The amount of salt in our diet could be involved in driving our own immune systems to rebel against us, leading to diseases such as multiple sclerosis, early laboratory findings suggest.
Several teams of scientists have simultaneously published data in the journal Nature suggesting a link.
Salt may activate a part of the immune system that can target the body.
Experts said the findings were very interesting and plausible, but were not a cure for people with MS.
The body's defence against infection can go horrible awry, turning on the body and leading to autoimmune diseases including Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Genetics is thought to increase the risk of such diseases, but the world around us also has a major impact. One of the leading theories behind multiple sclerosis is a viral infection, but smoking and a lack of vitamin D may make the condition more likely.
Now researchers believe they have the first evidence that the amount of salt in our diet may also be contributing.
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