It is well known that a diet high in salt leads to increased blood pressure, which is a risk factor for many health problems, including heart disease and stroke. But over the last decade, studies conducted among the population have shown that there is a relationship between salt intake and stroke, regardless of increased blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. It became apparent that there was a missing link in the chain between salt intake and brain health.
And now, a recent study has shown a new connection: immune signals sent from the intestine can compromise the blood vessels of the brain, which will lead to deterioration of brain health and cognitive impairment. Surprisingly, this study reveals a previously unknown connection of the intestine with the brain, mediated by the immune system, and shows that the excess of salt may adversely affect brain health in people, damaging the blood vessels of the brain, regardless of the effect on blood pressure.
Salt harms the brain
This study suggests new therapeutic challenges for stroke control — the world’s second leading cause of death — and cognitive dysfunction. Reducing salt intake is applicable to people around the world because almost every adult consumes too much salt: an average of 9-12 g per day, or about twice the world health organization’s recommended maximum intake (5 g).
The study was conducted in mice and found that immune responses in the small intestine trigger a cascade of chemical reactions reaching the blood vessels of the brain, reducing blood flow to the cortex and hippocampus, two areas of the brain important for learning and memory. This, in turn, leads to a decrease in the results of cognitive ability tests. Learning and memory impairment was evident even in the absence of high blood pressure.
The intestine reacts to excess salt and directs immune signals, which lay the Foundation for the deterioration of the vital vascular complex of the brain and violate cognitive functions. So far, the study has been conducted on experimental animals, but scientists have no reason to believe that human studies will lead to different results.
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