About 50% of body sodium is present in the bones, 40% in the extracellular fluid and the remaining 10% in the soft tissues. Sodium helps control blood pressure and regulates the function of muscles and nerves, which is why sodium concentrations are carefully controlled by the body. Without enough sodium in your body, your cellular function and neural communication shut down. However, most people consume far more sodium than their bodies need. Unlike other vitamins and minerals, heat has no effect on sodium. Therefore, it can be used in different ways and preparations without losing its effects. Also, it is an important constituent of nerves and helps regulate muscle contractions.
What are the functions of sodium in the body?
- In association with chloride and bicarbonate, sodium regulates the body’s acid-base balance
- Sodium is required for the maintenance of osmotic pressure and fluid balance
- It is necessary for the normal muscle irritability and cell permeability
- Sodium is involved in the intestinal absorption of glucose, galactose and amino acids
- It is necessary for initiating and maintaining heart beat
What is the recommended dietary allowance of Sodium?
The daily consumption of sodium is generally higher than required due to its flavor. Healthy adults should limit sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. Adults with high blood pressure should have no more than 1,500 mg per day. Those with congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, and kidney disease may need much lower amounts.
There are no specific recommended amounts of sodium for infants, children, and teens. Eating habits and attitudes about food that are formed during childhood are likely to influence eating habits for life.
What are the food sources of sodium?
Sodium occurs naturally in most foods. The most common form of sodium is sodium chloride, which is table salt.
The common table salt used in the cooking medium is the major source of sodium. The good sources of sodium include
- whole grains
- leafy vegetables
What are the diseases associated with Sodium?
Your body regulates sodium levels carefully to prevent levels from getting too high or too low. The kidneys are responsible for controlling sodium concentrations and retain sodium when your levels are low and excrete sodium in the urine when levels are high. However, people with kidney problems may be more susceptible to dangerous changes in sodium levels due to kidney dysfunction. Your body can also lose sodium in the form of sweat. This means that people who sweat a lot, such as endurance athletes, are susceptible to hyponatremia during periods of increased physical activity.
Hyponatremia:- this is a condition in which the serum sodium level falls below the normal. Hyponatre,mia may occur due to diarrhea, vomiting, chronic renal diseases, Adison’s disease. Administration of salt free fluids to patients may also cause hyponatremia. This is due to overhydration. Decreased serum sodium concentration is also observed in edema which occurs in ciorrhosis or congestive heart failure. The manifestations of hyponatremia include reduced blood pressure and circulatory failure.
Hypernatremia:- this condition is characterized by an elevation in the serum sodium level. It may occur due to hyperactivity of adrenal cortex, prolonged administration of cortisone, ACTH and /or sex hormones. Loss o0f water from the body causing dehydration, as it occurs in diabetes inspidus, results in hypernatremia. The symptoms of hypernatremia include increase in blood volume and blood pressure