EDMONTON, Alberta, July 24 (UPI) -- Canadian researchers say people who eat high-salt diets tend to develop kidney stones and osteoporosis because when sodium leaves the body, so does calcium.
Principal investigator Todd Alexander and his team at the University of Alberta discovered an important link between sodium and calcium -- they both appear to be regulated by the same molecule in the body.
When sodium intake becomes too high, the body gets rid of sodium via urine, taking calcium with it, which depletes calcium stores in the body -- leading to the development of kidney stones, while inadequate levels of calcium in the body lead to thin bones and osteoporosis.
"When the body tries to get rid of sodium via the urine, our findings suggest the body also gets rid of calcium at the same time," Alexander said in a statement. "This is significant because we are eating more and more sodium in our diets, which means our bodies are getting rid of more and more calcium. Our findings reinforce why it is important to have a low-sodium diet and why it is important to have lower sodium levels in processed foods."
The study, published in American Journal of Physiology -- Renal Physiology, found a molecule that seems to have two jobs -- it regulates the levels of both calcium and sodium in the body.