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Eating too much salt can lead to Alzheimer's disease, study shows

by , 17 January 2018
Eating too much salt can lead to Alzheimer's disease, study shows
Do season just about everything you eat with salt? Well, you might want to do away with that habit - according to a new animal study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, a high-salt diet could directly lead to Alzheimer's disease.

The study also showed an association between a diet rich in salt and cognitive impairment, dementia risk and reduced blood flow in regions of the brain that are linked to learning and memory. Keep reading for the full findings.

New study shows an association between a high-salt diet and Alzheimer’s disease

For their study, the researchers examined mice administered diets with food containing either 4% of 8% salt, which equated to between eight and 16 times more salt than a normal healthy diet. It’s important to note that these are very high levels of salt and only comparable to an extremely high level of human consumption.
 
The findings were eye-opening: Among those in the high-salt group, researchers noted a 28% drop in blood flow in the cortex and a 25% drop in the hippocampus after just eight weeks. The mice on the high-salt diet also performed significantly worse on a number of behavioural tests, including a maze test, nest building and an object recognition test.

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Furthermore, they found that the impaired blood flow in the brain related to a reduction in the production of nitric oxide, a gas generated by endothelial cells. On the bright side, they found that the reaction to the high-salt diet was reversible, with cerebral blood flow normalising four weeks after returning to a normal diet. Still, these findings suggest that consuming high levels of salt over a long term can boost risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
 

High salt intake is also related to hypertension and high blood pressure

The researchers remind that this study was just in mice, and that the levels of salt that they consumed were extraordinarily high. However, it’s well established that in humans, high salt intake can cause hypertension and high blood pressure. Together, these two conditions can result in what’s called vascular dementia.
 
The bottom line? Hold the salt to potentially protect your cognitive abilities and stave off Alzheimer’s disease!

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