A new study has found that a high sodium diet can protect the skin. Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Germany have found that sodium accumulates in the skin and tissue in humans and mice to help control infection. They concluded that salt stores may be nature’s way of protecting against microbial invasion and boosting immune defences.
In the experiment, German researchers discovered that mice which were fed a high-salt diet healed infections in their feet more quickly.
This study adds to the mounting research which counteract one of the most staunchly held myth of modern nutrition: salt is bad for you.
Following the 2004 government-backed multi-million pound campaign, our recommended daily allowance is currently 6g, which raises the question: why 6?
This number largely rests on two pieces of disputed evidence:
- A 1970 study were high blood pressure was induced in rats by feeding them sodium. However, the human equivalent of salt consumed by the rats was extreme and equated to an unrealistically high daily intake.
- In a 1997 study, low blood pressure was achieved with low salt consumption. However, salt could not be isolated as the cause, with other factors such as low saturated fat coming in to play.
On the other hand, the counter evidence is getting stronger and stronger:
A 2014 study tracked more than 100,000 people from 17 countries over an average of more than three years and found that those who consumed less than 7.5g of salt a day had a 27% higher risk of death or a serious event such as a heart attack or stroke in that period than those whose intake was estimated at 7.5g to 15g of salt. There are multiple studies that also support these findings.
In 2013 the Institute of Medicine in America published a report concluding that there’s no evidence to support current efforts to lower sodium consumption to less than 2,300 mg/day.
And in 2011, a study followed almost 4,000 Europeans for 8 years and found that the risk of heart disease was 56% higher in a low salt group than those who ate the highest amount of salt.
From either perspective, we need to adopt a sensible approach to our salt consumption and remember that salt is an essential mineral for life – every cell of our bodies requires it to survive
Read more about the importance of salt in your diet here.