Health experts have long known a high-salt diet (HSD) is harmful to the heart.
In a new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers found that it may also disrupt the body’s internal rhythms directly.
Disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm is linked to increased risk of metabolic syndrome, inflammation, mood disorders, cancer and even premature death.
The region of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) synchronizes all the clocks throughout our body. The SCN contains a type of receptor called endothelin B receptors.
Elsewhere in the body endothelin B receptors play a key role in managing sodium. In fact, medications that block endothelin B receptors are prescribed to manage pulmonary hypertension.
In the study, researchers at fed mice a high-salt diet and measured their movement throughout the day as well as their neuronal activity.
Although their total activity was similar to control mice, the mice did not follow sleep-wake patterns established as normal by previous studies.
A hallmark trait of the SCN is to have higher neural activity during the day and less at night. However, mice on a high-salt diet showed strongly increased neuronal excitability at night as compared to control mice.
This could lead to decline or mistiming of sleep-wake, hormonal and physiological rhythms.
With an estimated 90% of the U.S. population over 2 years old consuming too much salt, these new findings could have widespread implications.
If you care about nutrition and your health, please read studies about this nutrient in your diet may help fight depression and findings of this diet could help reduce high blood pressure in older people.
For more information about diet and wellness, please see recent studies about this diet cuts non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by half and results showing that this daily food could worsen common bowel diseases.
The study was presented virtually at the Seventeenth International Conference on Endothelin.
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