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High salt intake linked to MS

For people with certain genes, high sodium consumption may increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, according to new research.

Depending on your genes, high salt intake could increase your risk of developing multiple sclerosis, according to new research conducted on mice. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal published results of the study, which were noted on

Dimitry Krementsove, Ph.D., of the University of Vermont’s Department of Medicine, Immunobiology Program, led a team of scientists who worked with three genetically different groups of mice. They fed the rodents a high salt diet or a control diet, then induced a disease that mimics human MS. In terms of developing clinical signs of the disease, genetics turned out to be the key factor. In one genetic group, both males and females fed a high salt diet showed worse clinical signs of the disease. In the other genetic group, only females showed a negative response to salt. In the third genetic group, there was no response to salt.

"As is the case with other things, you need to get enough salt so your body functions properly, but not too much or things start to go haywire," Gerald Weissmann, MD., editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal, said in a release. "This report helps shed light on what can go wrong in individuals with genes that make one susceptible to autoimmune disease. It also helps us understand how much salt is just right for any given individual."

Other recent research has been exploring the link between diet and multiple sclerosis. Last year, a Harvard School of Public Health study suggested that vitamin D may slow the progression of MS.

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