Don’t Salt Your Immune System


Our upcoming immune prepper course will offer an in-depth look at a multitude of factors which go into the proper care and function of our immune defense systems.  Today we look at one factor in our diets which can impair our ability to fight off infections. The amount of salt we take in on a dial basis affects our ability to fight off infections.  In an age of drug resistant bacteria and crazy viruses, we cannot afford to take any risks in the daily battle.

Prior research had suggested that extra salt might help our immune system’s function after a study showed that certain skin parasitic infections healed faster when the test subjects consumed more salt.  Researchers in this study however concluded that at least for bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes in the blood and E. coli in the kidney, extra salt significantly worsened our chances of clearing the infections.  By consuming an extra 6 grams of salt above their normal intake, study participants worsened their clinical recovery and had slower to respond immune cells called neutrophils.  These bacteria play a major role in fighting off bacterial infections.

The mechanism through which extra salt could weaken our systems appeared to occur through increased glucocorticoid levels stimulated by the extra salt and possibly a direct effect on neutrophils.  This extra 6 grams is a little more than 1 teaspoon and equals the amount in 2 fast food meals on average.

With this in mind, keeping salt in check becomes important not just for heart health and blood pressure control, but also for keeping our immune system ready for any potential threat.  In caring for a number of patients with weakened immune system, we want them to have every bit of knowledge at their disposal to prevent infectious harms to their health. Monitoring and managing salt intake can be an important part of optimizing your immune health in pursuing the healthier more abundant life.


Original Article:

Katarzyna Jobin, Natascha E. Stumpf, Sebastian Schwab, Melanie Eichler, Patrick Neubert, Manfred Rauh, Marek Adamowski, Olena Babyak, Daniel Hinze, Sugirthan Sivalingam, Christina K. Weisheit, Katharina Hochheiser, Susanne Schmidt, Mirjam Meissner, Natalio Garbi, Zeinab Abdullah, Ulrich Wenzel, Michael Hölzel, Jonathan Jantsch and Christian Kurts. A high-salt diet compromises antibacterial neutrophil responses through hormonal perturbation. Science Translational Medicine, 2020 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aay3850

Thanks to Science Daily:

University of Bonn. “Too much salt weakens the immune system: A diet rich in salt weakens the antibacterial immune defense.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2020. <>.

Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.

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