The two minerals sodium and chloride together form the salt sodium chloride, which is used as table salt and salt in the diet. Sodium and chloride are responsible for the transmission of stimuli along nerves. In addition, both maintain the function of the cell membrane and the activation of numerous enzymes. Sodium, together with potassium, regulates the fluid balance in the body and thus also the blood pressure.
Sodium and chloride in food
Sodium and chloride are found primarily in saline and instant soups, but also in ham, sausage, smoked pork, soft and hard cheese or vegetables such as spinach, pickled olives and carrots. Due to the high salt content of Western cuisine, most people consume too much sodium, which is why the daily sodium dose of 550 mg is often exceeded. This dose of sodium is included in:
- 40 g Limburger
- 50 g hard cheese
- 50 g cooked ham
- 1 liter of whole milk
- 700 g of meat
- 750 g of carrots or spinach
Sodium in the body
About 70 to 100 g of sodium are stored in the human body. Of these, a third are in the bones and can be released into the blood as needed. Probably the most important function of this mineral is the regulation of the water balance together with potassium. Both too much and too little water in the body is very dangerous for humans, which is why sodium is important for a balanced distribution of water.
Sodium also plays an important role in the acid-base balance. By virtue of their electrical charge, the sodium particles also have a major influence on the propagation of stimuli along nerves as well as muscle work and heart rhythm.
Balance sodium deficiency in the blood
Sodium deficiency is very rare, as sodium is found in virtually all foods of daily nutrition. However, heavy sweating, vomiting, and persistent diarrhea can lead to sodium deficiency in the blood. This is usually expressed by a drop in blood pressure associated with symptoms such as dizziness, headache, nausea and weakness.
A lack of sodium and chloride can lead to cramps and even circulatory failure. By treating the gastrointestinal complaints or avoiding sweating and at the same time a balanced, saline diet, a sodium deficiency is usually quickly compensated.
Overdose and oversupply with sodium
Sodium oversupply is easier to obtain by consuming high-salt foods than sodium deficiency. However, this over-supply of sodium hardly causes problems in healthy people. Possible symptoms of sodium overdose are edema, irritability, restlessness, fatigue, thirst or dizziness. However, in kidney-damaged patients (renal insufficiency) high blood pressure can be the result, which can have far-reaching consequences for the health.