`Excessive Sodium Intake Linked with Higher Stress in Mice - Olive Oil Times

Excessive Sodium Intake Linked with Higher Stress in Mice

By Daniel Dawson
Dec. 12, 2022 14:20 UTC

A new study pub­lished in Cardiovascular Research links diets high in sodium with ele­vated stress.

While the neg­a­tive impacts of high-sodium diets on car­dio­vas­cu­lar health are well-estab­lished, the University of Edinburgh and Erasmus University Rotterdam researchers said their goal was to inves­ti­gate the less-stud­ied effects of high sodium con­sump­tion on cog­ni­tive func­tion and behav­ior.

We know that eat­ing too much salt dam­ages our heart, blood ves­sels and kid­neys. This study not tells us that high salt in our food also changes the way our brain han­dles stress.- Matthew Bailey, renal phys­i­ol­ogy pro­fes­sor, University of Edinburgh

They found that mice fed a high-salt diet expe­ri­enced an increase in rest­ing and envi­ron­men­tal stress hor­mones com­pared to mice eat­ing their ordi­nary diet, which is low in salt.

Furthermore, mice con­sum­ing a high-salt diet had dou­ble the hor­monal response to envi­ron­men­tal stres­sors than mice fol­low­ing their reg­u­lar diet.

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The researchers con­cluded that salt intake stim­u­lated the activ­ity of the genes that pro­duce the pro­teins in the brain that con­trol how the body responds to stress.

After two weeks of fol­low­ing the high-salt diet, they also detected a reduced abil­ity for the mice to sup­press the acti­vated stress hor­mones nat­u­rally.

In turn, this reduced abil­ity to nat­u­rally sup­press the stress hor­mones resulted in increased expo­sure to the hip­pocam­pus, ante­rior pitu­itary and liver, which researchers hypoth­e­sized may con­tribute to the long-term health con­se­quences of high salt intake.

The researchers hope the find­ings of this study will encour­age pol­i­cy­mak­ers to empha­size low-sodium diets and per­suade food man­u­fac­tur­ers to cut the amount of sodium used in processed foods.

Recommended salt intake for adults is less than six grams each day. However, many peo­ple reg­u­larly con­sume at least nine grams.

While the Cleveland Clinic, a lead­ing research and teach­ing hos­pi­tal, advises peo­ple try­ing to reduce sodium intake to cut out table olives, the American Heart Association rec­om­mends the Mediterranean diet for peo­ple look­ing to reduce salt con­sump­tion.

We are what we eat, and under­stand­ing how high-salt food changes our men­tal health is an impor­tant step to improv­ing well­be­ing,” Matthew Bailey, a renal phys­i­ol­ogy pro­fes­sor at the University of Edinburgh, told Food Navigator.

We know that eat­ing too much salt dam­ages our heart, blood ves­sels and kid­neys,” he added. This study tells us that high salt in our food also changes the way our brain han­dles stress.”

Further stud­ies are under­way to deter­mine whether high salt intake may result in other behav­ioral changes, includ­ing increased anx­i­ety and aggres­sion.



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