A diet rich in salt (sodium chloride) caused a number of health problems. A high-salt diet may increase risks of high blood pressure, which in turn can result in increased risks of cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure, stroke, etc. Now a new study has brought to light another potential health risk from consuming a high-salt diet.
The study has indicated that following a diet rich in salt may increase the risk of impaired cognitive function. The study said that such a diet may cause a deficiency of the compound nitric oxide in the brain, even potentially contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s. The disorder is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that impacts memory and thinking abilities. The disorder eventually impacts the patient’s ability to perform even the simplest tasks.
The study titled, “Dietary salt promotes cognitive impairment through tau phosphorylation” published in the journal Nature. For the study, the researchers fed a group of mice a diet that was between eight and 16 times richer in salt, as compared to normal diets.
Thus, the mice made to perform a series of tasks that would check their cognitive function. The mice were on the high-salt diet for a period of two months. At the end of the period, the mice are unable to recognize new objects. Moreover, they were slower in finding their way out of a maze, as compared to when they were on a normal diet.
Researchers Talk About High-Salt Diet
The study found a protein ‘ tau ‘ build-up in the mice’s brain upon putting them on the high-salt diet. Also, they also found an increase in the number of t-cells in the gut. Thus, in turn, it reduces the production of nitric oxide in the brain blood vessels. Also, this nitric oxide deficiency results in reduced blood flow in the brain. So, it increases CDK5 enzyme activity in the brain causing tau build-up.
These findings identify a causal link between dietary salt, endothelial dysfunction and tau pathology, independent of haemodynamic insufficiency. Avoiding excessive salt intake and maintenance of vascular health is necessary. It helps to stave off the vascular and neurodegenerative pathologies that underlie dementia in the elderly.”