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Higher Salt Intake Worsens MS

Update Date: Aug 29, 2014 03:58 PM EDT

An observational study in Argentina has found a link between salt intake and the severity of multiple sclerosis.

According to Doctors Lounge, the study analyzed salt intake in 70 patients with remitting-relapsing type of the diseases by measuring urine sodium levels. On observation, a correlation between salt intake and worsening of symptoms was found.

"The authors sought to assess the effect of salt consumption on clinical and radiological disease activity in MS. Sodium intake was estimated from sodium excretion in urine samples, and patients were followed for two years," Doctors Lounge said while describing the study that was published on August 28 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

According to Medical Xpress, urine samples were collected on three occasions over a period of nine months during which dietary salt intake was monitored. A comparison was also made with urine samples collected from 52 patients between June and July last year.

Researchers identified that salt intakes were either under 2 g, ranged between 2 to 4.8 g or were higher than 4.8 g. After considering factors such as age, gender, diseases duration, weight, and smoking, researchers established that patients whose salt intake was moderate or high quantities reported at least three more episodes compared to the group with reduced intake. The high intake group was also four times likely to have episodes.

X-ray and scans of high intake group also showed they were 3.5 times likely to exhibit radiological signs of disease progression. The study, though observational, implicates salt which is known to alter the auto-immune response tied to the cause of the disease.

"Many environmental factors affect MS, such as vitamin D, smoking and Epstein Barr virus infection. Our study shows that high salt intake may be another environmental factor affecting MS patients," lead researcher Dr. Mauricio Farez from Raul Carrea Institute for Neurological Research, Buenos Aires, told WebMD.

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