Posted on 09-26-2013
SALT DRIVES AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
A study came out in the Journal Nature on 04/25/2013 which found that salt (sodium chloride) can actually drive autoimmune diseases!
BACKGROUND FROM THE STUDY:
Thymus helper 17 cells that produce the cytokine protein interleukin-17 (IL- 17) are known as Th17. They were first discovered in 2007. Th17 cells play a key role in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, autoimmune uveitis, juvenile diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's disease. They play a role in inflammation and tissue injury in these conditions. Th17 cells can cause severe autoimmune diseases.
These authors use a number of sophisticated and detailed experiments on human and murine cell cultures and on mice to establish their findings and conclusions:
1) “There has been a marked increase in the incidence of autoimmune diseases in the past half-century,” and “changes in environmental factors must ultimately be driving this increase.” [environmental]
2) “The significant increase in disease incidence, particularly of multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, indicates that there have been fundamental changes in the environment that cannot be related to genetic factors.”
3) “Diet has long been postulated as a potential environmental risk factor for this increasing incidence of autoimmune diseases in developed countries over recent decades. One such dietary factor, which rapidly changed along with the Western diet and increased consumption of processed foods or ‘fast foods’, is salt (NaCl).”
4) “The salt content in processed foods can be more than 100 times higher in comparison to similar home-made meals.”
5) “Excess NaCl uptake can affect the innate immune system.”
6) “The newly identified population of interleukin (IL)-17-producing CD4+ helper T cells (TH17 cells) has a pivotal role in autoimmune diseases.” [Th17]
7) “Increased salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) concentrations found locally under physiological conditions in vivo markedly boost the induction of murine and human TH17 cells.”
8) The TH17 cells generated under high-salt conditions are highly pathogenic and cause the upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
9) Animals fed with a high-salt diet develop a more severe form of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), in line with augmented central nervous system infiltrating and peripherally induced antigen-specific TH17 cells.
10) Sodium chloride promotes the stable induction of TH17 cells. Increased NaCl concentrations specifically promote the generation of a highly pathogenic TH17 cell type.
11) High-salt diet induces TH17 cells in vivo and exacerbates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.
12) High-salt concentration induces an inflammatory phenotype. The ‘high-salt’ conditions induce inflammatory TH17 cells.
13) Increased NaCl concentrations induce immune system activation.
14) In this investigation, we found that modest increases in NaCl concentration could stimulate an almost logarithmic in vitro induction of Th17. [Important] 15) Common salt added to the diet of mice led to severe worsening of EAE accompanied by increased numbers of TH17 cells.
16) Salt restriction protocol should be used in cases of multiple sclerosis or psoriasis, both autoimmune diseases with strong TH17 components.
17) Excess salt in diet is a potential risk factor for all autoimmune diseases.
18) “Increased dietary salt intake might represent an environmental risk factor for the development of autoimmune diseases through the induction of pathogenic TH17 cells.”
19) “Do these data indicate that increased salt intake is the long-sought-after environmental factor associated with the epidemic of autoimmune disease?”
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS:
Salt (NaCl) is added to nearly all processed, fast, convenience, and tasty foods because it adds to their addiction factor. Read the following for further information:
The End of Overeating by David Kessler, MD, 2009
Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss, 2013
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