How Does Our Salt Intake Affect Our Brain?

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Salt is probably the most important ingredient in any dish. Some people enjoy adding plenty of salt to their food, while others cut back their salt intake due to health conditions. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume less than 2.3000 mg of sodium each day. The maximum limit is lower for children.

This would be the equivalent of a teaspoon of salt, and sometimes, although we might think we do not add that much salt into our meals, pre-packed foods come are already salted and packed with sodium.

Researchers from Georgia State discovered how our brain is affected by salt consumption

Georgia State researchers, led by Dr. Javier Stern, studied the brain and how it is affected by salt consumption. Its team of researchers focused on the hypothalamus region of the brain, responsible for many functions such as eating, drinking, body temperature, and reproduction. The findings have been published in Cell Reports, and the study explains how the blood flow in the deep parts of our brain, the hypothalamus, changes when we consume salt.

Dr. Stern explained during an interview that humans have cells that detect how much salt there is in our blood. When we eat something salty, our brain tries to lower the sodium levels through a special mechanism. It activated the neurons responsible for releasing vasopressin, the antidiuretic hormone. This hormone is responsible for keeping our body with the proper concentration of salt. When people eat salt, their blood flow decreases, a phenomenon observed in patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or have suffered strokes.

Dr. Stern further explained the findings of the study:

If you chronically ingest a lot of salt, you’ll have hyperactivation of vasopressin neurons. This mechanism can then induce excessive hypoxia, which could lead to tissue damage in the brain,

Cezara Radu
Cezara enjoys writing about technology, international news, finances and education. A former teacher and a writing enthusiast, she is concerned with how progress in all fields might influence future generations and how all of us can benefit from the newest discoveries.