Reducing Salt in Diet Good for Gut Microbiome Health and Reducing Blood Pressure
“Particularly in females with untreated hypertension, reducing salt intake to what’s considered a healthier level appears to be good for both their gut microbiome and their blood pressure, scientists report.
In the blood of 145 adults with untreated hypertension, the scientists found that, particularly for the females, just six weeks of a daily sodium intake close to the 2,300 milligrams recommended by groups like the American Heart Association, resulted in increased levels of short-chain fatty acids, an indicator of a healthy microbiome, circulating in the blood. The hypertensive adults also experienced decreased blood pressure and more compliant blood vessels.
“There is a connection,” Dr. Haidong Zhu, molecular geneticist at the Georgia Prevention Institute at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, says of increasing evidence that the microbiome has a direct role in regulating blood pressure and how the average American high-salt diet can interfere with a healthy direction.
To the scientists’ knowledge their study in the journal Hypertension is the first to look at how decreasing salt intake in humans affects circulating short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs, says Zhu, the study’s corresponding author.
Emerging evidence suggests that a high-salt diet alters the gut microbiome, particularly in animal models of salt-sensitive hypertension, but there is little human data. “We are trying to understand underlying mechanisms,” says Zhu, whose research focus incudes increasing understanding of the ways a high-salt diet induces high blood pressure.
The gut microbiota are all the bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi populating your gastrointestinal tract, which have a wide range of functions from helping digest your food to your immune response to influencing a propensity to gain weight. Problems with the microbiome are associated with a wide range of diseases from cancer to gastrointestinal problems to allergies.”
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