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Too Much Salt Weakens the Immune System

A high-salt diet is not only bad for one’s blood pressure, but also for the immune system. This is the conclusion of a current study under the leadership of the University Hospital Bonn.

Mice fed a high-salt diet were found to suffer from much more severe bacterial infections. Human volunteers who consumed an additional six grams of salt per day also showed pronounced immune deficiencies. This amount corresponds to the salt content of two fast food meals. The results are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Sodium chloride raises blood pressure and thereby increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. But not only that: “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,” explains Professor Dr Christian Kurts from the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University of Bonn, Germany.

Jobin K, et al. (2020). A high-salt diet compromises antibacterial neutrophil responses through hormonal perturbation. Science Translational Medicine; https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/12/536/eaay3850

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