Sodium is a mineral that your body need to have in order to operate correctly. The primary source of dietary salt is sodium chloride, or salt, more than three-quarters of which comes from processed foods. Although sodium is essential to a number of routine body functions, excessive can have unfavorable impacts, particularly for people who are delicate to sodium. Excessive salt can cause hypertension, which in turn can cause other health issue.
Sodium Function in Human Body
Nerve, Muscle Function
Salt is a mineral that carries an electrical charge, called an electrolyte. Electrolytes help with muscle contraction and afferent neuron transmission. Ions of salt, potassium and chloride trigger muscle contractions and nerve impulses when they shift locations throughout cell membranes. As discussed by nutrition professors Michelle McGuire and Kathy Beerman, authors of “NUTR,” an afferent neuron at rest has actually favorably charged potassium ions inside the cell and is surrounded outside the cell by positively charged sodium ions and negatively charged chloride ions. When stimulated, potassium ions rush out of the cell as salt ions enter, producing an electrical signal or nerve impulse. A comparable situation happens during the contraction of muscles.
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Sodium also works in performance with potassium to keep normal water balance in the body. Each of the minerals chemically brings in water to itself, therefore guaranteeing that optimal levels of hydration are maintained both inside human cells and outside the cells, in the extracellular spaces that surround them. In healthy individuals, Brown composes, the body has a built-in system to guard against the effects of occasional excess levels of sodium, however continued consumption of high amounts of sodium can eventually bypass this safety valve and result in hypertension.
Carefully related to salt’s function in the upkeep of normal fluid levels is the part it plays in controlling your body’s blood volume and hence high blood pressure. Your body continuously keeps track of salt concentrations and blood volume, according to the Merck Manual Home Health Handbook. If either blood volume or sodium levels get too high, your body promotes your kidneys to excrete excess sodium, returning blood volume to normal levels.
Also read: Low Blood Pressure and High Pulse Rate
Based on an analysis of dietary information, a group of nutritional experts in 2004 reported on the significant sources of salt in the diets of Americans. Seventy-seven percent of the sodium originates from processed foods, while another 12 percent takes place naturally in specific fresh foods such as celery, clams and buttermilk. Another 6 percent originates from salt included at the dining room table, and 5 percent is added to food during home preparation and cooking. The USDA’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010” encourages keeping sodium intake to an everyday optimum of 2,300 milligrams for grownups to age 50 and then cutting down to a maximum of 1,500 milligrams for those 51 or older. The standards also advise an optimum consumption of 1,500 milligrams for people of any age who are African-American or who have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.