Dementia is a disease that affects a person’s ability to remember, think, and make decisions, making it difficult to perform daily activities. It has become one of the leading causes of death and disability in the elderly worldwide. In China, which has the largest elderly population and one of the fastest aging populations, dementia has economic, health and social implications.
Because dementia is irreversible and effective treatments are limited, early detection and prevention of cognitive decline is critical. Studies show that certain lifestyle factors, such as exercise, diet, and sleep, can affect cognitive function. However, the effects of dietary sodium and potassium on cognitive function are not well understood.
In a prospective study published in the journal KeAi International transfers, a group of researchers from China looked at the effects of dietary sodium, potassium, sodium-to-potassium ratio, and salt on cognitive function in a group of elderly people in China. Participants were 4,213 and at least 50 years of age at baseline. Results are based on cognitive tests and participants’ self-reports.
The research team found that high sodium intake (>5593.2 mg/day) and high sodium-to-potassium ratio (>3.8/day) increase the risk of memory impairment in the elderly. Conversely, high potassium levels (>1653.3 mg/day) were associated with higher cognitive scores; The mean cognitive test score (13.44 at baseline, total score 27.00) increased by ~1 point when 1000 mg/day of sodium was replaced by an equal intake of potassium.
The researchers also built on previous studies of the effects of dietary sodium, sodium-to-potassium ratio, and potassium on cognitive function through cardiovascular disease (CVD), while the link between salt and cognitive function was mediated by sleep. could be.
Although China has tried for more than a decade to limit salt and sodium in people’s diets, the population’s intake is still alarmingly high, higher than many countries, and the World Health Organization recommends 1400 mg/day of sodium for people aged 50-79. year and 5 grams / salt. This high salt intake is typically accompanied by inadequate potassium intake (1499.0 mg/day in this study versus the Chinese recommended 3600 mg/day).
The results of the study also confirmed previous findings about how these nutrients affect cognitive function, rather than looking at the ratio of sodium to potassium at specific sodium or potassium values.
Corresponding author Yi Zhao added, “Based on our findings, it’s reasonable to think that reducing sodium intake and actually increasing potassium intake is beneficial for cognitive function.” Based on our results and the nutritional status of Chinese people, it will be important for future studies to focus on determining the dietary sodium and potassium levels in the elderly. In addition, developing strategies to improve the sodium-potassium ratio in Chinese foods should be prioritized.
Reference: “Association of Dietary Sodium, Potassium, Sodium/Potassium, and Salt with Objective and Objective Cognitive Function in the Elderly in China: A Prospective Cohort Study” by Xiaona Na, Menglu Xi, Yiguo Zhou, Jiaqi Yang, Jian Zhang, Yuandi Xi, Yucheng. Yang, Haibing Yang and Ai Zhao, 3 Nov 2022; International transfers.
The study was funded by the Sanming Medical Project.