Salt - Health Effects - Recommended Intake

Recommended Intake

Recommended intakes of salt are usually expressed in terms of sodium intake. Salt (as sodium chloride) contains 39.3 percent of sodium by weight.

Country Description Sodium intake
mg per day
Salt intake
mg per day
Authority Remarks
United Kingdom The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) defined for a typical adult RNI: 1600 RNI: 4000 Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) (2003) However, average adult intake is two and a half times the RNI. SACN states, "The target salt intakes set for adults and children do not represent ideal or optimum consumption levels, but achievable population goals." The Food Safety Authority of Ireland endorses the UK targets.
Canada An Adequate Intake (AI) and Upper Limit (UL) recommended for persons aged 9 years or more. AI: 1200–1500
UL: 2200–2300
AI: 3000–3750
UL: 5500–5750
Health Canada (2005)
Australia and New Zealand An Adequate Intake (AI) and an Upper Level of intake (UL) defined for adults AI: 460–920
UL: 2300
AI: 1150–2300
UL: 5750
NHMRC (2006) Not able to define a recommended dietary intake (RDI)
United States An Upper Limit (UL) defined for adults. A different upper limit defined for the special group comprising people over 51 years of age, African Americans and people with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease (regardless of age). UL: 2300
UL for special group: 1500
UL: 5750
UL for special group: 3750
Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services (2010) The Food and Drug Administration itself does not make a recommendation, but refers readers to the dietary guidelines given by this authority.

A 2009 meta-analysis found that the sodium consumption of 19,151 individuals from 33 countries fit into the narrow range of 2,700 to 4,900 mg/day. The small range across many cultures, together with animal studies, suggest that sodium intake is tightly controlled by feedback loops in the body, making recommendations to reduce sodium consumption below 2,700 mg/day potentially futile.

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