Sodium

Sodium is an essential mineral that can be found in salts and salted food products (e.g., pretzels and chips, ham, canned chicken noodle soup and dill pickles).1 The 100% Daily Value for Sodium (based on a 2000 kcal diet) is 2,400 mg.2

Forms

  • Sodium Chloride: Sodium chloride occurs naturally, and when consumed in proper quantities, it is vital to good health. This ingredient is also used to enhance the flavors of food.
  • Sodium Citrate: Sodium citrate is the trisodium salt of citric acid. It is produced by neutralizing a water solution of citric acid using sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate, and then crystallizing the trisodium citrate.

Major Health Benefits

Sodium is important for regulating blood volume and blood pressure of the body. Sodium is one of the most essential electrolytes that maintain normal nerves and muscle (including heart muscle) function to sustain life.3 It is critical to supply sodium along with other electrolytes after prolonged excessive sweat with exercise, diarrhea, or vomiting.4 Sodium also plays an important role in the absorption of carbohydrates (glucose), proteins (amino acids), and water in the small intestine.5

Cautions

The Tolerable Upper Intake Level of sodium per day is 2.3 grams.6 Excessive intake of sodium has been associated with increased blood pressure, contributing to cardiovascular disease development, and may contribute to increased calcium loss through the urine, which in turn may increase the risk of kidney stone formation.7 Individuals that are prone to developing hypertension (high blood pressure) due to existing conditions such as: diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, as well as elderly people, may benefit from a lower sodium intake.7

References

  1. Higdon, J. Sodium (Chloride). Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2001. (Reviewed by Obarzanek, E in 2008) (Food Sources). http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/sodium Accessed 7/2015.
  2. US Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients). US Department of Health and Human Services. 2013 January.
  3. Higdon, J. Sodium (Chloride). Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2001. (Reviewed by Obarzanek, E in 2008) (Maintence of Membrane Potential)
  4. Higdon, J. Sodium (Chloride). Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2001. (Reviewed by Obarzanek, E in 2008) (Deficiency)
  5. Higdon, J. Sodium (Chloride). Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2001. (Reviewed by Obarzanek, E in 2008) (Nutrient Absorption and Transport)
  6. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, Elements. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies. (PDF available.
  7. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Sodium and Chloride. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press: 2005: 269-423. (pp.271, 272)

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