Here's How A Salt-Rich Diet Affects Your Brain

Khryss | Published 2018-01-31 08:16

Beyond heart problems and high blood pressure, here's what you should know.

Researchers fed mice a super salty diet to know its effects on the brain. “The brain is a prime target of the harmful effects of salt,” the study reads. “We report that mice fed a high-salt diet develop marked cerebral hypoperfusion and a profound alteration in the endothelial regulation of the cerebral microcirculation, leading to subsequent cognitive impairment.”

To test this, they fed mice 8 to 16 times their normal salt intake as it is “comparable to the high end of the spectrum of human salt consumption”. Apparently, this led to a reduction of blood flow in both the cortex and hippocampus which led to declined mental performance and cognitive impairment.

"After about three months, the mice became demented," Dr Costantino Iadecola, director of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, told ABC Australian News.  Maze-solving now became more difficult and worse, it came to a point where some stopped responding normally to a flick of their whisker!

"Mice are very curious and they like to look for new things, and so over time the mouse lost the ability to identify a normal object.”

This happens even when there's an absence of high blood pressure, suggesting that it's not just the vascular health that's affected. Further investigation confirmed this, showing that such high doses of salt were actually causing an immune response in their small intestine. This consequently led to an increased circulation of interleukin-17, an inflammatory substance that can affect chemical firings within the brain's blood vessels.

Well, even if this is just tested in mice, you might want to be safe and limit your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day or just about one teaspoon of salt.

Don't get salty!

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