Researchers from the University Hospital of Bonn, Germany have found that eating too much salt can impair the body’s ability to fight against bacteria. The researchers studied mice and ten human volunteers to see the effect of salt intake. Eating too much salt in your diet causes your body’s immune cells, the neutrophils, to be impaired. NewScientist has the details:
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Next, the team gave 10 healthy women and men who were 20 to 50 years old an extra 6 grams of salt a day on top of their normal diet, in the form of three tablets a day. After a week, some of their immune cells, called neutrophils, had a greatly impaired ability to engulf and kill bacteria compared with the same tests done on each individual before they took extra salt.
The team didn’t examine the effect of high salt intake on the body’s ability to fight viral infections.
The World Health Organization recommends that people eat no more than 5 grams of salt a day to avoid high blood pressure, which can cause strokes and heart disease. In the UK, people eat 8 grams on average, suggesting many consume as much or more than the volunteers in the study.
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