Salt is the most common ingredient in all our meals. Salt provides basic flavour to food, more than any other ingredient. However, too-mush salt is also not good for health. Till now, we have heard and read that high-salt diet is not good for our blood pressure, but a new research claims that it also not good for our immune system. In the wake of Coronavirus pandemic, we all want our immunity to be strong. This new finding by University Hospital Bonn may be of some use to us.
World Health Organization (WHO) recommends salt intake of not more than five grams a day. This is said to be the maximum amount of salt an adult should take in a day. Data from the Robert Koch Institute suggest that on an average, men consume ten, and women consume more than eight grams a day.
(Also Read: 6 Harmful Effects of Excess Salt in Your Daily Diet)
Too much salt may lead to low immunity.
Sodium chloride in salt may raise blood pressure, which can also lead to heart ailments. Prof. Dr. Christian Kurts from the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University of Bonn, said, "We have now been able to prove for the first time that excessive salt intake also significantly weakens an important arm of the immune system."
The kidneys have a sodium chloride sensor that activates the salt excretion function. But, this sensor may also causes glucocorticoids to accumulate in the body. This may hamper the functioning of granulocytes, which is the most common type of immune cell in the blood.
"We were able to show this in mice with a listeria infection," revealed Dr. Katarzyna Jobin, lead author of the study. "We had previously put some of them on a high-salt diet. In the spleen and liver of these animals we counted 100 to 1,000 times the number of disease-causing pathogens," Joblin added.
Similar study was also carried out on human volunteers. The results were published in the journal 'Science Translational Medicine'.
"We examined volunteers who consumed six grams of salt in addition to their daily intake. This is roughly the amount contained in two fast food meals, i.e. two burgers and two portions of French fries." After one week, the scientists took blood from their subjects and examined the granulocytes. The immune cells coped much worse with bacteria after the test subjects had started to eat a high-salt diet," says Prof. Kurts.