When sodium leaves a body, it takes calcium along with it, creating risk for kidney stones and osteoporosis.
Medical researchers at the University of Alberta recently discovered an important link between sodium and calcium. These both appear to be regulated by the same molecule in the body.
When sodium intake becomes too high, the body gets rid of sodium via the urine, taking calcium with it, which depletes calcium stores in the body. High levels of calcium in the urine lead to the development of kidney stones, while inadequate levels of calcium in the body lead to thin bones and osteoporosis.
The researchers say, "these findings are significant because we are eating more and more sodium in our diets, which means our bodies are getting rid of more and more calcium. Our findings reinforce why it is important to have a low-sodium diet and why it is important to have lower sodium levels in processed foods."
It's been known for a long time that this important molecule was responsible for sodium absorption in the body, but the discovery that it also plays a role in regulating calcium levels is new.
In their research, the team worked with lab models that didn't have this important molecule, so the models' urine contained high levels of calcium. Because calcium was not absorbed and retained by the body, bones became thin.
Data in the United States shows that nearly 10% of adults will have a kidney stone at least once in their life. The prevalence of kidney stones also seems to be increasing, which may be attributed to high rates of obesity and diabetes, and possibly increased salt intake.
Source: American Journal of Physiology -- Renal Physiology
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