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Too much salt can delay puberty

Too much salt can delay puberty

The dangers of too much salt are pretty well known - it can raise your blood pressure and causes issues like heart disease and strokes. Now it's been suggested that this could just be the tip of the iceberg, with high salt levels thought to delay puberty and cause issues with fertility in the long term too.

The latest warning comes from a study undertaken by the University of Wyoming in America and presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Dublin. It was led by Ms Dori Pitynski and saw the effect different salt levels had on puberty in rats tested. The research found that those who were given three to four times the recommended daily amount saw puberty much more delayed when compared to those fed a normal, low amount. Those who were given much less than normal also saw the process delayed.

This led the team to deduce that salt is needed to ensure puberty happens as it should, but too much can cause problems. In the long term, delayed puberty can mean someone experiences issues with fertility as well as behavioural problems and difficulty with stress.

"Our work shows that high levels of fat and salt have opposite effects [on] reproductive health,” Ms Pitynski explained. “[A] 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."

The World Health Organisation has previously stated that people all over the world have too much salt in their diets, with 5g deemed the correct daily amount.

Over-eating it is not just a danger for those who add a dash to their meals either; the real problem is in the added salt crammed into convenience food and ready meals. For example, according to organisation Action on Salt, 75 per cent of pizzas tested by them have over the recommended daily amount of the substance in them. Bread, condiments and bacon can feature a lot too.

The best thing to do is to start checking nutritional labels on your food. High amounts of salt are more than 1.5g per 100g of food, or 0.6g of sodium (salt can also be called sodium chloride) per 100g of food. Low is under 0.3g salt or 0.1g of sodium per 100g food.

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