Low-salt diet increases insulin resistance in healthy subjects

Published:November 01, 2010DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2010.09.005


      Low-salt (LS) diet activates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone and sympathetic nervous systems, both of which can increase insulin resistance (IR). We investigated the hypothesis that LS diet is associated with an increase in IR in healthy subjects. Healthy individuals were studied after 7 days of LS diet (urine sodium <20 mmol/d) and 7 days of high-salt (HS) diet (urine sodium >150 mmol/d) in a random order. Insulin resistance was measured after each diet and compared statistically, unadjusted and adjusted for important covariates. One hundred fifty-two healthy men and women, aged 39.1 ± 12.5 years (range, 18-65) and with body mass index of 25.3 ± 4.0 kg/m2, were included in this study. Mean (SD) homeostasis model assessment index was significantly higher on LS compared with HS diet (2.8 ± 1.6 vs 2.4 ± 1.7, P < .01). Serum aldosterone (21.0 ± 14.3 vs 3.4 ± 1.5 ng/dL, P < .001), 24-hour urine aldosterone (63.0 ± 34.0 vs 9.5 ± 6.5 μg/d, P < .001), and 24-hour urine norepinephrine excretion (78.0 ± 36.7 vs 67.9 ± 39.8 μg/d, P < .05) were higher on LS diet compared with HS diet. Low-salt diet was significantly associated with higher homeostasis model assessment index independent of age, sex, blood pressure, body mass index, serum sodium and potassium, serum angiotensin II, plasma renin activity, serum and urine aldosterone, and urine epinephrine and norepinephrine. Low-salt diet is associated with an increase in IR. The impact of our findings on the pathogenesis of diabetes and cardiovascular disease needs further investigation.
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