A new study has found that infections can be prevented, with accumulation of salt in skin and tissues.
Salt stores might be nature's way of providing a barrier to microbial invasion and boosting immune defenses. The researchers found that salt increased the activation of infection-fighting macrophages, a type of white blood cell.
The researchers also tested the effect of an extremely high-salt diet in mice with persistent footpad infections. Salt stores at the site of the infection increased after consumption of the high-salt diet, and the infections cleared up.
The latest finding suggested that age-related salt accumulation by the skin might be a compensatory response to declining cellular barrier function and microbe entry. It also might reflect chronic, low-level inflammation associated with diseases of "aging," including heart disease and some cancers. Thus it might be beneficial to counter this age-related increase in salt stores.
The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.