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Could Too Much Salt Cause Liver Damage?

First Posted: Feb 24, 2016 11:30 PM EST

Previous studies have shown that too much salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure and other health conditions. However, could too much salt also be dangerous for your liver?

New findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry show that a diet high in salt may contribute to liver damage in adults and even in developing embryos.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that individuals consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day or about one teaspoon. Sodium ions from the mineral help regular water movement within the body and conduct nerve impulses, according to researchers. Unfortunately, however, most Americans consume over the recommended amount.

To see how over-consumption of sodium might affect the liver, researchers gave adult mice a high-salt diet and then exposed chick embryos to a briny environment. Findings showed that excessive sodium intake was linked to a number of changes in the animals' livers that ranged from oddly shaped cells to an increase in cell death and a decrease in cell proliferation, which can contribute to the development of fibrosis.

Fortunately, the researchers found that the damaged cells could be partially treated with vitamin C.

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