How much salt should you eat? Should you avoid salt altogether?
If you've been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, you may have found yourself asking these questions, and with good reason. The relationship between salt (sodium) consumption and bone health is a complicated one. As authors of this recent study published in Scientific Research state, "There is wide controversy in the relationship between dietary sodium intake and the risk of osteoporosis."
According to the study, high dietary salt has been linked to a decrease in bone mineral density. However, too much salt isn't the only problem. This study looked at the link between a low salt diet and bone health. They found that eating low amounts of dietary salt (defined as less than 2,000 mg per day) was an independent predictor of early onset of osteoporosis, and that this was different for men vs women and for women during different stages of menopause. While this was just an initial study, the authors concluded that further studies need to examine larger groups of the population and need to measure and compare salt consumption with changes in hormone levels.
So, what's the takeaway? Eat a balanced diet (that is neither too high nor too low in salt) to get all of the nutrients your bones need.