Soluble paracetamol ‘presents a problem’ – Dr Xand

Dr Xand details the amount of salt we have in medication

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Appearing on BBC Morning Live on Monday, February 13, Dr Xand pointed out how taking soluble paracetamol, for example, could put your health in danger. Ingesting the maximum daily dosage of soluble paracetamol (eight tablets) exceeds the NHS sodium guideline.

At present, the NHS recommends adults should consume “no more than 6g of salt a day (2.4g sodium)”.

The associate professor, at University College London (UCL) Health of the Public, highlighted how eight tablets of soluble paracetamol is equivalent to 9.6g of sodium.

Eight tablets are the maximum dose of paracetamol a person is allowed to take within 24 hours, which is highlighted on the packaging.

The maximum daily dosage of soluble cold relief also exceeds the national 6g guideline, as the medicine equates to 8.4g.

As for eight tablets of aspirin, this too surpasses the NHS guideline as it contains 9.6g of sodium.

Anybody who has had a cold would know that taking the maximum of two tablets, four times daily, is easily done.

However, taking such a dosage means a “really large amount of sodium” is going into your body – and this is before considering a person’s diet.

Dr Xand said this “presents a problem, especially if you’re younger, if you’re smaller, [and] if you’ve got kidney problems, heart problems, or liver problems”.

The doctor said “everyone should be watching [their] sodium intake”, as it could lead to raised blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

The NHS adds: “If you routinely take an effervescent (dissolvable) vitamin supplement, or take effervescent painkillers when necessary, it’s worth remembering that these can contain up to 1g salt per tablet.

“You may therefore wish to consider changing to a non-effervescent tablet, particularly if you have been advised to watch or reduce your salt intake.”

The health body also advises people to “look out for the salt content in the everyday foods you buy”.

Bread and breakfast cereals, for example, “can contribute a lot of salt to our diet”, depending on the brand and varieties.

By comparing brands, and choosing the ones lower in salt, you could cut down your sodium intake.

Other labelled foods worth looking at include:

  • Bread products such as crumpets, bagels and ciabatta
  • Pasta sauces
  • Crisps
  • Pizza
  • Ready meals
  • Soup
  • Sandwiches
  • Sausages
  • Tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and other sauces.

High-salt foods, that should be eaten “less often”, include:

  • Anchovies
  • Bacon
  • Cheese
  • Gravy granules
  • Ham
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Prawns
  • Salami
  • Salted and dry-roasted nuts
  • Salt fish
  • Smoked meat and fish
  • Soy sauce
  • Stock cubes
  • Yeast extract.

Salt and blood pressure

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “Some sodium in our diet is good because it helps our kidneys to control the amount of water in our blood.

“If we eat too much sodium, water is pulled back into our bloodstream. The more water in our blood vessels, the higher our blood pressure gets.”

High blood pressure puts you at risk of: heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and vascular dementia.

When it comes to different types of salt, such as rock salt or pink salt, the BHF says they all affect your blood pressure “in the same way table salt does”.

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