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October 22, 2018 • Brain Health

High Salt Induces Dementia

Bad news, America – Consuming too much salt may damage your brain. That was the eye-opening conclusion from a pivotal lab study. Unfortunately, 90 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended levels of salt in their day-to-day diets, and rates of dementia are steadily rising and expected to reach catastrophic levels in the next 30 years.
salt and pepper on table
For this study scientists fed mice two different diets for 8 weeks. One was moderate in salt, and the other was high in salt (equivalent to the high end of American diets). After the 8-week study, the mice had their brains closely examined with specialized MRI scans. Those who consumed the high salt diet showed marked reductions of blood flow within two critical areas of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
What’s more, the scientists uncovered the reason for the grave reduction in brain blood flow following the high salt diet. Consuming the high salt diet triggered specialized immune cells within the gut (health begins and end in the gut!) to release highly pro-inflammatory mediators that then impair the vital cells within arteries responsible for maintaining optimal blood flow. Essentially, too much salt leads to excessive inflammation that reduces blood flow by damaging the lining cells of arteries.
Past studies have linked diets high in salt/sodium to other “proinflammatory conditions,” including autoimmune diseases, migraines, obesity, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, stomach cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Keep in mind that 85 percent of the salt in our diets comes from processed, packaged foods, especially fast foods, and many foods served in restaurants.
Click here to see my best advice for reducing salt/sodium levels while still enjoying a great tasting diet!
Plum Hill
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