The majority of Americans eat far too much salt each day. A new study shows that there may be a gene linked to higher sodium intake, which could explain a lot.

Gene Linked to Higher Sodium Intake

Researchers have found that there is a gene that makes bitter foods taste even more bitter for certain people. As a result, these people add more salt to their foods, like broccoli, to mask the taste.

A study found that women who were overweight or obese had two or more cardiovascular risks, and had a specific gene variant were more twice as likely to eat more than the recommended amount of sodium than their peers. This may explain the fact that they tasted bitterness more so than their peers.

Jennifer Smith from the University of Kentucky stated, “This confirms our hypothesis that having the bitter-taste genotype did influence sodium consumption,” while adding that the results “are an important step in determining how genotypes affect eating behavior and how eventually that can affect our cardiovascular health.”

Personalized medicine is on the rise because of reasons like this. Each person varies greatly from the next, meaning their problems need specific cures.

Dr. Mariell Jessup from the University of Pennsylvania Heart and Vascular Center said, “If patients understood why they crave salt, it might help them curb it a little bit.”

Understanding that your genetic sensitivity to certain tastes can help people realize it’s a real issue, not just a personal preference of flavor.

Another Study

Another study took 407 participants from a cardiovascular risk reduction clinic in Kentucky, with an average age of 51. Out of the group, 73% were women and 93% were Caucasian. All had two or more cardiovascular risk factors.

The majority of the group did not smoke and had a BMI (body mass index) of 30%. About a third of the group were taking ACE inhibitors, while 19% were taking an ARB.

Using factors like age, BMI, gender, whether they smoked or not, and if they used an ACE inhibitor or ARB, Smith found that participants with CC homozygotes were twice as likely to eat more than the recommended about of salt that participants with GG or CG genotypes.

About 80% of Caucasians carry this genotype.

However, researchers need to conduct more studies to fully see how the variant affects patients, as well as any other dietary factors.