Hormonal adaptation to the stresses imposed upon sodium balance by pregnancy and lactation in the Yanomama Indians, a culture without salt.
The Yanomama Indians of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela have been identified as a "no-salt" culture. In this study, data were obtained to determine in this population the adjustments of sodium-related hormones to the stresses imposed upon sodium balance by pregnancy and prolonged lactation. Controls against the possibility that findings in the Yanomama were ethnic rather than dietary were provided by similar observations in the Guaymi Indians of Panama, who have free access to salt. Urinary concentrations of sodium were approximately 1 mEq/l in male and female Yanomama, with 24-hour excretion rates in the males averaging 1 mEq, similar to our prior observation. The pregnant Yanomama had exceeding high urinary concentrations of aldosterone. These were associated with higher plasma renin activities and serum aldosterone concentrations than in all other subjects. Although pregnant Guaymi had elevations of serum and urinary aldosterone, these were significantly lower (p < 0.001) than those of the Yanomama. Prolonged lactation in the Yanomama was associated with elevation of plasma renin activity and serum and urinary aldosterone concentration compared with the Guaymi, but were not higher than those in nonlactating Yanomama females. The findings suggest that pregnancy in a salt-poor environment is associated with an exaggerated augmentation of hormonal responses that enhance positive sodium balance.
- Copyright © 1981 by American Heart Association