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How salty food weakens our immune system


Those who cannot resist the salt on the pretzel endanger their defenses.
Picture: dpa

Our survival depends on a good immune system. Therefore, new, unfavorable findings about our diet should give food for thought. This time it got the salt.

FA message recently tweeted by the French Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, has caused confusion that anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and cortisone could worsen the course of Covid-19. While his warning of ibuprofen is scientifically based on clay feet, that of cortisone is justified. Because the stress hormone cortisone and its family, the glucocorticoids, not only suppress inflammation. If they are present in increased quantities, they also dampen the immune system. This applies not only to medicated cortisone, but also to the glucocorticoids that the body produces itself.

Against this background, it is worrying that a salt-rich diet apparently weakens the immune system through an increased release of glucocorticoids. Evidence of such a connection is provided at least by the knowledge gained in humans and mice by researchers led by Christian Kurts and Katarzyna Jobin from the University of Bonn. Initially, the scientists had assumed that a salt-rich diet could even strengthen the immune system. Because certain immune cells, the macrophages that are common in the skin, kill intruders in a salt-rich environment much more efficiently than in those with less salt. However, the skin is a special organ. It protects the body from harmful external influences and also stores large amounts of salt. On the other hand, its concentration inside the body is kept within narrow limits.

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