Are you feeling a little sluggish during the day? According to a new study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, too much salt can cause cognitive deficits. The study was by Costantino Iadecola and colleagues from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, NY. They demonstrate how excessive dietary salt affects our gut, immune system, and, ultimately, our brain. There is already lots of evidence that show how a high salt diet (fast food, chips, processed food, and condiments) can cause stroke and other effects on the brain through high blood pressure. What was impressive in the study was that this decrease in brain function was completely independent of high blood pressure or hypertension.
The average American already consumes a high sodium diet of 3-4 grams of sodium (or 8-9 grams of sodium chloride) a day. The recommended sodium intake is 2300 mg per day (5840 mg of sodium chloride) for most Americans without medical conditions. For heart conditions, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1500 mg per day.
What You Can Do
Luckily, these negative effects are reversible, and the new study shows how. The good news is that the negative effects of the high-salt diet seem to be reversible. After several weeks of returning to a normal (low sodium) diet, the mice returned to normal. These findings suggest that “salt brain” or cognitive decline can be negated by lifestyle changes.
Source: Nature Neuroscience