New Studies Reveal How Salt Affects the Body

In Education

Salt is one of the essential flavor enhancers used in almost every type of food. However, it has a long history of being bad for your health. From worsening bloating to hardening arteries, doctors often advise patients to limit their salt usage. Now, a recent study has revealed what salt does to the human body.

How salt affects the cell

Scientists from the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association revealed that consuming sodium affects the energy mitochondria in cells. Therefore, interfering with this energy can have severe effects on the immune cells, which might stop working properly.

MDC Professor Dominik Muller led a study in 2015 which discovered that high levels of salt in the blood could influence the activation of monocytes. These are precursors to the particular cells that eliminate harmful bacteria in the body. However, Dr. Sabrina from MDC explains in a university release that they did not know what exactly was happening in the cells at the time.

In the new study, an international team led by Geisberger examined the immune metabolism when exposed to high salt levels. They realized that changes begin quickly, in as little as 3 hours.

The results also revealed that salts disrupt the respiratory chain, making the cells produce less ATP, consuming less oxygen. ATP is the universal fuel used by the body to perform chemical processes like creating proteins or other healthy molecules. These processes give humans the tools they require to power muscles and maintain metabolism.

The mitochondria produce ATP in a biochemical process known as the respiratory chain. Ginsberg adds that salt inhibits complex II in the respiratory chain.

Effects of salt on live patients

The phagocytes, which locate and destroy pathogens in the body, could fight them more effectively. But, on the flip side, this can cause inflammation which increases cardiovascular disease risk.

Researchers further revealed how salt affects phagocytes of live patients similarly. They studied a group of healthy male participants who added 6 grams of salt to their regular diet for six months. The results revealed that the effects of salt are not only from long-term usage.

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