Thursday, August 01, 2013

Salt May Spur Multiple Sclerosis, Autoimmune Disease

There are probably multiple factors working together leading to the development of these diseases. Since most people get way too much salt, it probably wouldn't hurt to try reducing salt intake to see if it would help a person with such a disease.

Pauline Anderson
Mar 08, 2013

Salt may be a missing link that might explain what's triggering the recent marked increase in the incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases, new research suggests.

As the numbers of new MS cases have risen steadily over the past half century, the diet in western developed countries has included ever-increasing amounts of salt. Although no study has found a direct link between high salt intake and increased incidence of MS, an earlier study by researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg suggested that excessive salt uptake can affect immune system activity.

Now, 3 new studies published online March 6 in Nature provide more evidence of a causative role for salt in MS.

"It's another reason to encourage patients to follow a healthy lifestyle, including a diet that's low in salt," said Bruce Bebo Jr, PhD, associate vice president of discovery research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York. "From a practical point of view, it's more evidence that there may be additional benefits to reducing salt in the diet."

He stressed, however, that the research is preliminary and "by no means proof" that salt is involved in MS. Numerous other environmental and genetic factors probably play a role, he said.


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