Scientists at Johns Hopkins have performed a series of experiments aimed at tracking down the cause of gastrointestinal bloating, a condition that effects as many as one in three North Americans overall and more than 90 percent of those suffering from irritable bowl syndrome…
Bloating has been the focus of many jokes over the years, but those who suffer it regularly don’t find it funny at all. Now researchers have discovered there’s a connection between excess Salt and fibre that may trigger bloating in many sufferers.
What they did
Researchers at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health decided to data-mine a mass of information gathered under the the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension-Sodium (DASH-S) trial to see if there was a connection between excess Salt consumption and bloating. Excess Salt consumption is right up there with excess Sugar as a cause of heart disease which reached epidemic proportions across the developed world in recent years.
The DASH-S trial, which was co-led by Bloomberg School researcher Dr. Lawrence Appel, at four clinical centers during 1998-99, tested the DASH diet, a high-fiber diet which is relatively low in fat and high in fruits, nuts, and vegetables, against a low-fiber control diet.
What they found
A team led by Dr. Noel Mueller discovered that there was a positive correlation between bloating and high Sodium intake, as well as one between bloating and high fibre intake.
“Bloating is one of the leading gastrointestinal complaints in the U.S. and can be exacerbated in some people by a high-fiber diet,” Mueller reports. “Results suggest that they might be able to reduce that bloating, without compromising on healthy fiber, by lowering their Sodium intake.”
I’m all for any treatment or cure for a disease of condition like bloating that effects masses of people, like bloating does, without any serious side effects or inconvenience. The Salt connection to bloating, in fact, suggests that cutting Salt consumption makes the condition worse, actually appears to kill two birds with one stone, which is even better.
There are no outward signs of excess Salt intake and often the doctors warnings about Salt go unheeded by folks who feel just fine until they suffer a heart attack, a stroke or an attack of deep vein thrombosis. Perhaps those who suffer chronic bloating will be encouraged to lower their Salt intake to rid themselves of the associated discomfort and inconvenience, and, at the same time, reduce their Sodium to healthier levels.
The only drawback I see is that zealots among the effected masses who espouse the ‘more is better’ theory of healthy eating will cut too much Salt from their diets causing other problems. We all need a certain amount of Salt to live. And, for that matter, we all need a certain amount of fibre to maintain healthy gut activity.
And I see, here, another tip of the hat to one of the two major healthy eating diets being touted by nutrition and health experts these days as the way to go to beat a whole encyclopedia full of unwanted conditions and diseases. DASH and the famed Mediterranean Diet have many similarities, including high fibre, low Fat and a focus on Fruits, Nuts and Veggies.
~ Maggie J.