Diet too rich in salt could affect brain performance

A diet high in salt can cause heart problems and high blood pressure, as we all know. But new research has discovered that a salt-rich diet can also be responsible for other unexpected problems.

Recently, Nature Neuroscience published a new study that says: “The brain is a prime target for the adverse effects of salt, and a high-salt diet has been linked to cerebrovascular disease and stroke, as well as cognitive.

In this study, the researchers gave a diet to mice that contained 8 to 16 times the recommended dose. This dose is comparable to what humans who are on top of salt intake normally take.

Mice that were fed the high-salt diet showed declining mental performance when cognitive effects were studied.

In Barnes’ labyrinth test, which requires spatial memory to learn and remember the location of an evacuation hole, they discovered that both groups of mice (with a normal or high salt diet) had need three days to find the escape hole.

When they moved the evacuation hole to the opposite quadrant, the mice fed the high-salt diet traveled much further and took longer to find the evacuation hole, indicating a deficit in their memory. Space.

A test was performed to observe the reactions of the mice when their whiskers were stimulated. At 4 – 8 weeks there was no change. However, at 12 weeks, the mice stopped responding normally.

They also tested the mice to see if a high-salt diet affected their nesting behavior. As burrows and nest building are spontaneous behaviors in rodents that depend on limbic function, this is a good comparison with activities of daily living that are often altered in human patients with cognitive impairment.

The researchers found that the ability to build the nest was impaired in mice fed the high-salt diet. This proved that there were profound changes in their cognitive function.

Although blood pressure did not increase in mice with salt-rich diets, their brain function decreased. Which meant that something other than the effects of salt on their vascular health was to blame. Cognitive impairment occurred because the high-salt diet reduced cerebral blood flow at rest and induced endothelial dysfunction.

Costantino Ladecola, director at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, said, “After about three months, the mice have become insane. Mice are very curious and like to watch new things, and over time, mice have lost the ability to identify a normal object. “

Bryce Vissel is Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Technology Sydney and Director of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at the Faculty of Science. He explains how salt causes cognitive dysfunction:

“It shows that it does this by causing profound immune changes in the gut, which effectively results in an almost autoimmune effect on the brain,” he says.

Basically, what you eat affects your gut in many ways.

“These changes in the gut, in turn, cause all kinds of responses in the body, some of them are inflammatory and these responses over time certainly contribute to brain dysfunction,” he says.

“We do not know yet how this leads to dementia, but the link between inflammation and brain dysfunction is very clear. “

So far, this study has not been tested on humans, but it is likely that we would have the same results as mice. While previous research has shown that loss of brain function may be associated with salty diets, it was thought to be related to blood pressure problems. With this new research, we know that salt can directly affect the brain even when blood pressure does not change.

When the three-month study was completed, the researchers put the mice back on a normal diet. After 4 weeks, they tested the mice and found that the effects of the salty diet were reversed by returning to a normal diet.

Although health professionals recommend keeping our salt intake equal to about a teaspoon of salt a day or less, many exceed that amount.

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