• Cardiovascular

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Are you using a salt substitute?

a man sprinkling salt on a meat dish in a restaurant

Salt substitutes can be an effective way to help lower your blood pressure and fight heart disease. But experts warn that overuse of certain salt substitutes or alternatives can be dangerous for some people. 

Dr. Regis Fernandes, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, explains why you should use caution with using a salt substitute.

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Cutting back on salt is one of the best ways to lower your risk of heart disease.

"Salt increases our blood pressure, and high blood pressure is associated with a higher cardiovascular risk, so stroke for instance," says Dr. Fernandes.

It's the sodium chloride in table salt that can be bad for your heart. People often turn to salt substitutes as a healthy alternative.

"They don't have sodium chloride, but they have potassium chloride. So for people that are trying not to eat too much potassium, they have to be careful with that," he says.

Dr. Fernandes says use caution if you have certain conditions, including, kidney, heart and liver disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Certain medications, like angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE inhibitors), can also pose a risk. 

So before turning to a salt substitute or an alternative, Dr. Fernandes recommends checking with your health care team.

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