Research

Eating a High Salt Diet May be Killing Your Gut Bacteria

High salt diet is always associated with high blood pressure. Normally people with high blood pressure are advised to take a low sodium diet. Scientists are already aware of the damaging effects of salt on your blood circulation. It is linked with multiple autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

This new study has proposed a mechanism that answers this question. The Experimental and Clinical Research Center and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany has led this new research which has opened a new debate. But first, let’s understand gut microbiome.

Lactobacillus

Lactobacillus is a gut bacterium that is also found in fermented foods. It includes example sauerkraut, cheese, yogurt etc. This is considered as good bacteria that offer protection against various diseases. The studies on lactobacillus inhibiting the growth of several multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens are evident. They are also linked to reducing kidney inflammation especially linked with women with lupus.

This study was presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in the United Kingdom. It suggests that when you are taking a high salt diet, it increases the risk of diseases. Read more about it by clicking here. 

High salt food can kill Lactobacillus

The scientists have found that a version of lactobacillus in mice has been killed as a result of high-fat diet. It causes the blood pressure to increase and it also triggers the activation of the inflammation-inducing immune system. These cells are called TH17 cells.

All the symptoms in mice are associated with a neurological condition called encephalomyelitis. The scientists have found that these encephalomyelitis symptoms and TH17 cell count may be reduced if the mice are given a probiotic treatment. Remember that this prebiotic treatment is of Lactobacillus, which is responsible for blood pressure stabilization.

The researchers tried to replicate these same findings on humans. They tested 12 healthy men and fed them on a diet of 6 grams extra salt each day for two weeks. It was almost double the daily salt intake of them.

By the end of week two, the researchers found that most of the study participants eliminated lactobacillus from their gut microbiome. It was nowhere in their digestive system. And like the experimental mice, the men in this study also showed the symptoms of a higher blood pressure and increased TH17 cell count.

Read the complete research findings here. 

What to do next?

Although it is already clear that TH17 cells are affected by a disturbance in the gut microbiome. This new finding that high salt diet kills the healthy bacteria of the gut is somehow new.

More scientists are investigating the role of these bacteria, which they play initiating a disease. But that’s not all; there are so many unknown factors that contribute to the body bacteria and their interactions inside.

The researchers emphasize more research to understand this factor that how gut health affects the overall health of a person. In addition to that, the study on probiotics is needed to find the more practical treatments for diseases such as high blood pressure.

Sources

  • https://www.mdc-berlin.de/news/press/gut-bacteria-are-sensitive-salt
  • https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24628?WT.feed_name=subjects_neurology

Areeba Hussain

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. She is an author of six research papers and currently working as a research associate in a Research Lab.

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