Could the consumption of too much salt worsen the symptoms of multiple sclerosis? A new study from Argentina suggests exactly this.
A number of factors have been singled out as possible causes of aggravation of Multiple sclerosis. These include environmental factors, Vitamin D, smoking and Epstein Barr virus infection. Salt intake also has a bearing on the severity of MS symptoms according to lead researcher Dr. Mauricio Farez, of the Raul Carrea Institute for Neurological Research in Buenos Aires.
Multiple sclerosis is a very debilitating disease which affects the nervous system. The common symptoms include numbness, memory problems, weakness, visual disturbances, trouble with balance, and thinking. The symptoms of multiple sclerosis ebbs and wanes and the symptoms when it ebbs is severe and worsens with time.
Past research had found that salt could change the autoimmune response which plays a major role in the precipitation of Multiple Sclerosis. Dr Farez however cautions that the study does not prove that salt worsens the symptoms of MS but it has some association.
Dr Farez said, “This is a small observational study showing a relationship between salt intake and MS disease activity, and these data need to be further validated in larger studies, including different populations,”
The study included 70 subjects who were suffering from relapsing-remitting form of MS.Farez’s team measured the sodium levels, creatinine and Vitamin D in the blood and the urine. Creatinine is a marker of inflammation, and low levels of vitamin D have been associated with MS.
Sodium intake was separated into three levels
- Less than 2 grams daily
- Between 2 and 4.8 grams a day
- More than 4.8 grams daily
The current health guidelines for cardiac disease prevention advocate a maximum sodium intake of 1.5 grams to 2.4 grams per day and that comes out to be just half a teaspoonful of table salt per day.
Farez’s and his team of researchers found that persons with daily sodium intake of between 2 and 4.8 grams and those who consume more than 4.8 grams which is a little less than a teaspoon of salt are four times more likely to have more episodes of worsening MS symptoms as those who consumed the least salt.