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Salt Linked To Autoimmune Diseases 308

Posted by Soulskill
from the literally-everything-is-trying-to-kill-us dept.
ananyo writes "The incidence of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, has spiked in developed countries in recent decades. In three studies published today, researchers describe the molecular pathways that can lead to autoimmune disease and identify one possible culprit that has been right under our noses — and on our tables — the entire time: salt. Some forms of autoimmunity have been linked to overproduction of TH17 cells, a type of helper T cell that produces an inflammatory protein called interleukin-17. Now scientists have found sodium chloride turns on the production of these cells (abstract). They also showed that in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, a high-salt diet accelerated the disease's progression (abstract)."
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Salt Linked To Autoimmune Diseases

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:01PM (#43097125)

    Salt, sugar, ethanol, nicotine, any food that isn't raw and tasteless--in an ideal healthy world, we would all eat a diet of cardboard and water and walk around flagellating ourselves all day.

    Enjoyable = sinful = unhealthy

    • by cod3r_ (2031620)
      Long as beer salt is still OK
    • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:18PM (#43097341)

      I take this sort of story with a pinch of salt to be honest.

    • by HappyHead (11389) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:22PM (#43097389)
      And once we are eating that diet free of salt, sugar, and all the rest of that, we'll all die of malnutrition since most of those things are (or are our primary source of) vital nutrients. The human body is a badly designed, self-destructing patchwork of bits that are perpetually one bad jolt away from a breakdown, so it's not surprising that they've discovered yet again, that excessive quantities of things we need to live will also kill us.

      Even water has an LD50 after all. Too much of it will leach away all of the electrolytes (including sodium chloride) from your body, and kill you.
      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:53PM (#43097737) Journal

        And at the end of the day what does all this denial get you? Even Jesus didn't get out of here alive folks but let us say, just for the sake of argument they had a new "lets all eat cardboard" diet that made you live to 120....anybody spent any time with someone over 85? That is NOT a good life or a good way to be, most of your family is dead, your friends too, probably your spouse and maybe even a child or two, you're weak, your bones are easily broken, frankly death would probably be a blessing. My grandma lived to 98 and honestly those last 10 years were hell because she lost so many friends as well as her husband and oldest child...why? Why would you want that?

        I mean sure if they could give me a cyborg body so i could do everything I could at 30 at 90 that would be one thing but as it is now they just tack on years at the end, which is when it all goes to shit anyway...no thanks.,Give me an extra 10 years of being 20 or something, don't add years to the end.

        • by PRMan (959735)

          Even Jesus didn't get out of here alive folks

          I thought the whole point of his coming was that he did.

        • I only know one person that lived over 90, but she was happy. She didn't realize she'd lost people... she thought their younger relatives were them. Then, she forgot they even existed.

          If we figure out how to live to 120, I don't see why we couldn't figure out how to have strong bones at 85. In fact, I think we already know how to do that, there are many healthy, active 85 year olds. It's just that it takes exercise and eating in a way you may not want to, for your whole life.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @07:01PM (#43098581)
            My grandfather is 85. He's a computer geek who lives on microwave dinners. My father had the opposite lifestyle: Lots of exercise, and healthy food. He died from undiagnosed diabetes and high blood pressure at 62. Sometimes there's more to longevity than diet.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @08:11PM (#43099413)

          And at the end of the day what does all this denial get you? Even Jesus didn't get out of here alive folks but let us say, just for the sake of argument they had a new "lets all eat cardboard" diet that made you live to 120....anybody spent any time with someone over 85?

          Speak for yourself, you young whippersnapper, because I think life is still grand. I've gone from seeing computers that filled rooms of tubes to ones that fit on a desk to ones you can carry in your hand, each more powerful than the last. Granted, you kids these days have some crazy ideas. And won't stay off my lawn. But if I could live to 120 and still have the quality of life I do now, I'd find something useful to do with all that extra time. If nothing else, books are being written faster than I can read them.

          Eat meat and don't eat sugar or much bread. Walk every day. If the walking gets tough, take a bit of whiskey and walk anyway. I figure I have at least another good decade in me, although my eyes aren't what they used to be. Certainly, it is painful to lose friends and relatives over the years, and it is especially sad to see the children of friends who then became friends die of "old age". But life is still precious, and you kids have no idea how wonderful it is.

          Plus, we old people are keeping some amazing secrets from you. Hurry up with that immortality serum and we might decide to share.

      • by pavon (30274) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @06:03PM (#43097859)

        The human body is a badly designed, self-destructing patchwork of bits that are perpetually one bad jolt away from a breakdown, so it's not surprising that they've discovered yet again, that excessive quantities of things we need to live will also kill us.

        Actually I draw the opposite conclusion from this. The human body is so amazingly flexible and adaptable, that it can survive on a huge variety of diets, and can compensate for poor diets so well that it can be difficult to realize the long-term effects that these poor diets are having, given the relatively benign short-term symptoms.

        • by gosand (234100)

          The human body is a badly designed, self-destructing patchwork of bits that are perpetually one bad jolt away from a breakdown, so it's not surprising that they've discovered yet again, that excessive quantities of things we need to live will also kill us.

          Actually I draw the opposite conclusion from this. The human body is so amazingly flexible and adaptable, that it can survive on a huge variety of diets, and can compensate for poor diets so well that it can be difficult to realize the long-term effects that these poor diets are having, given the relatively benign short-term symptoms.

          Look at the history of mankind and what we ate in order to evolve to this point. As is pointed out in the documentary "in search of the perfect human diet" if you started at the goal line of a football field and if that was the "dawn of man", and walked all the way to the other goal line, the span of time that we have been eating grains and sugars in large quantities would take up the last 1/2". For 2.5 million years our ancestors were meat-eating primates. The time we have been eating grains (10-20k yea

          • by Beeftopia (1846720) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @09:03PM (#43099933)

            Actually, different ancient populations ate differently.

            Inuits (Eskimos) eat an extremely high protein, high fat diet. Not much farming in the far north.

            Nordic populations (Finns and Swedes for example) eat a diet different from Spaniards, who eat a diet different from sub-Saharan Africans who eat a diet different from southern Asians.

            It seems to me that there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to diet. One needs to understand one's genetic ancestry, and then using that as a guide, figure out what's best for that person. What might be too much protein for a vegetarian south Asian farmer might not be enough for a Finn or an Inuit hunter. What might be too much fat or carbohydrate for one population might not be enough for another.

            • by Sigg3.net (886486)

              I can vouch for this. I'm Scandinavian and nourish myself by wrapping bacon around my naked body and just let it seep in overnight.

      • is a badly designed, self-destructing patchwork of bits that are perpetually one bad jolt away from a breakdown

        Sounds like someone's bad software application.

      • by mpe (36238) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @06:51PM (#43098437)
        And once we are eating that diet free of salt, sugar, and all the rest of that, we'll all die of malnutrition since most of those things are (or are our primary source of) vital nutrients.

        It turns out that there is no such thing as an "essential sugar" in the human diet. Not even amylose or amylopectin...
      • by Bonobo_Unknown (925651) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @07:01PM (#43098583)

        You should read the article. No really. Because they mention exactly this. That it's not just a matter of eliminating salt, it is absolutely required, but that we tend to eat too much. Heck here's a copy / paste for you:

        To stay healthy, the human body relies on a careful balance: too little immune function and we succumb to infection, too much activity and the immune system begins to attack healthy tissue, a condition known as autoimmunity. Some forms of autoimmunity have been linked to overproduction of TH17 cells, a type of helper T cell that produces an inflammatory protein called interleukin-17.

      • I've been doing a lot of reading on dietary topics, and it is quite amazing how many opinions about our dietary needs are based on nothing but opinion or the opinions of other people. Even the scientific results can be mis-interpreted or looked at in so many ways that you can seemingly show whatever you want from these studies.
        There's a ton of stuff out there, like the book "Good Calories Bad Calories" that covers it in depth, but watch this video by Dr Peter Attia. I think it sums it up pretty well. Th [vimeo.com]

    • Major exception to your rule: sex. So long as you don't get an infection from it. I have yet to hear any study suggest that sex is bad for you.
      • by Applekid (993327)

        Major exception to your rule: sex. So long as you don't get an infection from it. I have yet to hear any study suggest that sex is bad for you.

        Not so. Sex can exasperate existing conditions and lead to heart attack or stroke. What a way to go, though.

        • by Dantoo (176555) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:49PM (#43097691)

          It would be awful to die all alone like that though........

        • A heart attack or a stroke isn't my idea of a good way to die
          • by c0lo (1497653)

            A heart attack or a stroke isn't my idea of a good way to die

            Why not? I mean, if you get a chic "Don't resuscitate" tattoo, not only you'll be handsomer but chances are you'll never get to know you died.

            • by Sentrion (964745)

              I'm showing my nerdiness here, but that reminds me of the time when the crew of the Enterprise discovered an ancient space vessel. Bodies were found aboard, and Piccard observed that they had apparently died in their sleep, and Lt. Worf commented "what a terrible way to die!"

              • by c0lo (1497653)

                I'm showing my nerdiness here, but that reminds me of the time when the crew of the Enterprise discovered an ancient space vessel. Bodies were found aboard, and Piccard observed that they had apparently died in their sleep, and Lt. Worf commented "what a terrible way to die!"

                Well, are you a klingon who should die in a battle with fierce enemies or else be dishonored? If you are, I don't think calling yourself a nerd does any good to your standing reputation.

          • Not to be Debbie Downer, but if you think those are bad ways to die you've never seen someone die of metastatic cancer or emphysema.
            • by Garridan (597129)
              Cool thing about metastatic cancer: I got to spend an extra 11 months with my dad. No such thing if he'd had a heart attack.
              • Because obviously, his heart attack would have happened the same day as his death due to cancer.

                Just because you got to spend almost a year saying goodbye doesn't mean it's a good way to die. My wife had a maternal uncle die of pancreatic cancer and a paternal aunt die of (non-smoking-related) lung cancer. Both spent their final weeks - not days, weeks - on home hospice, moaning in pain until the time for another dose of morphine came. Then they drifted into unconsciousness for an hour or two before it a
      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:41PM (#43097611)

        I have yet to hear any study suggest that sex is bad for you.

        You're not visiting the right churches.

      • by cusco (717999)
        Pregnancy and childbirth are still major causes of death for women around the world. Jealous husbands are a lesser cause of death for men.
      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        Except in most major cities the odds of finding a woman who is 100% bug free (remember there are some like genital warts that can remain dormant and still infect a partner) can be as low as a quarter flip so even that isn't safe. Man, remember when all you needed for safe sex was a padded headboard? Those were the days.
    • by amiga3D (567632)

      Salt, once you get past a small amount, isn't good. I hate most fast food because it tastes like nothing but salt. They load down everything with salt so you can't even taste the food. Maybe that's the point.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by xevioso (598654)

      The solution is to use other things that tasty salty, but which are not, to flavor your food.

      I make and eat Thai food all the time. Thais use fish sauce in lots of their dishes, which is quite salty, as is soy sauce.

      The idea of using salt in my freshly made bowl of Tom Kha Gai would give me a heart attack.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I don't want to ruin your illusions, but if fish sauce or soy sauce taste salty, it's because there is a LOT of sodium chloride in them, so there is no benefit for health to use them instead of plain salt.
        Take a look at what's in soy sauce [dietfacts.com]...

        However, some ingredients can be used as a replacement to salt and derivative to increase the taste of food, for instance lemon juice.
    • by Kongming (448396)
      Capsaicin [wikipedia.org] (the chemical that makes most hot peppers spicy), in reasonable quantities, is hypothesized to have a few mild health benefits.
  • Don't eat or you will die.... oh wait.
  • Bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:11PM (#43097245) Journal

    These finding are contradicted by the epidemiological evidence. The hazards of low salt are immediate and deadly. The hazards of high salt are hard to detect. The chances that there are other variables at work are high. Just because you have a pathway, it doesn't mean you've identified all the regulatory mechanisms.
       

    • I agree with this. My skeptical neurons started firing when I read the phrase "mouse model" in the synopsis.
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Even more so in places with low iodine, or iodine deficiency, [wikipedia.org] one of the reasons why it was added to table salt like Europe and Russia. My mother was born in east germany, and for the first 15 years of her life suffered through that, now she has all kinds of wonderful health problems like many people from that region.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Pathway just indicates it's a contributing factor. To present it as the cause of a disease is like the ban DHMO campaign's bullet point that it is the leading cause of drowning.

      • An issue I've seen with the use of mouse models in several places is that studies in mice (including this one) are based around a disease called EAE which can be readily induced in mice and which has many features similar to human multiple sclerosis. It's of course convenient experimentally to be able to induce what is normally a rare and unpredictable autoimmunity, but how well does that compare to human patients? Induction of EAE involves injecting mice with brain matter and pertussis toxin, in order to g

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The hazards of high salt are hard to detect

      Except for my blood pressure
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:11PM (#43097257)

    90 years of whole wheat is indistinguishable from death.

  • by emilper (826945) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:12PM (#43097265)

    yes, people used to die from flu, tooth infections and because of exhaustion when they traveled from Paris to Vienna in autumn by coach, now people live to 80+ until the system shuts down from almost anything ... soon we'll hear oxygen is linked to autoimmune diseases, diabetes and lack of interest in MSM

    it's called living, it is dangerous, and at the end, no matter what you do, you die

  • Sssshh! (Score:4, Funny)

    by JeanCroix (99825) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:15PM (#43097297) Journal
    Nobody tell Bloomberg!
  • by QilessQi (2044624) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:18PM (#43097345)

    ...is somewhere between 0 and 100kg per day. Now we just need to zero in on the exact number and we'll be all set.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      The problem with salt is that it can be too low or too high. And, despite what doctors might say, it's not that hard to run low.

      Bottom line, is that it's how much you have in your brain and blood stream that ultimately matters more than your consumption does. If you're eating 2x the recommended amount, but sweating 3x as much as a normal person would, you will get sick eventually.

      • by QilessQi (2044624)

        I do agree. Electrolytes are vital to a healthy body, and all it takes to put you in the "too low" category is a 24-hour GI bug accompanied by a half-dozen bouts of screaming into the porcelain microphone.

        And did you ever notice that sports drinks with electrolytes (like Gatorade) taste great when you're sweating and salt-deprived, and positively horrible when you're not?

  • by Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:23PM (#43097403)

    The problem with these guesses about salt is our kidneys are specifically designed for actively and precisely maintaining homeostasis of certain key ions (Na, Cl, K, Ca) in the bloodstream. If it weren't we would simply die within days or sooner. Moderate salt with good hydration is probably not harmful at all -- it is probably good for you as it helps the kidneys filter other bad stuff out. Low salt could easily be bad for you.

    High salt plus low hydration might be bad. But where exactly is the line where moderate salt becomes high? Guessing based on what we eat is for witch doctors.

    So I would like to see an actual study showing how adding/subtracting a little salt changes anything measurable at all about the long term serum average, otherwise I am inclined to believe that this guess is baloney. We are not walking petri dishes.

    (There are specific diseases where controlling salts are very important, but that is a separate issue.)

    • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @06:00PM (#43097813)

      Moderate salt intake is mandatory, if you're not consuming any you'll eventually run low and wind up dead or brain damaged. And, that's not as hard as people think, all it takes is a few days of unseasonable weather if you've been low balling your consumption to get seriously ill. As in wind up in the ICU of the local hospital with life threatening brain damage.

      Yes, that's rather unlikely as most people consume so much salt that it would take weeks or more to run low, but it can and does happen.

    • "The problem with these guesses about salt is our kidneys have specifically *EVOLVED TO* actively and precisely maintain homeostasis of certain key ions"

      Fixed.

  • I love it how the conclusions from a mouse study automatically equals 'the man' trying to force use to eat a salt-free diet.
  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:30PM (#43097497) Homepage Journal
    You should always take news like this with 64.79891 mg [wikipedia.org] of NaCl.
  • Too much salt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miltonw (892065) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @05:30PM (#43097501)
    It isn't salt, it's too much salt. No one needs the huge levels of sodium chloride that is now added to most processed foods. It is there because it "tastes good" while making you want to eat more and more.

    I had to give up salt completely some years ago and it took months before I regained my ability to taste unsalted food. Now, food without salt actually tastes much better that the over-salted crap served to us everywhere.

    Yes, the body requires some sodium chloride but the amount is very small. What most people ingest is far, far beyond that. As with just about anything, too much will harm you.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      I had to give up salt completely some years ago

      So, you're a zombie then? Because if you don't have salt in your diet, you're dead.

      • Zombies get their salt from the human flesh tartare they consume. Humans taste salty. Just ask any dog that is trying to lick your face, or a coyote that is gnawing on your leg.

      • by miltonw (892065)
        *sigh*

        There is far, far, far enough naturally occurring salt in food to supply all the salt that a body needs without having to add any. Perhaps, to be clearer for those who take things too literally, I needed to avoid all foods with any salt added to whatever naturally was there to start with.
  • Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @06:09PM (#43097905)

    Taubes on Salt - http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/opinion/sunday/we-only-think-we-know-the-truth-about-salt.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 [nytimes.com]

    While, back then, the evidence merely failed to demonstrate that salt was harmful, the evidence from studies published over the past two years actually suggests that restricting how much salt we eat can increase our likelihood of dying prematurely. Put simply, the possibility has been raised that if we were to eat as little salt as the U.S.D.A. and the C.D.C. recommend, weâ(TM)d be harming rather than helping ourselves.

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