Healthy diet: Weakens too much salt in the immune system?

Frequent coughing and a runny nose, constant bruised beauty: the one Who has a weak immune system is more susceptible to infections, which are transmitted by viruses and bacteria.

That’s why many people put celebrities on healthy habits to strengthen your body’s defenses.

But it’s not just about his body as many healthy nutrients to feed and keep fit. Also, the waiver of certain things can be significant.

Salt promotes stronger infections

As the results of a recent study show, could salt be one of these substances, the immune system just benefits.

Within their study, which was published in the journal ‘Science Translational Medicine’, the researchers observed that initially the impact of salty foods on the course of bacterial infections in mice.

Some animals were fed for a week with very salty food. The control groups received normal and low salt content food.

The scientists studied how the immune system of the mice came with an infection of Escherichia coli bacteria to cope.

The results show that The animals that received the salt-rich food, had to contend with significantly greater infection than the mice that had received a normal or a low salt dose.

A lot of salt: bacteria best circuit is significantly higher

In the case of an infection with Listerinen, which cause vomiting, fever and blood poisoning, were able to determine, the researchers similar effects.

In the case of the saline-fed mice, the bacterial load was significantly higher than in the control group the immune system of the animals is clearly weakened.

“In the spleen and liver of these animals, we included a 100 – to 1,000-times the amount of the disease-causing germs,“ says first author Katarzyna Jobin in a press release.

In the gallery: So much salt is in these foods

Excretion via the kidneys, interferes with immune function

The explanation of why the salt has such an effect on the immune system, the researchers found in connection with the kidney function.

The excess salt will be filtered out through these and is excreted in the urine. As a side-effect, however, certain enzymes are produced only in minor quantities.

The result is that the body can no longer process some substances completely. Thus, biomolecules are released, which have an effect similar to the stress hormone cortisone, which is used in medicine for the treatment of immune reactions.

The concentration is now increasing due to a salt-containing diet, this could explain why there is a weakening of the immune system.

Urea production is enhanced by salt

In addition, the excessive salt consumption leads to an increased production of urea. This inhibits as a side effect of the activity of so-called neutrophils, which attack normally as phagocytes unwanted bacteria in the body.

You do not do this to a sufficient extent, is a weak immune system, the follow – up and infections are far more serious, it is part of the researchers.

The observed effects indicate that a high salt consumption weakens the protective effect of the immune system against bacteria in mice significantly.

The recommended daily salt intake for adults according to the German society for nutrition by the way, a maximum of six grams a day – about a teaspoon.

Similar side effects in humans

Also in humans, the researchers were able to determine the context of a weak immune system and a salty diet.

The researchers observed ten Volunteers who afflict your meals daily six grams more salt than normally.

“This corresponds roughly to the amount contained in two fast-food meals, two burgers and two portions of French fries,” explains Prof. Dr. Christian Kurts from the Institute for Experimental immunology at the University of Bonn.

A blood test after a week showed that of the mice, the well-known effects also occur in humans.

Since the investigation is not representative, should now be followed by further investigation of the contexts of a weak immune system and an unnatural intake of salt.


  • University of Bonn, Germany (2020): press release: Too much salt inhibits the immune system, retrieved on 30.03.2020
  • Jobin, K., et al. (2020): A high-salt diet compromises antibacterial neutrophil responses through hormonal perturbation, retrieved on 30.03.2020

Cornelia Bertram

*The post “Healthy eating: Weakens too much salt in the immune system?” is published by FitForFun. Contact with the executives here.