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How Salt Can Trigger Inflammation in Multiple Sclerosis

Research is still preliminary, but experts recommend people with MS avoid foods with high amounts of salt.



Salt causes inflammation in those living with multiple sclerosis.

And it may also trigger the disease.

A new study published in the journal Nature Immunology shows how salt disrupts T cells.

This disruption causes inflammation that may lead to MS exacerbations and progression.

The negative effects of salt on MS isn’t new.

A 2013 study conducted on mice showed a connection between an increase in cases of MS and a diet higher in salt.

“But more evidence was needed,” said Claude Schofield, PhD, director of discovery research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

At the time, Dr. David Hafler, FANA, one of the study authors, said salt causes a “bad interaction between genes and environment.”

The results show how high salt intake can lead to increased inflammation.

The more recent study backs that up.

“Here’s even more evidence that salt causes inflammation,” Schofield told Healthline. “This is the second wave of research about MS and salt, building scientific evidence for increased inflammation.”

What salt does

This research shows how sodium affects T cells and causes inflammation.

“Salt affects signaling at the immune level, not the nerve level,” Schofield explained.

He describes the paper as technical, but explains that the mechanistic work that intertwines mouse and human studies shows how salt intake increases inflammation.

“Human work will always have more impact, but sometimes we need mice,” he said. “We are always looking for environmental factors that trigger MS.”

These are often risk factors that people living with MS have control over, therefore offering a self-care option.

“This study provides more evidence than the earlier papers,” Schofield said.

The study explains which cells are affected and how.

This offers “compelling evidence that high salt intake could lead to increased inflammation and could trigger in MS,” Schofield said.

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Source: healthline

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