A new sea salt from India that has an effect as powerful as saltwater is making headlines.
The new salt, known as ‘Bile Salt’, is a product of the Indian ocean, and is being made from seaweed that is harvested by fishermen.
The sea salt is made from an organic form of seaweed, and was named after the word ‘bile’, a compound of the words ‘bone’ and ‘salt’ which indicates the raw material for its production.
It is the result of the pioneering work of a team of scientists from the University of Southampton, led by Professor Mark Janssen, and published in Nature Communications in March this year.
They discovered that the salt contains a unique molecule called bile salt, which is a compound that was previously thought to have no function in the body.
Bile salt is an essential salt for humans to absorb oxygen and the body needs this to be functioning.
However, it has also been known to affect the brain in ways that can cause neurodegenerative disease, so Professor Jansson says it is important that this is understood.
Professor Janssons research team is studying bile salts to understand how they can have such a powerful effect on the brain.
“We found that the bile is an important signalling molecule in the brain that we can then manipulate in order to make drugs that could be effective in the treatment of neurodegenative disease,” he told The Next Home.
“There are several drugs that have already been shown to be effective for treating neurodegening conditions and this bile-salt drug could be a very powerful drug.”
This bile water is then added to an organic solution of fish-derived bile that has been used for thousands of years as a way to purify water, to remove contaminants, and to remove salt from food.
“It’s a mixture of fish, seaweed and bile, and that mixture is then taken to the ocean and the biles get absorbed into the seaweed,” he explained.
“Then, they get broken down by microbes, which converts the bili salts into a salt that can then be used as a replacement for bile.”‘
It’s just as potent’As the team’s research continues, they hope to be able to use the biliary salts to treat many more neurodegeners.
“When you look at the bilirubin levels that are in this salt, it’s a very, very high level of bile,” he said.
“Bile salts are incredibly effective in treating people with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and some other diseases that affect the body, so that’s really exciting.”
Dr Jansen says there is a lot more research to be done to understand the full effects of bili salt, and how it might work for treating other diseases as well.
“What we are trying to do is to try to understand if there are other types of bilirs that can also have some of the same effects as bile and that will be really exciting,” he says.
“In terms of how we are able to make these drugs, that will tell us what the potential is.”
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