Reducing dietary sodium to 1000 mg per day reduces neurovascular transduction without stimulating sympathetic outflow

Matthew C. Babcock, Austin T. Robinson, Kamila U. Migdal, Joseph C. Watso, Megan M. Wenner, Sean D. Stocker, William B. Farquhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1500 mg of sodium/day as ideal. Some cohort studies suggest low-sodium intake is associated with increased cardiovascular mortality. Extremely low-sodium diets (≤500 mg/d) elicit activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and stimulate sympathetic outflow. The effects of an American Heart Association-recommended diet on sympathetic regulation of the vasculature are unclear. Therefore, we assessed whether a 1000 mg/d diet alters sympathetic outflow and sympathetic vascular transduction compared with the more commonly recommended 2300 mg/d. We hypothesized that sodium reduction from 2300 to 1000 mg/d would not affect resting sympathetic outflow but would reduce sympathetic transduction in healthy young adults. Seventeen participants (age: 26±2 years, 9F/8M) completed 10-day 2300 and 1000 mg/d sodium diets in this randomized controlled feeding study (crossover). We measured resting renin activity, angiotensin II, aldosterone, blood pressure, muscle sympathetic nerve activity, and norepinephrine. We quantified beat-by-beat changes in mean arterial pressure and leg vascular conductance (femoral artery ultrasound) following spontaneous sympathetic bursts to assess sympathetic vascular transduction. Reducing sodium to 1000 mg/d increased renin activity, angiotensin II, and aldosterone (P<0.01 for all) but did not alter mean arterial pressure (78±2 versus 77±2 mm Hg, P=0.56), muscle sympathetic nerve activity (13.9±1.3 versus 13.9±0.8 bursts/min, P=0.98), or plasma/urine norepinephrine. Sympathetic vascular transduction decreased (P<0.01). These data suggest that reducing sodium from 2300 to 1000 mg/d stimulates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, does not increase resting basal sympathetic outflow, and reduces sympathetic vascular transduction in normotensive adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-593
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • aldosterone
  • angiotensins
  • blood pressure
  • hypertension
  • renin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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