used data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) for the period 1997–2006. A total of 4,213 participants aged at least 50 years were involved in this study.

For 3 days, the participants self-reported their intake. Then, the participants examined the cognitive status of the participants through memory and math tests. In addition, the researchers also tested the participants’ memory and changes in memory over the course of the study.

Results: Excessive salt intake reduces the cognitive function of the elderly

In the study, participants were divided into four groups according to intake of sodium (from almost 3,000 mg/day to more than 8,000 mg/day) and potassium (from almost 1,300 mg/day to more than 1,700 mg/day).

The researchers found that the higher the potassium intake, the higher the cognitive test scores. On the other hand, high sodium intake is associated with decreased memory. When salt intake is balanced with potassium, cognitive test scores improve. Therefore, increasing potassium and reducing sodium was found to have benefits for the brain.

A researcher from Tsinghua University, Ai Zhao, PhD., said that increasing potassium and reducing sodium levels in the body can be beneficial for the cognitive health of the elderly. Even so, Ai emphasized that salt intake does not have a direct impact on cognitive health.

Excessive? Wrong. Deficiency? More wrong!

This research explains that consuming too much sodium is not good for cognitive health. Excess sodium triggers water retention in the body and triggers high blood pressure which increases cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, linked to cognitive decline, and brain shrinkage.

Does that mean you can’t eat salt? Not really. Sodium deficiency can affect insulin regulation to cause hyponatremia. Various studies have shown that hyponatremia has the potential to cause cognitive decline in the elderly group. So, consume salt in moderation!

Lack of such studies

Researchers claim this is the first study to look for a link between potassium, sodium and cognitive decline. Even so, the researchers noted several shortcomings that need to be corrected in future studies, such as:

  • Collected eating data for 3 days only (did not reflect long-term eating patterns of participants, and no known intake of other sodium, such as from processed foods or outside the home).
  • Apart from sodium, this study has the potential to miss other components that can cause decreased cognitive function.
  • With telephone interviews, it is difficult to check for cognitive decline.
  • Self-reporting increases the risk of errors in data collection and processing.
  • This research was conducted on a specific population, so the results may not necessarily be applicable to other, more diverse populations.

Ai explained that this study does not mean blaming sodium for cognitive decline. Even so, because around 53.5 percent of Indonesians consume more than 2,000 mg of salt/day, the results of this study can serve as a warning to control yourself.

Prefer potassium over sodium

By suppressing salt intake, it’s a good idea to start paying attention to our potassium intake for cognitive health. Permenkes No. 29/2019 concerning the Recommended RDA for Indonesian Society notes that adult men and women (19–29 years) need 4,700 mg/person/day.

Doubt can count it? Don’t hesitate to consult a specialist doctor or nutritionist. The Ministry of Health and BPOM RI also continue to encourage the Indonesian people to be more vigilant in checking nutritional information on packaged food labels so that their eating patterns become healthier.

Ai said that people can also start choosing foods rich in potassium and low in sodium. These foods are:

  • Banana.
  • Avocado.
  • Dry fruits.
  • Green leafy vegetables.
  • Potato.

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