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Excessive salt may have negative reproductive effects

Excessive salt may have negative reproductive effects

Eating a diet high in salt has already been shown to be associated with a host of health issues, especially heightened risks for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Now, one of the first investigations into the effects of salt on the reproductive system has found that excessive salt consumption may also be related to delayed puberty and other reproductive consequences.

Scientists from the University of Wyoming investigated the effects of consuming different amounts of salt on rats. They found that both consuming too much salt and not consuming any salt were associated with delayed puberty. Failing to reach puberty on an ordinary timeline can lead to fertility issues later in life — in other words, the effect of eating a high-salt diet in childhood can follow people into adulthood. 

Study author Dori Pitynski theorizes that the effect of salt on puberty may be due to changes in the brain, specifically in levels of production of reproductive neurotransmitters. 

"By demonstrating salt can affect puberty, then it is likely that salt can affect other reproductive health," she told Yahoo Health. 

These discoveries are especially concerning when you consider that almost no one in the U.S. meets the current government recommendation for salt consumption. The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends consuming less than 2,300 milligrams.

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