High Salt Intake A Potential Risk Factor For MS

shutterstock_304638383Salt has long been a part of man’s daily diet. Everyone knows that too much of it can be unhealthy. They can lead to certain conditions and diseases that can affect a person’s lifestyle. One recent finding that can also convince people to curb their salt intake involves multiple sclerosis, one of those diseases that are currently still considered incurable.

Researchers from the University of Vermont have indicated that diets high in sodium may possibly be a possible risk factor for the development of multiple sclerosis by influencing the immune cells that may be causing the disease. Findings of the said study were published in the August 2015 issue of the The FASEB Journal, the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

According to Dimitry N. Krementsov, Ph.D., a researcher involved with the study conducted from the Department of Medicine, Immunobiology Program at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, “We hope to provide a comprehensive understanding of how and why environmental factors interact with individuals’ unique genetic make up to influence autoimmune diseases such as MS.”

In the said study, researchers used three genetically different groups of mice and fed them a high salt diet or a controlled diet. Afterwards, the researchers induced the development of a disease in the mice that mimics MS. In one genetic group, mice fed with a high salt diet displayed worse clinical signs of the said disease. In another genetic group, only the females indicated a negative response to salt. In the third genetic group, there was no response to the high salt diet. The study indicated that genetic may play a critical factor in the development of MS. In the mice group that negatively responded to the high salt diet, no direct changes in the function of the immune cells were observed, although it resulted in mice showing signs of a weakened blood-brain barrier. The study indicates how salt may play a factor in people with genes susceptible to autoimmune diseases such as MS. The researchers note that although salt intake may be a risk factor, it may just be one of the many other environmental factors that may contribute to the development of this complex disease.

Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2015, August 5). High salt intake could be a risk factor for multiple sclerosis: Effects of salt on MS could be governed by an individual’s genetics and/or sex/gender. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 13, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150805110204.htm

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