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Eating Food High In Salt Can Damage Your Brain

Think twice before eating your french fries…

Can you imagine eating food without salt? Salt is a common condiment used across the globe. Pasta, french fries, burger, and pizza, among the most favorite foods people indulge in, are very high in sodium or salt.

Now, scientists are warning everyone against a high-salt diet because it may lead to a brain condition called dementia later in life.

A high-salt diet may damage the brain, leading to the development of dementia.

Source: Pixabay

A team of scientists at the Weill Cornell Medicine recently authored a study published in Nature Neuroscience. The findings of the study show that a high-salt diet reduced the resting cerebral blood flow by as much as 28 percent in the cortex and 25 percent in the hippocampus, the brain regions responsible for memory and learning.

Dr. Costantino Iadecola, the lead author of the study, said in a statement:

“We discovered that mice fed a HSD developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise. This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension.”

Lab rats were used for the study. They were given food that contains 4 percent or 8 percent salt, representing about an 8-to-16-fold-increase, which is similar to the high-end of human salt consumption.

After a period of eight weeks, the team assessed the mice using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

The results showed that the blood flow to the important memory regions in the brain has noticeably decreased.

Source: Pixabay

They found that there was an altered ability of the cells found in the blood vessel linings. There was a decrease of nitric oxide production, the gas that’s normally produced by the endothelial cells to relax the arteries and increase blood flow.

Aside from this, the scientists also found that high salt intake has led to the increase of interleukin 17 (IL-17) production, a protein that regulates immune responses. IL-17 also plays a major role in signaling a reduction in nitric oxide production.

When the scientists returned the mice to a low-salt diet, the blood flow to the brain returned to normal.

Source: Pixabay

The study is just one of the many others that hint the importance of a healthy diet. Dementia is a serious disease in later life and prevention is the best way to reduce the risk of having it.

In the United States, about 90 percent of American adults consume more sodium in their diets than the recommended 2,300 mg per day.


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