Don't Be Salty: Aging Effects of Sodium and Obesity

Have an overweight teenager who loves chips? Fast food?

You may want to consider this study conducted by the Medical College of Georgia (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25869605), which showed a strong connection between sodium and early aging effects on overweight young people.

Aging occurs when telomeres, or protective ends on chromosomes, become shortened. While this happens naturally over time, many habits such as smoking or high body fat content can shorten these telomeres and speed up the aging process.

According to Dr. Haidong Zhu, “High sodium intake and obesity may act synergistically to accelerate cellular aging.” When combined with sodium, the already at-risk situation caused by inflammation from obesity is magnified, leading to premature aging.

Sticking to the American Heart Association’s recommended amount of 1500mg/day (about 2/3 teaspoon) of sodium is the best way to help prevent this effect, although most people consume more than twice that amount daily. Offer more water and fresh foods, and keep an eye out for high-sodium packaged or processed foods. With proper diet and exercise, your teen can be on the road to living a healthier, happier, and longer life.