It is well known that a diet high in salt leads to high blood pressure which is a risk factor for many health problems, including heart disease and stroke. But over the last decade, studies conducted among the population showed that between salt intake and stroke there is a connection, regardless of high blood pressure and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It became obvious that between salt intake and health of the brain somewhere missing link in the chain.
And now, a recent study showed a new link: immune signals sent from the intestines, can compromise the blood vessels of the brain, which will lead to a deterioration of brain health and cognitive disorders. Surprisingly, this study reveals a previously unknown connection of the intestine with the brain, mediated by the immune system, and shows that the excess of salt may adversely affect brain health in people, damaging the blood vessels of the brain, regardless of the effect on blood pressure.
Salt harms the brain
This study offers a new therapeutic tasks to combat stroke — the second leading cause of death in the world — and cognitive dysfunction. Reduce consumption of salt applies to people all over the world, since almost every adult consumes too much salt: on average 9-12 grams per day, or about twice the recommended world health organization maximum level of consumption (5 g).
The study was conducted on mice and showed that the immune reaction in the small intestine trigger a cascade of chemical reactions that reaches the blood vessels of the brain, reducing blood flow to the cortex and hippocampus, two brain regions important for learning and memory. This, in turn, leads to lower test scores for cognitive ability. The disturbance in learning and memory was evident even in the absence of high blood pressure.
The intestine responds to the excess of salt and sends immune signals that form the basis for the deterioration of vital vascular complex of the brain and disrupt cognitive function. While the study was conducted on experimental animals, but there’s no scientific reason to believe that human studies will lead to different results.
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