High Salt Diet may Kill off Good Gut Bacteria

New data suggests that high salt consumption may prove fatal to certain gut bacteria, and that this could contribute to high blood pressure and diseases affecting the immune system.

But how does salt upset our body’s delicate balance?

Scientists are already aware of a link between high blood pressure and a diet high in salt, high-salt diets may also speed up the progression of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS).

A new study proposes a mechanism that may be behind this association. The research was led by scientists from the Experimental and Clinical Research Center and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany.

The researchers found that a version of the probiotic, Lactobacillus, found in mice is destroyed when they are fed a diet high in salt, the high-salt diet also caused the mice’s blood pressure to rise and triggered the activation of inflammation-inducing immune cells.

By the end of the study, the authors found that, in most of the participants, Lactobacillus had been eliminated from their microbiomes — the ecosystem of organisms that live in our digestive system. Like the mice, the men in the study also had higher blood pressure and increased inflammation.

In summary, watch your salt intake, you’d be surprised where high does of it can sneak up from, canned soups and condiments are often a goldmine for excessive salt, for example.

Read the full study here