Study Links Sodium With Increased Type 2 Diabetes Risk

New research suggests sodium, a component of table salt, is associated with a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), and Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA).

LADA is a form of type 1 diabetes where insulin producing pancreatic cells are slowly destroyed over many years by the body’s immune system. It is sometimes mistakenly diagnosed as T2D.

The study, carried out by Swedish and Finnish researchers, utilized data from a diabetes risk-factor investigation to compare 355 LADA, and 1,136 T2D cases to a group of 1,379 individuals without diabetes. Food intake was recorded via a diet questionnaire, from which calories, nutrients, and sodium intake were calculated. Genetic and other risk factors for diabetes were taken into account, including sex, BMI, family history, and physical activity.

The investigators found those with the highest sodium intake, above 3.15 grams per day, had a 58 percent greater risk for T2D onset compared to the lowest sodium intake group, using under 2.4 grams per day. (Since salt is only 40 percent sodium by weight, 3.15 grams of sodium translates to 7.9 grams of table salt; and 2.4 grams of sodium is found in 6.0 grams of table salt. There are 4.93 grams of salt in one teaspoon.)

The influence of sodium on the risk for LADA onset was even greater. People at high genetic risk for the condition, whose sodium intake was in the high range (above 3.15 grams per day), were nearly four times more likely to develop LADA than those in the lowest sodium group (under 2.4 grams per day).

“We confirm an association between sodium intake and type 2 diabetes,” concluded the study authors, and find that “high sodium intake may be a risk factor for LADA, especially in high risk…genotypes. These findings may have important implications in the primary prevention of diabetes with adult onset.”

Source: Science Daily; Reference
Photo credit: Dubravko Soric

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