Sodium, is the major positively charged ion in the blood and body fluids. When mixed with chloride it creates table salt. Salt or sodium are necessary for our body to perform functions like maintaining normal fluid and acid-base balance. Many people suffer from high blood pressure which is cause by excessive intake from salt, this occurs when we consume too many products that have large quantities of sodium like eating fast food every day or adding large amounts of salt to our dishes.
Sodium is used in our bodies to help regulate our blood pressure, keep our electrolytes balanced and regulate our nerve impulses. Sodium is a component of an enzyme called ATPase which is involved in the production of energy. It is necessary for the transport of amino acids and glucose into the body cells. Sodium helps our bodies to maintain fluid balance, it is the main electrolyte found outside the cell. When there is excess sodium on the outside of the cell water is then pulled from the inside of the cell to the outside through a process called osmosis. This process helps to dilute the sodium concentration on the outside of the cell, which increases our blood volume and then raises blood pressure.
The Adequate Intake (AI) value for males and females 9 to 50 years old is 1,500 milligrams per day, or less than one teaspoon of salt. It is not recommended to exceed 2,300 milligrams per day.
A deficiency of sodium is very unlikely unless a person consumes a very low sodium and protein diet. Deficiency risks occur when one is dehydrated form heat exhaustion, hard exercise, manual work and in babies if they are experiencing diarrhea. Some symptoms to watch out for are mental apathy, loss of appetite and some vomiting or muscle cramping. Other than dehydration, a sodium deficiency can be caused by kidney disorders, some cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, and high blood glucose levels.
Sources in the Diet
Sodium is found in most cured foods or are added to foods during the cooking process. Some examples are salami, sausage, feta cheese, salami, corned beef, soy sauce, olives, and most canned products like soups or vegetables.
Recent Studies and Articles
Decreasing sodium intake unnecessary
Healthy intake controversy
-  – Boyle, Marie A. and Anderson Sara L. Personal Nutrition. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning; 2007.
-  – Dole Nutrition Institute. The Dole Nutrition Handbook. Printed in the United States of America; Rodale Inc. 2010.
-  – Reavley N. The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs. New York, NY: M. Evans and Company, Inc.; 1998.