Cardiovascular diseases and sodium reduction

Salt is an important nutrient if used in small doses: probably you are eating more sodium than your necessity. And sodium consumption is related with increase of blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases (CVD’S). Cardiovascular diseases (CVD’s) are a global problem that cause the death of over 17 million people only in 2008. More of 3 million of these deaths can be prevented and occurs in people aged less than 601.
Scientific evidence shows that simply reducing the population-wide sodium intake by 15% could prevent 8.5 million cardiovascular-related deaths worldwide over 10 years2.
More recently, the case for decreasing salt intake has been reinforced by the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) positive opinion, which concluded that there is a cause and effect relationship between high dietary sodium intake and increased blood pressure, and that a reduction in dietary sodium intake helps maintain normal blood pressure (ID 336)3.
Moreover with aging process the blood pressure rises. In a paper from 2011 it was stated that: ”a reduction in sodium intake, especially in older adults with low physical activity, may improve brain health in later life.
On the other hand, older adults who lead sedentary lifestyles and consume a large amount of sodium in their diet may be putting themselves at risk of more than just heart disease”.
Recognizing the significance of such studies and the potential benefits for the population and the economy, governments are pushing for population wide sodium reduction.
Besides the salt consumption there are risk factors such as behavioural and metabolic, in addition to other factors that vary greatly in nature, such as poverty and low educational status, advancing age and so on that contributes to increasing the risk of CVD’s.

The Salt world

The WHO recommends a population salt intake of less than 5 grams per person per day to help prevent CVD. It is estimated that decreasing dietary salt intake from the current global levels of 9–12 grams per day to the recommended level of 5 grams per day would have a major impact on blood pressure and CVD.

But which type of products contribute to sodium intake?
For example Americans get most of their daily sodium -more than 75%- from processed and restaurant foods4.

Major Food Group Contributors to Sodium intake

products with seaweed
Survey on Members States’ Implementation of the EU Salt Reduction Framework
Salt is largely used because does not change the organoleptic characteristics of a food while is a taste enhancer, a preservation agent and is useful for food processing.
These functions influence how, and if, sodium levels can be reduced in food5.
Thus, before replacing one ingredient with another, the impact of any changes must be understood before the finished product reaches the supermarket shelf.
But which are the Countries with an high consumption of salt?
In this case, in order to find an appropriate substitute for sodium chloride, the textural and organoleptic characteristics of the finished products must be evaluated - palatability, flavour, compactness, stability, elasticity, chewiness and shelf life.

It may be a valuable solution to replace the common salt that can be found in processed foods with natural ingredients, such as seaweed for example.

AlgeaFood: solutions applied at different food matrices

We tested AlgeaFood in different food matrices to show how it is possible to reduce the salt content by using a seaweed ingredient. .
Four different products, selected in order to test different targets:

Algea Salt ReplacerSAUCE
Mayonnaise with a little bit of mustard, the reduction of salt was 60%
Algea Salt Replacer READY FOODS
Tomato sauce with grouper, in order to reduce the salt of 50%
Tofu with spinach and seaweed, the salt reduction compared with the standard was around 50%
Algea Salt Replacer PROCESSED MEAT
Patè of meat with Arctic seaweed, the reduction of salt was 40%

The Test protocol

The aim of this test was to evaluate products with AlgeaFood Phyto Micro in order to reduce the quantity of salt and to compare with white products.
106 panelists were selected and individually interviewed for 30 minutes, the age was between 25 and 55, women (55%) and men (45%) that already used these products.
Restrictions: NO rejector of these kind of foods, no diet and no allergies to these kind of foods.

1st step

Blind taste of product number 1 with seaweeds
compared with the white
Blind taste of product number 2 with seaweeds
compared with the white

2nd step

Explain to panelists the differences between the two products: seaweed to reduce salt and only salt.
After that informed taste of product number 3 with seaweeds

3rd step

Placebo taste of product number 4 with a wrong information regarding the presence of seaweeds or only salt

The products used are alternate to have balanced results. Good results obtained: in blind, informed and placebo taste the results are positive.
Let’s see one case for the mayonnaise, for taste informed when people known which is the product with seaweed used to reduce salt and the product only with salt.
92% of the panelists would suggest food products with seaweed as a salt

AlgeaFood Phyto, a valuable salt replacer

AlgeaFood Phyto is a natural marine ingredient based on Norwegian seaweed.
It is phytocomplex powder with a natural content of alginates, fucoidans and other active ingredients, whose assumption is important for ensuring a healthy body.
AlgeaFood Phyto is used for producing food supplements in capsules, pills and tablets and it is useful both as an ingredient in functional foods.

Finally, there are a growing number of publications in scientific journals attempting to find new ways to replace sodium chloride without losing food flavour, and several of them are focusing on brown seaweeds.
To mention just a few of them, it has been shown that brown seaweeds can also be successfully used in low-salt meat products6 and in lowsalt seasonings7, and the benefits of their use are not only reduced amounts of sodium used.

For example, they can be used also to improve sodium/potassium balance, and the addition of significant quantities of Calcium and magnesium, dietary fibre, polyphenols and antioxidants, that can positively contribute to the antioxidant capacity of the food products.


AlgeaFood Phyto Micro as Salt Replace

Informed taste of mayonnaise AlgeFood Phyto Micro as salt replacer compared with salt.



1 Mendis S. et al., “Global Atlas on cardiovascular disease prevention and control”, World Health Organization, 2011
2 Keast, R. SJ, Hayes J. E., “Successful Sodium Reduction”, The World of Food Ingredients, September 2011
3 EFSA Journal 2011 at: here
4 Mattes RD, Donnelly D. Relative contributions of dietary sodium sources. J Am Coll Nutr. 1991;10:383–93
5 Lim, M., Wing, P. L., Salt Solutions, International Food Ingredients, (2) 2011
6 Jimenez-Colmenero F., Meat Science, 2010, 84(3):356-63. Sanchez-Machado DI, Biomed. Chromatogr.,2004, 18(3):183- 190. Lopez-Lopez I., Meat Science, 2009, Epub ahead of print
7 Ahern DA, J. Am. Diet Assoc., 1989, 89(7):935-8