A diet that contains too much salt can cause gastrointestinal bloating, according to a new study. A team from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted the research.
Bloating occurs when there is a buildup of a lot of gas in the gut. This can cause gas-producing gut bacteria. Bloating also affects those with irritable bowel syndrome. Some evidence suggests sodium can stimulate bloating.
This is the first study to examine sodium as a cause of bloating in terms of diets that are low or high in fibre. For the study, researchers analysed data from a clinical trial that was conducted almost 20 years ago. They discovered that high amounts of sodium increased bloating. The team also found that participants who followed the DASH diet, which is high in fibre, experience bloating more than those who followed a diet that is low in fibre.
"Bloating is one of the leading gastrointestinal complaints in the U.S. and can be exacerbated in some people by a high-fiber diet; our results suggest that they might be able to reduce that bloating, without compromising on healthy fibre, by lowering their sodium intake," study author Noel Mueller, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School, told a news portal.
Researchers suggest reducing sodium intake may be a way to help reduce bloating, as well a maintain a healthy diet that is a rich source of fibre. Meanwhile, the team wants to further explore their investigation to understand why sodium may be the cause of bloating. "We hypothesize that sodium intake also alters the gut microbiome in a manner that modifies bacterial sulfide production," Mueller told a news portal. The team is currently examing how major nutrients like protein and carbs affect bloating.
The study's findings were originally published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.