The Salt and Heroin Correlation
New studies are showing that those who may have an addiction to salt, can also be more apt to a cocaine or heroin addiction. Scientists in the United States and Australia have discovered that there is a correlation between salt and other drugs in the hypothalamus portion of the brain.
During testing, drugs, such as heroin and opium both activate the hypothalamus just as salt does. Scientists are led to believe that such addicting drugs have found a way to seize and take over some instinctive performance and behaviors. While the connection currently only exists in a theory, Australian professors are hoping to make it a proven fact.
Until it can be proven, researchers have turned to mice in hopes of making a theory a reality. Scientists didn’t allow a certain number of mice to eat salt, and instead, fed them a very low sodium diet. Days after the diet change, the mice were taken and analyzed. It was found that the mice who ate the salt had activated the same gene patterns that were changed in those addicted to cocaine and opium. The mice that were allowed to have absolutely no salt were also allowed saline solution as their “fix”. In their results, it was shown that there was a change in the genetic make up of expression, in the brain.
With these new studies, scientist and treatment facilities are also looking at a new way to treat the addiction. Now that they understand the area of the brain where the damage is being done, there might be hope for a new approach to treatment.
A world salt metabolism authority, informed researchers that the cocaine and opium addiction has developed gradually over the past couple thousand years. It was also shared that salt is considered a basic need of survival because the body uses it to circulate tissue and blood fluid’s functionality of the nerves, glandular and muscles. It is also extremely important in reproduction.
With all of the research and findings, it is suggested that addicting drugs, like cocaine and opium, have learned to take control of neural pathways that help to further the appetite for sodium and the satisfaction of sodium intake. The research also found that the saline solution gave the brain the idea that it got its fix, even though it was impossible. Before salt even entered the blood circulation, the brain thought it was repaired. This is because salt is needed for survival and is something that has evolved with evolution.
The Australian research team was comprised of Professor Denton and associates Michael McKinley, Andrew Lawrence, John Drago and Lesley Walker of Florey Neuroscience Institutes and Baker Medical Research Institute. The United States research team consisted of scientists from the University of Texas, as well as Duke University.