Of all the essential minerals required by our bodies, salt, also known as sodium, is one of the minerals we need the most of (~1,000 milligrams per day for the healthy adult); however, too much sodium can potentially lead to health complications. Essential minerals and vitamins cannot be naturally produced within our bodies and therefore must be consumed in our diet.
Sodium is essential to the human body for two primary functions:
- Standard nerve and muscle functions
- To assist the body in maintaining a healthy electrolyte and fluid balance
Most sodium is obtained from the foods we eat and lose it primarily through sweat and urine. As we get older, it becomes increasingly more difficult for our bodies to maintain healthy fluid and sodium balance due to:
- Decreased ability to detect and signal imbalances
- Declining kidney function
- Overall less fluid in the body
- Decreased mobility; therefore, not as much access to liquids
Excessive sodium levels can be tied to dehydration, where people lose body fluid due to not drinking enough water. Additionally, hypertension can occur which can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Low sodium levels may also be the result of fluid loss, such as through severe vomiting or diarrhea, but in the sense that you are losing more salt than fluid. Certain conditions that cause people to drink too much water can also contribute to this complication as the sodium in our bodies become overly diluted.
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To learn more about minerals and vitamins such as sodium, please visit the link below: