How Salt Hacks the Brain


Most people are aware that Americans eat way too much salt. They also know the connection between a high sodium diet and heart disease. Though there are some in the food sciences that think the warnings over salt are overblown, it pays to be on top of how much you and your family eat. Case in point; Canadian scientists have just discovered how salt raises one’s blood pressure. In fact, according to their study, salt hacks the brain, undermining the safeguard that regulates blood pressure. Researchers at McGill University Health Center made this discovery. Dr. Charles Bourque was an author on this study. He said in a press release that an overabundance of salt fed to laboratory rats reprogramed the neurons which release vasopressin (VP) into the circulatory system. Dr. Borque said, “This change, which involves a neurotrophic molecule called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), prevents the inhibition of these particular neurons by other cells.”

That prevention deactivates the body’s process for regulating blood pressure within the arteries. This safeguard, once disabled, allows the blood pressure to increase with the increased intake of sodium over time. This study was published in the journal Neuron. Still, watching fat and sugar intake is viewed as far more important when it comes to safeguarding overall health. A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that an increased risk of mortality was not associated with a high sodium intake. Still, one should be careful and not consume too much salt, particularly if one has or is prone to high blood pressure or heart disease. When watching salt intake, look out for breads. A lot of people don’t realize that baked goods are laden with salt. Read the labels. Lunchmeat too is high in sodium. Of course pizza, fried chicken and all the processed foods can make your sodium level skyrocket. Canned soups are a surprise for many, also very high in salt. Cheeses are too but they don’t give such a shock. Always make meals from scratch when you can. Don’t worry too much about salt but keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t hack your brain.


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