CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (CBS Connecticut) – According to three recently published studies, a diet that’s high in salt create a risk of developing autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Two of the studies reportedly showed that salt can bring about the production of aggressive cells that play a role in autoimmune disease development in mice and human cells.

The third study determined that mice on high-salt diets tend to develop a type of disease similar to multiple sclerosis.

“It’s premature to say ‘You shouldn’t eat salt because you’ll get an autoimmune disease,’” study co-author Aviv Regev of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told The Raw Story. “We’re putting forth an interesting hypothesis – a connection between salt and autoimmunity – that must now be tested through careful epidemiological studies in humans.”

Autoimmune diseases arise from an inappropriate immune system response against substances and tissues normally present in the body. As a result, the body will essentially attack itself, instead of defending it from harm.

A high presence of salt in a diet reportedly boosted internal production of a specific immune cell isolated as a root of diseases such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, The Raw Story learned.

“It’s not just salt, of course,” Vijay Kuchroo, author and co-director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told the online newspaper. “Salt could be one more thing on the list of predisposing environmental factors that may promote the development of autoimmunity.”

All three studies were published in the journal Nature.


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