Salt (sodium chloride; NaCl) is an essential biological molecule, and is present in most foods. The amounts of salt vary, however, between food sources, prepared foods and processed foods. Intake of dietary salt in the latter two can readily be controlled.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a common affliction that can lead to strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease. A variety of medications are prescribed by physicians to reduce blood pressure, in attempts to decrease the patient's likelihood of having future health problems.
Essential hypertension (also called primary or idiopathic hypertension) is the most common type of high blood pessure (approximately 95% of affected individuals). Dietary salt can contribute to increased blood pressure, and healtcare providers frequently recommend reducing salt intake. A number of scientific studies have identified specific genetic variants that cause an individual to be more sensitive to developing hypertension in response to dietary salt. Knowledge of one's own genetic variants can allow the individual to be proactive in adjusting their dietary salt intake for improved health.
The ACE gene encodes angiotensin converting enzyme, which is involved in vasoconstriction and vasodilation of blood vessels. There are two forms of this gene. One includes a 287 base pair insertion (I form of the gene) that is not present in the D form of the ACE gene. Individuals with one or two copies of the ACE I gene (approximately half the population) are salt sensitive. This means that excess dietary salt inreases blood pressure in these individuals.
By taking this genetic test, you will learn your ACE genotype (D/D, D/I or I/I). Individuals with the D/I or I/I genotypes are salt sensitive, and should limit their dietary salt consumption. Your comprehensive test result report will include recommended daily salt allowances bassed on your ACE genotype.