Too much salt stresses the body

By feeding mice a high-salt diet similar to that of most humans, Edinburgh University scientists found that this caused multiple levels of stress: levels of stress hormones were elevated even at rest, and their release during environmental stress was twice as high as that of mice who got a normal low-salt diet. This could also be measured: salt increased the activity of genes in the brain that control how the body responds to stress.

Prof Matthew Bailey of the University of Edinburgh said: “Understanding how high-salt foods change our mental health is an important step towards improving well-being. We know that too much salt damages our heart, blood vessels and kidneys. This study now tells us that high levels of salt in the diet also change the way our brains deal with stress.”

The team, which published the results in the journal Cardiovascular Research, is now conducting further studies to determine whether high salt intake also contributes to other behavioral changes such as anxiety and aggression.

The recommended salt intake for adults is less than six grams per day, but actual consumption averages around nine grams.

Which: DOI 10.1093/cvr/cvac160

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