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Salt Cravings

April 8, 2009

Salt can act as a natural antidepressant.


How salt can perk up your mood…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Most of us like the taste of salt, and with good reason. It’s essential for many of our bodily functions. Now, it seems that salt might be important for keeping us in a good mood, too. Alan Kim Johnson is a biopsychologist at Iowa State University. He and his colleagues found that rats that are salt deficient don’t take as much pleasure in the things they normally enjoy, such as sipping a sweet liquid.

JOHNSON (Iowa State):
When you restore the sodium to the animals, they restore their normal appetite, in a sense, for those positive kinds of stimulations.

Johnson says salt deficiency might be something physicians should check in patients who show signs of depression or fatigue. But since most people get too much salt in their diets, it’s not a good idea to self-medicate. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.