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What Is Sodium? What Are The Functions Of Na?

Sodium (Na) is a mineral that the human body needs for nerve impulses, to contract and relax muscles, and to maintain the right ratio of water. The term is interchangeably used with salt. Now, 60% chloride and 40% sodium makeup salt, often known as sodium chloride. It is a binder and stabilizer that also flavors food. Since bacteria cannot grow in an environment with a lot of salt, it also serves as a food preservative.

How Much Sodium Do I Need? What Are The Recommended Amounts?

A diet high in salt can raise blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Many persons with high blood pressure are unaware of their condition because it frequently has no symptoms. (Source)

For these essential processes, it is estimated that we require 500 mg of Na every day. But consuming too much sodium can result in hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. Furthermore, it can result in calcium losses, some of which might come from the bones. The average American eats at least 1.5 teaspoons of salt each day, which is equivalent to 3400 mg of sodium, which is significantly more than what our bodies require. (Source)

According to the U.S. Dietary Reference Intakes, there is insufficient information to determine a sodium RDA or hazardous level (aside from chronic disease risk). As a result, a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), which is the daily intake that is most likely to be safe for health, has not been defined.

Guidelines for Adequate Intakes (AI) of sodium were established based on the lowest levels of sodium intake used in randomized controlled trials that did not show a deficiency but that also allowed for an adequate intake of nutritious foods naturally containing sodium. 

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Based on the evidence of the benefit of a reduced sodium intake on the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, a Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR) Intake has also been established.


What Happens If There Is Excess Of Sodium?

Heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure can all be brought on by eating too much sodium. Additionally, it may result in calcium losses, some of which may come from the bones. Approximately 3400 mg of sodium, or at least 1.5 teaspoons of salt, is consumed daily by the majority of Americans, significantly more than what our bodies actually require.

What Are The Sources Of Sodium? What Food Contains Na?

Typically, you don’t need to hunt for nutrients like sodium; it just finds you. Nearly all naturally occurring foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, meats, and dairy products, are low in salt. The majority of salt in our diets comes from processed goods, not from salt added during home cooking or even from salt served on the table before meals.

Slices of bread/rolls, pizza, sandwiches, cold cuts/cured meats, soups, burritos, tacos, salty snacks (chips, popcorn, pretzels, crackers), chicken, cheese, eggs, and omelettes are the top 10 sources of sodium in our diets, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Deficiency Of Sodium: The Possible Disorders And Their Symptoms

In the United States, Na shortage is uncommon due to the widespread use of salt as a dietary additive and its natural occurrence in some foods. An abnormally low level of sodium in the blood is referred to as hyponatremia. Hyponatremia may also result from excessive vomiting, diarrhoea, and sweating if salt is lost in these bodily fluids.

Sometimes too much fluid abnormally collected in the body can lead to hyponatremia, which might stem from diseases such as heart failure or liver cirrhosis. In rare cases, simply drinking too much fluid can lead to hyponatremia if the kidneys cannot excrete the excess water. Symptoms of hyponatremia can include: nausea, vomiting, headaches, altered mental state/confusion, lethargy, seizures, and coma.

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Toxicity: In Case Of Excess Of Sodium

Hypernatremia refers to an excess of sodium in the blood. This acute disease can strike older persons who are physically and intellectually disabled, who undereat or overhydrate, or who are ill with an infection that causes extreme dehydration or a high fever. Other factors include diuretic drugs that cause the body to lose water or excessive sweating.

Water is moved out of cells and into the blood as sodium builds up blood, thinning it. Seizures, comas, or even death may result from this fluid shift and a buildup of fluid in the brain. Breathing problems can result from extra fluid accumulating in the lungs. Other signs of hypernatremia can include kidney damage, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and extreme thirst.

Check out the Functions of Vitamins and Minerals on Health Views Online – Food Nutrients section.