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Sodium: Are You Getting Too Much?

Sodium is a mineral known as an electrolyte. It is vital for electrolyte balance, Sodium retention and water retention.

In the body where Sodium goes, water flows. So if you lose Sodium you are going to lose water. Conversely if you hold on to Sodium you will retain water.

Why We Need Sodium

This mineral is important for the proper functioning of the body’s hydroelectric system; that is the ability to use water to produce energy in the body.

It is also important that we take in enough in order to maintain the proper blood sugar levels. Low levels can also increase insulin sensitivity.

In addition, it is important for nerve cell communication and maintaining a healthy, regular heartbeat.

Sodium also plays a vital role in the digestive system. Without adequate amounts food particles will not be efficiently absorbed in the intestinal tract.

Without a balanced amount in our bodies, we will be prone to experiencing muscle cramps. It even has antihistamine properties helping to relieve hay fever.

The Lowdown on Salt

Sodium from sea salt is very different from salt that is included in processed foods.

Sodium in the form of such natural whole salts as sea salt, Kosha salt, Himalayan salt and Celtic salt is really good for the body. They all contain this electrolyte which your body needs to maintain it’s balance, and they also contain a whole host of minerals which are also vital for proper functioning of the systems within the body.

Adding sea salt to your water will provide for a healthy sodium balance. This is especially beneficial for people who experience excess urination. A pinch of sea salt in your water will increase the sodium levels in the blood, make you less likely to need to urinate as often, prevent light headedness and promote overall well-being.

If you have high blood pressure, you will want to limit your intake.

Iodised table salt, monosodium glutamate (msg), sodium chloride and processed sodium are not friendly to your body.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Nature, actually showed that the sodium in processed foods can trigger auto immune disease. The body has certain cells in the immune system that help immune activity.

When you ingest processed sodium the activity helper cells work a lot more aggressively. The result is that the immune system will actually start attacking it’s own body. This can result in the development of such conditions as Type 1 Diabetes, Alopecia, Celiac disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia.

Sodium is a mineral that is vital in the proper functioning of the adrenal system.

People who suffer from adrenal fatigue are usually low in this electrolyte. One of the hormones secreted by the adrenal glands – aldosterone – regulates sodium activity. When your adrenal system is not working properly, sodium is not efficiently retained in the body. As a result, people with adrenal fatigue usually have cravings for foods that are salty.

When you sweat you also lose a lot of sodium, so it is important to replace the loss after exercise. In fact, professional athletes often consume sodium during their training session or game to prevent impaired performance.

The current recommended daily allowance according to the US Institute of medicine, is one and a half tablespoons per day. That equates to approximately 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

This is in addition to the naturally occurring salts that are found in foods, such as Salmon.

Most people, however, take in far in excess of this from processed foods without even realising it.

When you are reading food labels it will normally list milligrams. So just keep in mind that a teaspoon is roughly 2,300 mg. A single serving on the product label should be less than a third of that amount.

Sodium Sensitivity

Some people may have a sensitivity to sodium with regards to high blood pressure. Older people are at a greater risk of sensitivity as are people who already have high blood pressure.

Sensitive individuals will have rapid high blood pressure response to fluctuations in Sodium level. Symptoms of sensitivity include proteins in the urine, edemas, fluid retention, and swelling of the left ventricle of the heart.

While it’s really important to have some Sodium, it is also important not to have too much. Keep in mind that the taste for salt changes. As you add salt, you need more to taste it. That makes it easy to get over habituated to the taste of salt.

Summary

  • Sodium is vital for the operation of the body’s hydroelectricity system
  • Essential for blood sugar regulation and digestive system operation
  • Prevents muscle cramping
  • Needs to be replaced after sweating
  • Sea salts are good – processed salts are bad
  • Take in 2,300 mg of Sodium per day – check with your health professional for the correct dosage for you.

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