Study Finds Too Much Salt Could Weaken Your Immune System

It turns out eating too much salt (via chips, cheese, cereal, popcorn… essentially all of our quarantine snacks) can significantly weaken the immune system. Not ideal when you’re trying to ward off a virus, eh?

For the study, researchers at the University Hospital Bonn in Germany fed both humans and mice a high-salt diet for a week. The participants who ate an extra six grams of salt daily showed “pronounced immune deficiencies.” Put simply, too much salt can trigger your kidneys and prompt the build-up of a hormone called glucocorticoids, which impairs an immune cell present in the blood known as granulocytes. This makes it much harder for the body to combat bacteria effectively. Little wonder then, that the mice ended up with “severe bacterial infections.”

“In the spleen and liver of these animals we counted 100 to 1,000 times the number of disease-causing pathogens,” lead author Katarzyna Jobin said. In addition, instances of UTIs healed far slower when the mice ate more salt.

It begs the question… how much should we *actually* be eating?

According to the World Health Organisation (aka, WHO), 5 grams of salt per day max. FYI, that’s around one level teaspoon, although processed foods are often high in sodium too.

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