“Increased salt consumption may be a key culprit behind rising rates of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, researchers reported on Wednesday in a trio of papers looking at the role of a specific class of cells linked with inflammation.
Reporting in the journal Nature, the researchers said high-salt diets increased levels of a type of immune cell linked with autoimmune disease. And mice genetically engineered to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) got much worse when they ate what amounted to a high-salt Western diet compared with mice who had more moderate salt intake.
The findings suggest that salt may play a previously unknown role in triggering autoimmune diseases such as MS or type 1 diabetes in individuals who are already genetically predisposed.
High salt intake is already a known culprit in increasing the risk of heart disease and hypertension.