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Nutrients 2016, 8(6), 323;

Elevation of Fasting Ghrelin in Healthy Human Subjects Consuming a High-Salt Diet: A Novel Mechanism of Obesity?

Cardiovascular Department, Shaanxi Provincial People’s Hospital, Xi’an 710068, China
Cardiovascular Department, First Affiliated Hospital of Medical College, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, China
Cardiovascular Department, Second Affiliated Hospital, Xi’an Medical University, Xi’an 710038, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 March 2016 / Revised: 9 May 2016 / Accepted: 19 May 2016 / Published: 26 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolically Healthy Obesity)
PDF [624 KB, uploaded 26 May 2016]


Overweight/obesity is a chronic disease that carries an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and premature death. Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated a clear relationship between salt intake and obesity, but the pathophysiologic mechanisms remain unknown. We hypothesized that ghrelin, which regulates appetite, food intake, and fat deposition, becomes elevated when one consumes a high-salt diet, contributing to the progression of obesity. We, therefore, investigated fasting ghrelin concentrations during a high-salt diet. Thirty-eight non-obese and normotensive subjects (aged 25 to 50 years) were selected from a rural community in Northern China. They were sequentially maintained on a normal diet for three days at baseline, a low-salt diet for seven days (3 g/day, NaCl), then a high-salt diet for seven days (18 g/day). The concentration of plasma ghrelin was measured using an immunoenzyme method (ELISA). High-salt intake significantly increased fasting ghrelin levels, which were higher during the high-salt diet (320.7 ± 30.6 pg/mL) than during the low-salt diet (172.9 ± 8.9 pg/mL). The comparison of ghrelin levels between the different salt diets was statistically-significantly different (p < 0.01). A positive correlation between 24-h urinary sodium excretion and fasting ghrelin levels was demonstrated. Our data indicate that a high-salt diet elevates fasting ghrelin in healthy human subjects, which may be a novel underlying mechanism of obesity. View Full-Text
Keywords: ghrelin; high salt; obesity; diet intervention ghrelin; high salt; obesity; diet intervention

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Zhang, Y.; Li, F.; Liu, F.-Q.; Chu, C.; Wang, Y.; Wang, D.; Guo, T.-S.; Wang, J.-K.; Guan, G.-C.; Ren, K.-Y.; Mu, J.-J. Elevation of Fasting Ghrelin in Healthy Human Subjects Consuming a High-Salt Diet: A Novel Mechanism of Obesity? Nutrients 2016, 8, 323.

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