WXTK Better Health Report: Sodium and Gut Bacteria

It’s pretty well accepted that one of the main causes of high blood pressure is too much sodium in our diet. Sodium attracts water, so logically the idea is that retention of too much fluid would then create increased pressure, because the heart has to work harder to deal with the extra fluid.

But a new study from Germany sheds some light on another side effect of sodium.

The researchers conducted an experiment with mice and found that a type of probiotic gut bacteria called Lactobacillus was destroyed when the mice were fed a diet high in salt. The high-salt diet caused the mice's blood pressure to rise and activated inflammation-inducing immune cells.

The mice also developed symptoms of a neurological condition similar to multiple sclerosis.

And the fascinating part is that when they gave the mice a probiotic treatment of lactobacillus, their MS symptoms and inflammatory immune cells declined, which then stabilized the blood pressure of the mice.

The researchers then conducted the same experiment with people. They recruited 12 healthy men who took in 6 extra grams of salt every day for 2 weeks.

At the end of the 2 weeks, results showed that in most of the men, Lactobacillus had been eliminated from digestive system. Like the mice, the men in the study also had higher blood pressure and increased inflammatory cell count.

Obviously, more research is needed, because   we’re just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the profound effect gut bacteria has on our health.

This is Joan Trimble wishing you wellness.


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