Too Much Salt May Aggravate MS Symptoms

shutterstock_189435107According to a small observational study published in the online Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, excessive dietary salt can worsen multiple sclerosis symptoms. It may also increase the risk of neurological damage and deterioration. Past studies have indicated the role of salt in terms of impaired autoimmune response, but its effects are not directly implicated with the disease itself.

In the small study, the researchers analyzed the blood and urine samples of 70 people afflicted with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The samples were checked for salt levels, creatinine, and vitamin D, with these factors previously linked with the said disease. The participants were requested to provide urine samples on three separate occasions over a nine-month period. Their neurological condition was also monitored for two years. For comparison, urine samples were also taken from a second group of people with the same type of MS, composed of 52 participants.

In both groups, the researchers found that average salt intake was over 4 grams daily for both groups. Men tend to have a higher salt intake daily compared to women. After taking into consideration other influential factors such as age, gender, weight, smoking, vitamin D levels and others, the researchers have found a link between levels of salt intake to worsening symptoms. Compared to participants consuming the least salt daily, those who were considered on the moderate to high salt intake group also had three more incidence of worsening symptoms. They were also four times more likely to experience these episodes than the participants with the lowest salt intake.

The researchers also took x-rays and scans to determine the progress of the disease. The researchers also found a link between salt intake with evidence of increased deterioration. Those on the high salt intake group were 3.5 times more likely to indicate radiological signs of increased disease progression. The researchers found the same results among participants in the second group.

Since this remains as a small observational study, conclusions from cause and effect cannot be drawn definitively. Further research may be needed in order to determine whether lesser salt intake can help ease MS symptoms or slow down the progression of the said disease.

Source: Science Daily

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