We all know that high salt intake is bad for our hearts, but a recent study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry revealed that there is a link between high salt intake and Multiple Sclerosis.
Sodium is good for the body; our bodies use it do control blood pressure and it ensures that muscles and nerves work the way they are supposed to work. Too much sodium, though, has a negative effect on our health, leading to high blood pressure and even heart failure and kidney disease. Why are people always at risk of consuming too much sodium? Well, it’s because table salt is 40% sodium and when it comes to salt, it’s so easy to go overboard.
The daily recommendation for sodium intake for a healthy adult is around 2,300 mg per day and for people who suffer from high blood pressure, 1,500 mg per day. A single teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium, more than an adult’s intake for a whole day.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease; it happens when there is damage to the myelin in the CNS (central nervous system), which interferes with the transmission of nerve signals between the spinal cord and the brain.
Scientists have observed that that salt has a direct effect over the course of this disease, following an observational study. There were two groups of patients involved in the study: the first consisted of 70 people and the second, 52 people. Both groups were followed for a period of two years, with clinical data collected constantly, as well as the person’s sodium intake. After the enrollment there were blood and urine samples collected. People who consumed moderate or high intakes of salt had three more episodes of symptoms and were four times more likely to have exaggerated symptoms of MS.
High salt intake is implicated in various aspects of poor health. Findings suggest further research into whether dietary salt reduction could ease MS symptoms or slow the progression of the disease might now be warranted.
The investigators did note, however, that even though the association between high salt intake and increased MS activity is obvious, it could be because the people who had more relapses received more steroids, which results in their salt intake and excretion to be increased.
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