The aging processes are related to the functional weakening in the cognitive and cardiovascular aspects. Such changes may be influenced by external stressors such as high dietary salt intake, which may affect the cardiovascular and mental conditions. A study examined the effects of high salt diets on learning and memory abilities, anxiety, and blood pressure using rat models (Chugh et al. 2013).
The study discovered that the older rats fed with high salt diets had higher blood pressure and higher levels of anxiety-like behavior than normally fed adult or older rats. The older rats fed with high salt diets also showed impaired short-term memory. However, such changes were not observed in other groups (Chugh et al. 2013).
In addition, the older rats fed with high salt diets had increased levels of oxidative stress parameters and corticosterone. This group of rats also had lower expression levels of the antioxidant enzyme glyoxalase-1 in the brain regions including hippocampus and amygdala (Chugh et al. 2013).
The study indicates that excessive dietary salt intake may be related to aging-associated hypertension and behavioral changes including anxiety and impaired memory. Such effects may be mediated via the redox imbalance (Chugh et al. 2013).
Chugh, G., Asghar, M., Patki, G., Bohat, R., Jafri, F., Allam, F., … Salim, S. (2013). A high-salt diet further impairs age-associated declines in cognitive, behavioral, and cardiovascular functions in male Fischer brown Norway rats. The Journal of Nutrition, 143(9), 1406–1413.