Salt. It seems like it’s always in the news. Too much is unhealthy. Too little might be unhealthy. The majority of our sodium intake is coming from the processed foods in our grocery stores, not from the salt shakers in our kitchens. Certain food products are just about guaranteed to contain more sodium than others. The list goes on. But no matter how the latest news is reported, a few basic ideas remain consistent. We need sodium in our diets to help our bodies function properly, but too much is unhealthy — and the majority of us are getting much too much. And much too much can result in things like high blood pressure and the buildup of fluid in people with congestive heart failure and kidney disease. But are there any other health problems that can be linked to our excessive salt habit?
A novel study has unveiled that there might be an association between salt consumption and multiple sclerosis (MS) risk.
Currently, multiple sclerosis is considered to be an autoimmune disease. Previous studies have indicated that salt may alter the autoimmune disease. Keeping that factor in mind, researchers carried out the study to know if salt has a direct effect on the course of the disease.
The study was of observational nature. For the study, participants with relapsing-remitting MS were recruited and were divided into two groups. The first group had 70 patients. For two years in the follow-up period, clinical, radiology and sodium intake data was gathered.
For a year after enrolment, blood and urine samples were taken. Researchers measured level of salt and creatinine, a marker of inflammatory activity, in urine samples. Other things measured were serum sodium and vitamin D levels, as low level of it has been linked with MS.
The second group had 52 volunteers. Urine samples were collected and were assessed as per the same procedure used in the first group. Researchers found that volunteers who had high salt intake were four times more like to have severe MS symptoms.
Researchers considered the factors like age, gender, disease duration, smoking status, vitamin D levels, body mass index and treatment. When comparison was done on individual basis, people having moderate or high salt were found to witness around three times more progression in the systems and four times more likely to experience exacerbating symptoms.
“Findings suggest further research into whether dietary salt reduction could ease MS symptoms or slow the progression of the disease might now be warranted”, affirmed researchers.
FoodFacts.com can’t help but mention the onslaught of research we’ve seen lately revealing new insights into our food and ingredient consumption. This particular study showing a link between sodium and the progression of of multiple sclerosis symptoms is eye-opening and very unexpected. As we learn more about the unfortunate effects of excessive sodium consumption, we are encouraged by the idea that the preparation of fresh foods, in our own kitchens contributes to our health and well being. Just another reason to avoid the processed foods that contain too many and too much of a long list of things that don’t contribute to our health.