A Salty Gut Is An Unhappy Gut

A Salty Gut Is An Unhappy Gut

Salt fiends beware! If you’re anything like me, you might have thought that not having a sweet tooth would spare you from most of snacking’s fallout on your body. Don’t get me wrong – sugar is not great. But salt, long used worldwide as a food preservative by suppressing the presence of bacteria, has been found to have an effect on the bacteria that inhabit our guts. And this secret massacre may actually be the mechanism behind good ol’ sodium chloride’s well-known health consequences.

“Recent research suggests an additional way salt may raise blood pressure – by altering your gut microbiome. Salt leads to a decrease in healthy microbes and the key metabolites they produce from fiber. These metabolites decrease inflammation in blood vessels and keep them relaxed, contributing to reduced blood pressure. […]

[M]odern diets often have too much sodium. According to the World Health Organization, healthy consumption amounts to less than 2,000 milligrams per day for the average adult. The global mean intake of 4,310 milligrams of sodium has likely increased the amount of salt in the gut over healthy levels.”

Research also shows that too much salt interferes with the release of the insulin-boosting hormone GLP-1, again in the gut, possibly leading to cravings and weight gain. Other studies show it might increase sugar absorption, as well as gut-derived corticosteroids.

If our diets depend on those nefarious “hyperpalatable”  foods, packed with sugar and dalt and all sorts of burdensome substances, we might be doing a number on nut just our own bodies, but our microbiomes as well. These bacteria colonies help us in all sorts of ways, some of them still completely unknown to us. Next time I want a salty snack, I’ll have to have a real think about whether it’s worth it to those poor little guys!