A new study presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Dublin, by the University of Wyoming, revealed that a high salt diet has a significant adverse impact on the reproductive health of teenagers. The study is the first of its kind to examine the effect of salt on adolescent health rather than the pervasive impact of fat. The World Health Organization has recently revised its salt intake guidelines to 5 g of salt per day for adults.
Rats fed a diet high in salt had a significant delay in reaching puberty compared to rats fed a normal diet. The salt consumption mimicked salt intake 3-4 times the recommended daily allowance for humans.
The researchers concluded that salt content has a more adverse impact than fat content and delays adolescent puberty. Late onset of puberty can lead to behavioral problems, stress and reduced fertility.
“Our work shows that high levels of fat and salt have opposite effects reproductive health” said Dori Pitynski, the lead researcher. “High fat diet is thought to accelerate the onset of puberty but our work demonstrates that rats fed a high salt diet even with a high fat diet will still show a delay in puberty onset.” “our research highlights for the first time that the salt content of a diet has a more significant effect on reproductive health than the fat content.”
The Western diet is associated with high processed food consumption such as bread, processed meats, snack foods as well as condiments such as soy sauce and stock cubes. “Current salt-loading in Western populations has the potential to drastically affect reproductive health, and warrants further attention” said Ms Pitynski.