Eating High-Salt Diet May Lead To Dementia – Study

A study has shown that high intake of salt may result in dementia.


The study published in the journal, “Nature Neuroscience”, illuminates a potential future target for countering harmful effects to the brain caused by excess salt consumption.

According to the study led by Dr.Costantino Iadecola of Weill Cornell Medicine in the U.S, discovered that a high-salt diet in mice feed led to dementia even when blood pressure did not rise.

He said this was surprising because humans show deleterious effects of salt on cognition attributable to hypertension. About 90 per cent of adults, consume more dietary sodium than the recommended 2,300 milligrammes per day.

As related to the study, the mice were given food containing four per cent or eight per cent salt, representing an 8- to 16-fold increase in salt compared to a normal mouse diet.

The higher level was comparable to the high end of human salt consumption. After eight weeks, the scientists examined the mice and they showed marked reductions in resting cerebral blood flow in two areas of the brain involved in learning and memory: 28 per cent decrease in the cortex and 25 per cent in the hippocampus.


Scientists discovered that an impaired ability of cells lining blood vessels, known as endothelial cells, reduced the production of nitric oxide which is a gas produced by the endothelial cells to relax the blood vessels and increase blood flow.

Rodents that ate the high-salt diet developed “dementia”, performing significantly worse on their daily life activity, this was a result of an adaptive immune response in their guts, with increased activity of a subset of white blood cells that play an important role in the activity of other immune cells.

The increase in white blood cells, T helper lymphocytes called TH17, boosted the production of a protein called interleukin 17 (IL-17), that regulates immune and inflammatory responses, causing a reduction in the production of nitric oxide in endothelial cells.


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