Salt may disable brain circuits that protect against high blood pressure
Scientists at McGill University in Montreal have found that a circuit in the brain that controls blood pressure, becomes blocked when a person consistently has too much salt. In the study, published in the journal Neuron, they discovered that a special group of neurons inhibits the brain from sensing arteries, and releases chemicals that raise blood pressure.
Salt naturally occurs in many of the foods we eat, such as milk, cream and eggs. But modern diets call for added salt that can bring sodium levels in meats and bread up to 1,500 mg per 100g and more.
In a rat trial, the researchers found that consistently high levels of salt change the pathways in the brain responsible for releasing chemicals that raise blood pressure. When sodium levels are low, the brain senses the pressure in the arteries, and stops the body from raising the pressure. However, when salt is high, this blocks the brain from sensing the state of the arteries. pressure.
The scientists still have yet to discover if this mechanism works the same for humans as it does for rats. But they did recommend that consumers limit their salt intake byy purchasing frozen vegetables or fresh meats over processed food, avoiding vegetables with added salt, and asking for toppings or dressings on the side at restaurants.
The World Health Organization also reports that adults should ingest only up to 5g (2,000 mg) of salt daily to reduce high blood pressure risk.