Background: Subclinical arterial damage (SAD) (arteriosclerosis, arterial remodeling and atheromatosis) pre-exists decades before cardiovascular disease (CVD) onset. Worldwide, sodium (Na) intake is almost double international recommendations and has been linked with CVD and death, although in a J-shape manner. Studies regarding dietary Na and major types of SAD may provide pathophysiological insight into the association between Na and CVD. Objectives: Systematic review of data derived from observational and interventional studies in humans, investigating the association between dietary Na with (i) atheromatosis (arterial plaques); (ii) arteriosclerosis (various biomarkers of arterial stiffness); (iii) arterial remodeling (intima–media thickening and arterial lumen diameters). Data sources: Applying the PRISMA criteria, the PubMed and Scopus databases were used. Results: 36 studies were included: 27 examining arteriosclerosis, four arteriosclerosis and arterial remodeling, three arterial remodeling, and two arterial remodeling and atheromatosis. Conclusions: (i) Although several studies exist, the evidence does not clearly support a clinically meaningful and direct (independent from blood pressure) effect of Na on arterial wall stiffening; (ii) data regarding the association of dietary Na with arterial remodeling are limited, mostly suggesting a positive trend between dietary Na and arterial hypertrophy but still inconclusive; (iii) as regards to atheromatosis, data are scarce and the available studies present high heterogeneity. Further state-of-the-art interventional studies must address the remaining controversies.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited