Articles

Sodium

Introduction

Sodium is one of the body’s three major electrolytes (the other two being potassium and chloride). Electrolytes are involved in intracellular osmosis, which means that they control the flow of body fluids into and out of tissues and cells.

Most Americans consume too much sodium, from 10 to 35 times more than the recommended daily intake. Enormous amounts of sodium (and chloride) are used in cooking and food processing. Often times this "hidden salt" contributes more to an individual’s daily diet than does the salt shaker.

Protein foods generally contain more sodium than vegetables and grains. Fruits contain almost no sodium.

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

A reasonable dietary intake is from 1 to 3 grams per day.

Most Common Dosage

Since sodium is readily available in the diet it is not generally used as a nutritional supplement.

Dosage Forms

Most commonly available as tablets or powder (granular), it is also available in numerous intravenous solutions and other injectable medications (Rx only).

Interactions and Depletions

Depletions

Reported Uses

Because it regulates the intracellular flow of body fluids, sodium plays a major role in the regulation of blood pressure. Sodium also plays a critical role in the transmission of electrochemical impulses for nerve function and muscle contraction. Sodium also helps regulate the pH balance of blood and lymph fluids while aiding in the transport and excretion of carbon dioxide.

The most common clinical use for sodium is in the treatment of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Replacement of fluids, sodium and other electrolytes is vital for treatment of this condition. (1)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

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General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

Side Effects

Occasional side effects reported with large doses of this dietary supplement include edema and elevated blood pressure. (2) , (3) , (4) It may be necessary to reduce the dose of this dietary supplement. Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy / Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Proper nutrition is essential during pregnancy for the healthy development of the fetus. Numerous vitamins and minerals are a vital part of proper nutrition. If you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breast-feeding an infant, talk to your healthcare professional about supplementing your diet with appropriate vitamins and minerals.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of proper growth and development. Talk to your healthcare professional about the appropriate use of vitamins and minerals in children. Do not use any vitamin or mineral in children under 2 years of age unless first discussed with your healthcare professional.

References

  1. View Abstract: Backer HD, et al. Exertional Heat Illness and Hyponatremia in Hikers. Am J Emerg Med. Oct1999;17(6):532-39.
  2. View Abstract: De Wardener HE. The hypothalamus and hypertension. Physiol Rev. Oct2001;81(4):1599-658.
  3. View Abstract: Fleet JC. DASH without the dash (of salt) can lower blood pressure. Nutr Rev. Sep2001;59(9):291-3.
  4. View Abstract: Hayashida T, Ohno Y, Otsuka K. Salt-loading elevates blood pressure and aggravates insulin resistance in Wistar fatty rats: a possible role for enhanced Na+ -H+ exchanger activity. J Hypertens. Sep2001;19(9):1643-50.