The Scary Way Excessive Salt Intake May ‘Reprogram’ The Brain

There are many health reasons to lay off the salt, from fluid retention to an increased risk over time of developing high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

While the link between sodium and hypertension is nothing new (thought some scientists say it is overstated), the precise mechanisms by which sodium can raise blood pressure have been less clear.

According to new research from McGill University, too much sodium may actually “reprogram” the brain in a way that interferes with a process that normally keeps the body’s arterial blood pressure at a healthy level.

“We found that a period of high dietary salt intake in rats causes a biochemical change in the neurons that release vasopressin (VP) into the systemic circulation,” one of the study’s authors, Dr. Charles Bourque of the McGill University Health Centre, said in a university press release. “This change, which involves a neurotrophic molecule called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), prevents the inhibition of these particular neurons by other cells.”

The researchers found that high salt intake prevents the inhibition of VP neurons, which normally occurs through a bodily system that detects pressure in the arteries. —> Read More Here


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