What too much salt can do to your brain
Too much salt can cause cognitive deficits, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Luckily, these negative effects may be reversed, and the new study shows how.
It's a well-known fact that too much salt in our diet raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
But it is less known that brain-related problems, such as cerebrovascular disease, stroke, and cognitive impairment, have all been linked to dietary salt.
As the authors of the new research explain, it was suggested that one possible mechanism behind these negative effects involves the so-called endothelial cells inside the cerebral blood vessels.
Endothelial cells line our blood vessels and are responsible for regulating the vascular tone — but a high dietary intake of salt has been associated with dysfunction of these cells.
Although it is known that epithelial dysfunction can bring a plethora of chronic illnesses, it remains unclear exactly how salt-induced endothelial dysfunction may affect the brain in the long run.
This is particularly important given that the brain is heavily reliant on a steady and smooth flow of oxygen to function properly, explain the study authors, who were led in their research efforts by Costantino Iadecola, from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, NY.
In their paper, Iadecola and colleagues show how excessive dietary salt affects our gut, immune system, and, ultimately, our brain.