A new research study is challenging current sodium consumption guidelines. It says, higher sodium intake should not be used as a treatment for lightheadedness. Lightheadedness while standing, known as postural lightheadedness, results from a gravitational drop in blood pressure and is common among adults.
Higher sodium intake is widely viewed as a way of preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions. Challenging this recommendation, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) found that higher sodium intake actually increases dizziness.
Stephen Juraschek, a researcher from BIDMC in Boston said, "Our study has clinical and research implications. The results serve to caution health practitioners against recommending increased sodium intake as a universal treatment for lightheadedness. Additionally, our results demonstrate the need for additional research to understand the role of sodium, and more broadly of diet, on lightheadedness.”
The team used data from the completed DASH-Sodium trial, a randomised crossover study that looked at the effects of three different sodium levels (1500, 2300, and 3300 mg/d) on participants' blood pressure for four weeks, for the purpose of the study.
The findings suggested that concerns about a lower level of sodium causing dizziness may not be scientifically correct.
"Health practitioners initiating sodium interventions for orthostatic symptoms now have some evidence that sodium might actually worsen symptoms," Juraschek said.
"Clinicians should check on symptoms after initiation and even question the utility of this approach. More importantly, research is needed to understand the effects of sodium on physical function, particularly in older adults."