High dietary salt intake may kill off 'good' gut bacteria: Study

High dietary salt intake may kill off  'good' gut bacteria: Study

Overview

  • Post By : Bhawana Jain
  • Source: Medical News Today
  • Date: 11 June, 2018

Data collected from a new study has suggested that the intake of diet containing high salt may prove to be dangerous for good bacteria present in the gut and may also contribute to high blood pressure and diseases affecting the immune system.

How does salt upset our body's delicate balance?

From the previous studies, scientists already know about the link between high blood pressure and a diet high in salt but recently they have found out that the diets rich in high salt may also accelerate the development of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS).

The mechanism behind the association is proposed by the new research conducted by scientists from the Experimental and Clinical Research Center and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany.

The mechanism behind the association is proposed by the new research conducted by scientists from the Experimental and Clinical Research Center and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany.

What is Lactobacillus?

Lactobacillus is a type of gut bacteria generally found in some fermented foods like yogurt, cheese and other dietary supplements. They are considered friendly for the gut as they protect us against certain diseases.

The current research findings presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in Manchester in the United Kingdom, has suggested that consuming salt in high quantities could kill Lactobacillus and, thereby, increase the risk of disease.

Research on mice

The scientists found that a version of Lactobacillus found in mice is destroyed when they are fed a diet with increased salt. The high-salt diet also caused the mice's blood pressure to rise and stimulated the activation of inflammation-inducing immune cells, called TH17 cells.

The mice also showed symptoms of a neurological condition similar to MS called encephalomyelitis.

It was also found that encephalomyelitis symptoms and TH17 cell count could be lessened by giving the mice a probiotic treatment of Lactobacillus, which also stabilized the mice's blood pressure.

The researchers then tried to replicate the findings in humans. For it, they recruited 12 healthy men who consumed 6 extra grams of salt each day for 2 weeks, effectively doubling their salt intake.

The results at the end of 2 weeks showed that in most of the participants, Lactobacillus was killed from the microbiomes — the ecosystem of organisms that live in our digestive system. Like the mice, the men in the study were also found to have increased blood pressure and increased TH17 cell count.

More studies are needed

Though it was previously known that TH17 cells are affected by the gut microbiome, the latest finding that salt kills off friendly bacteria in the gut microbiome is new.

This has led to more investigation about the role that bacteria play in diseases, but there is still a lot  to be discovered when it comes to how the body interacts with the bacteria that reside in the gut.

About Author

Bhawana Jain

Bhawana Jain

Editor and Head Business Development team in Microbioz India along with looking corporate relations.