Refined Table Salts Cause Immune System to Turn on Itself

Refined Table Salts Cause Immune System to Turn on Itself

We all know that processed foods are bad for us – but just how bad is becoming increasingly studied and increasingly frightening. Along with known carcinogens and a laundry list of chemical additives, new studies have discovered that the refined salts found in processed foods, microwave dinners and take-out items can cause the immune system to turn on itself, potentially leading to autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and alopecia.

While natural salts such as Himalayan rock salt and Celtic sea salt provide essential minerals and are important for the body’s proper function, processed, refined and bleached salts are devoid of nutritional value and can cause great system-wide harm. Our bodies are not able to process the refined sodium chloride compound found in these salts, leading to a variety of health issues.

Early laboratory findings from Yale University, Harvard University and MIT show that these treated salts may stimulate a part of the immune system that can target the body, paving the way for autoimmune conditions. This occurs as a result of the effects of refined salts on specific type of T helper cell known as Th17 cells. These cells activate surrounding cells to fight infection, viruses and bacteria. However, when they are overstimulated and become too aggressive, they can lead to the development of autoimmune conditions.

When lab mice were fed a diet high in refined salts, researchers at Yale University noticed increased aggressive activity in their Th17 cells. In fact, the nervous systems of the mice were filled with large concentrations of the type of Th17 cells that specifically promote inflammation. They also showed symptoms akin to those of MS in humans. In an BBC interview covering the study, Yale professor of immunobiology David Hafler said, “in mouse models of MS, those fed high-salt diets had significantly worse disease… we were all really quite surprised to see how changes is dietary salt could have such a profound effect.”

Refined Table Salts Cause Immune System to Turn on ItselfProcessed foods from grocery stores as well as fast food chains are to blame for the largest concentrations of refined sodium content. Surprisingly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bread is the top source of refined salt in the American diet. One six-inch Roasted Garlic loaf at Subway contains 1,260 mg of sodium – roughly equivalent to 14 strips of bacon.

Professor David Hafler summarizes, “today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.” Other researchers speculate that the link between processed foods and autoimmune disorders is due to a lack of minerals rather than an excess of salt. Either way, processed foods, which are literally depleted of their minerals in the manufacturing process, are the culprit.

To maintain optimal health, choose natural, mineral salts to add flavor to your dishes, and steer clear of the drive-thru and frozen dinner aisles. Your body will thank you.

Have you switched out your salts in your spice cabinet yet?

– The Alternative Daily

When shopping for sea salt, look for an unrefined sea salt. Unrefined sea salt retains all the natural minerals your body needs. The only sea salt we use in our kitchen is from Ava Jane’s Kitchen. Learn more and receive a special offer today!


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