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High-salt diet may boost immune response :- Study.

A high-salt diet increased sodium accumulation in the skin of mice, thereby boosting their immune response to a skin-infecting parasite. Image Courtesy sciencedaily.com

Numerous studies have indicated that a high-salt diet is bad for health, but a significant research now reveals that dietary salt could have a biological advantage in defending the body against invading bacteria.

Study:

  • Research scientist noticed an unusually high amount of sodium in the infected skin of mice that had been bitten by other caged mates.
  • A high-salt diet increased sodium accumulation in the skin of mice, thereby boosting their immune response to a skin-infecting parasite.

Findings:

  • The findings suggest that dietary salt could have therapeutic potential to promote host defense against microbial infections.
  • Further study revealed that infected areas in patients with bacterial skin infections also showed remarkably high salt accumulation.
  • Experiments further prove that, in mice a high-salt diet boosted the activity of immune cells called macrophages, thereby promoting the healing of feet that were infected with a protozoan parasite.

Macrophages :

  • Macrophages are white blood cells, that eats and digest cellular debris, foreign substances, cancer cells and microbes by a process called phagocytosis.

White Blood Cells (WBC) :

  • White blood cells are the cells of immune system that are involved in protecting the body against infectious disease. They are also called leukocytes.

Phagocytosis :

  • It is a process by which cell eats a solid foreign particle within a cellular environment.

Conclusion:

  • Dr Jonathan Jantsch, microbiologist at Universitatsklinikum Regensburg and Universitat Regensburg in Germany said that these findings of increased salt accumulation on the skin might be an ancient strategy to ward of infections, long before antibiotics were invented.
  • Overwhelming studies on hypertension and cardiovascular disease due to high salt intake cannot be overlooked on the basis of above findings.
  • But use of salt on the site of infection might be a looked at as a therapeutic way.
  • Future of research would be in determining as to how salt induces healing.

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