REDUCING salt intake can cut down night-time toilet trips for a pee, for people over the age of 60, according to a new study presented during the recent European Society of Urology congress in London.
Medical experts say people aged 60 or above tend to wake up once or more times during the night to go to the toilet, thus disrupting their sleep patterns which can lead to other problems such as stress, irritability or tiredness.
The new research suggests that a slight dietary tweak can help tackle the problem.
“Night-time urination is a real problem for many people, especially as they get older. This work holds out the possibility that a simple dietary modification might significantly improve the quality of life for many people,” said lead researcher Matsuo Tomohiro from Nagasaki University in Japan.
The researchers studied a group of 321 men and women who had a high salt intake and had problems sleeping.
The patients were given guidance and support to reduce salt consumption. They were monitored for 12 weeks, and salt consumption measured biochemically. As a result of the intervention, 223 members of the group were able to reduce their salt intake from 10.7 gm per day to 8.0 gm per day.
In this group, the average night-time frequency of urination dropped from 2.3 times per night to 1.4 times. In contrast, 98 per cent increased their average salt intake from 9.6 gm per night to 11.0 gm per night, and they found that the need to urinate increased from 2.3 times per night to 2.7 times per night.
The researchers also found that daytime urination was reduced when salt in the diet was reduced.
“This is the first study to measure how salt intake affects the frequency of going to the bathroom, so we need to confirm the work with larger studies,” Tomohiro said.
However, Salim Yusuf, Professor at McMaster University in Canada, has warned that reducing salt intake to overly low levels undermines the body’s natural balance. He said: “Studies show below three grams of sodium per day increase mortality, heart attack and heart failure.”