High salt levels increase risk of rheumatoid arthritis in some people
Salt intake is in the mix when it comes to factors that could influence development of autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, a research team discusses in Autoimmunity Reviews.
In people genetically susceptible to autoimmune disease, the interplay of environmental factors and small changes to genes are thought to result in the cause and development of disease. Environmental variables include viral infections, exposure to pollutants, stress and dietary factors, one of which is salt intake.
Evidence suggests that high salt intake seems to stop regulatory T cells from suppressing autoimmune disease and promote a shift toward other cells that promote inflammation.
Animal studies confirm the role of a high salt diet in the emergence and the exacerbation of autoimmune conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus nephritis.
“High dietary salt intake plays a role in the spectrum of autoimmune disease etiology,” the authors conclude, highlighting that now experts need to look at how to identify people who would benefit from dietary salt restriction.
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