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High salt diet can cause stomach ulcer

A study has shown that stomach bacteria react with salt present in our diets and can cause ulcers that affect the digestive tract.

health and fitness Updated: May 23, 2007 18:44 IST

Eating too much salt is known to cause high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke. Now US researchers say it can also give you an ulcer.

Presenting the results of their study at the American Society for Microbiology conference, researchers said their findings show salt and Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) bacterium interact to cause ulcers, which affect the digestive track.

Found in stomach and duodenum, the H pylori bacterium accounts for up to 90 per cent of duodenal ulcers and up to 80 per cent of gastric ulcers.

Many people carry the bacterium without experiencing any symptoms. And some of those who are affected suffer far less severe symptoms than others.

Researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in the USA found high levels of salt cause genetic changes in the bacterium and make it more powerful, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.

The team of scientists headed by Hanan Gancz said the bacterium might also increase the risk of gastric cancer.

"It was known that people who ate a high-salt diet had an increased risk of gastric cancer but no one had looked specifically at the effects of salt on H pylori itself," the researchers added.