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How salt affects our gut bacteria

How salt kills bacteria in your gut

Gut bacteria are sensitive to salt and has been linked to autoimmune disease and hypertension. Common salt reduces the number of certain lactic acid bacteria in the gut of humans. This has an impact on immune cells which are partly responsible for autoimmune diseases and hypertension. Therefore, salt kills bacteria that is essential to your overall well-being.

The current recommendation in the UK is that adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day (or 2.4g of sodium) and that children’s intake should be defined by their age:

1-3 years – 2g salt a day (0.8g sodium)
4-6 years – 3g salt a day (1.2g sodium)
7-10 years – 5g salt a day (2g sodium)
11+ years – 6g salt a day (2.4g sodium) – as for adults

Babies under one year old should have less than 1g of salt a day as their kidneys, which are required to process it, are still developing. It is, therefore, important not to add salt when cooking for babies and to avoid giving babies ready meals, which often have high salt content.

If you are looking at a food label, you need to multiply the sodium amount by 2.5 to calculate the amount of salt.

The primary reason for the recommended limits on salt intake is that it contributes to high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Excess salt consumption has also been linked to autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.

But what about the effect salt has on the gut?
High levels of salt in the diet have been shown to impact the types of bacteria found in the gut microbiome. In particular, high salt diets have been shown to reduce the numbers of Lactobacillus bacteria species, which are a key part of a healthy human microbiome.

Furthermore, the changes in the gut microbiota caused by salt have been directly linked to increasing the inflammation that causes high blood pressure and autoimmune diseases. And one study indicated that if participants took friendly bacteria supplements for a week before starting a high-salt diet, their Lactobacillus levels and blood pressure remained normal.

All of this suggests that reducing salt intake to support the microbiome can help to support health and supporting the microbiome with friendly bacteria foods and supplements may help with some of the health issues associated with high salt intake.

Want to know more?

Pro-Ven Probiotics aim to provide the best support for both you and your health. If you wish to know more about gut health and what affects it, please do not hesitate to call us on 01639 825107 or alternatively, learn more via our blogs or in-depth proven research.

ProVen Probiotics, Unit 2 Christchurch Road, Baglan Industrial Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7DJ. Tel: 01639 825107

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