On March 25th a new study published in the Journal of Science Translational Medicine by the University of Bonn in Germany shows that a high-salt diet is not only harmful to blood pressure, but also to the immune system. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adults should not consume more than 5 grams of salt per day. But in fact many people have significantly exceeded this advice, with data showing that German men consume an average of 10 grams of salt a day, compared with more than 8 grams for women.
Professor Christian Kurts, of the University of Bonn, said: “Several previous studies have shown that excessive salt intake increases the risk of high blood pressure, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. But for the first time, we found that excessive salt intake also significantly weakens the immune system. “
In animal models, the researchers found that mice also infected with listeria, mice with excessive salt intake of the spleen and liver, the number of pathogenic pathogens increased significantly, and urinary tract infections healed much more slowly.
The researchers then divided the invited human subjects into two groups, one of which consumed salt per day in the recommended amount. Another group took two extra hamburgers and two French fries a day after taking the recommended amount of salt, equivalent to 6 grams of salt.
A week later, the researchers took blood from two groups of subjects to test for granulocytes and found that immune cells in the high-salt intake group responded much worse to bacteria. In addition, excessive salt intake can lead to elevated levels of glucocorticoids.
The researchers say the kidneys, the body’s most important organ of salt control, excrete excess salt from the body. But this process can have a negative side effect that causes glucocorticoids to accumulate in the body, which inhibits the function of granulocytes, the most common immune cells in the blood.
Granulocells, like macrophages, are scavenger cells. But they don’t attack parasites, they mainly attack bacteria. If they don’t reach enough, they can lead to increased infection in the human body.