Study: excessive salt messes with immune system too

Originally published at: Study: excessive salt messes with immune system too | Boing Boing



Good thing I’ve been getting unsalted chips to snack on while drunk and watching TV. #pandemiclife


Study: excessive salt messes with immune system too

To salty for me…


No shock. High salt, high sugar and too much fat in your diet all play havoc with metabolic pathways throughout our bodies. The typical USAian diet is pretty much designed to result in shortened life spans.

(ETA: I guess a high slat diet would be bad too, but that was not what I meant! :laughing:)


So you’re saying I shouldn’t be putting icing on my ice cream?

I know the evolutionary reasons why sugar, salt, and fat are so delicious…but life’s just unfair like that.

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Don’t open that can of worms, please.


Um, no? Though I’m sure there are some people who this can affect a great deal, by and large this statement doesn’t seem to hold up to scientific scrutiny.

Read, learn, go on about your day.

"The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science

By Melinda Wenner Moyer on July 8, 2011

This week a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure."


But… but… she’s even a medical school student! I know this is in New Zealand, but she’s tagging at least two outta three of those standard American diet bases. Maybe all three, depending on the waffle recipe.

I should be following your lead.
I work outside a lot and often rationalize my intake of delicious delicious salt as something I can eat ahem freely because I sweat it out. My shoyu intake is probably not helping matters either.

  1. Beware of products that don’t taste especially salty but still have high sodium content, such as cottage cheese.


  1. If you have elevated blood pressure, dietary sodium restriction can not only lower your blood pressure, but can enhance your response to blood pressure medications.

  2. Salt preference is an acquired taste that can be unlearned. It takes about 6-8 weeks to get used to eating food with much lower quantities of salt, but once it’s done, it’s actually difficult to eat foods like potato chips because they taste way too salty.

Ok ok universe, I got the message. Grrrrrrr.


You could make your own ricotta… it will be more cottage cheese like if you go for the less draining…

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I never worried too much about salt because, for whatever reason, I’ve never been drawn to consume excessive amounts of it. I do have to stop myself eating insane amounts of sugar and fat though.

Of the three, it seems “intuitively” obvious that sugar is a problem of a different order. We may have evolved to desire to salt and fat as high-value nutrients, creating a problem when they’re abundant, but we don’t need sugar at all, and (at least some of us) have no upper limit on wanting more. I would bet that, centuries from now, it’ll be regarded the same way as alcohol or cannabis, and people will be shocked that kids used to eat candy all day long.

Well, we evolved the desire for sugar just the same as those other things. We have sensory receptors dedicated to it on our tongues, which is extremely high value real estate, evolutionarily speaking.

Presumably this is because sweetness is an indicator of calorie density, which is something our earlier selves would have very much needed. I’m not an evolutionary biologist though, so take all this with a grain of salt.*

*I’ll see myself out




(we shall see if the images upload properly, but cocaine and opium both have a long and sordid history as pediatric meds. Not one we are particularly proud of.)


Great, so now your kid doesn’t have a toothache but they’re really into disco music and can’t shut the hell up about hedge funds!


I didn’t read the article- what kind of quantities or concentrations of salt (NaCl, KCl, does it matter?) were they working with? In other words, how does that compare to the US Recommended Daily Allowance for sodium?

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Here’s why this can’t be true: I want so, so badly for it to be true.

I know that’s not the most rigorous epistemology, but it outperforms almost all others for long-term accuracy.


That’s a good point. I suppose really sweet foods are rare enough in the wild that you are better off gorging when you find them, whereas if salt tasted good without limit, early hominids wouldn’t have survived their first encounter with the ocean. And even if you lived in a forest of mango trees, you’d be lucky to live long enough for type II diabetes.

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That sucks, I love salty foods. One thing I’ve learned is to never eat a salty meal before going for a checkup at the doctor. I made that mistake once, my blood pressure was through the roof and had to monitor it for a year, which ultimately came out normal.

Thank goodness! The headline worried me until I read the article. I only eat slightly salty food, not food with “excessive salt” or “too much salt”.
Long on the result of oversalting. Short on what oversalting is.

I predict this article will spawn a whole ecosystem of health woo with people focusing on the single line “The phagocytes, whose task is to identify and eliminate pathogens in the body, were able to fight off infections more effectively.”

Thus we will have ‘salt dosing’ to boost ‘phagocytes’ promoted by people who know very little about any of those things, but know how to turn a profit with salt pills.

Your health obsessed friends will talk about salt dosing as a part of their immune boosting cleanse yada yada.

Gwyneth Paltrow will find some reason to sell a $142 device to squirt salt up our various hoohas.

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