I have a Google alert set up to email me once a day with any news items that contain the phrases “low sodium” or “low salt.” (Yes, I am a big nerd. Moving on…)
In today’s batch of stories, one in particular caught my eye. The headline read “New drug can lower salt intake without any dietary changes.” To summarize, drug manufacturer Ardelyx has created a medication called tenapanor, which blocks dietary sodium absorption by the bloodstream. The majority of dietary sodium instead remains in the gut and eventually leaves the body as waste.
Lead researcher Dominique Charmot says ““It’s fair to say that asking patients to maintain a low-sodium diet is very hard to do.…Most of the food additives contain sodium; people who eat in restaurants cannot control sodium; plus, food is bland without sodium. Also there’s a risk if you go too low in sodium, you also diminish nutrient composition which is needed for you to thrive. So we believe this drug can help patients comply with a more normal diet.”
On my worst days, when low sodium meal planning seems like a tiresome chore, I would be lying if I said I never wished there was a pill that would make it so I could just eat whatever I wanted. But now that there may be one on the horizon, I’m not sure I would have the “guts” to take it. Aside from the possible side effects and costs of being dependent on a medication, I don’t believe I could take a pill every day that basically allowed me to abdicate responsibility for my own health and diet choices.
I realize that my situation may be different from others. My low sodium diet is a choice, not a life-saving necessity as it is with some heart or kidney patients. So maybe other people will look at this option differently.
What do you think? Would you take a pill that allowed you to eat as much sodium as you wanted?