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Supplementation: The Skinny on Sodium

Jun 14, 2012 07:22AM

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Written by Susan Thorn

At any point in time, the body in balance holds about 120 mg of sodium. While about a third is located in the skeleton, the remainder is found in our tissues and body fluids. Sodium is essential for maintaining the water balance in our bodies and making sure we do not become either too alkaline, or too acidic. Sodium is needed by our cells to allow them to take in nutrients from our blood stream and enable proper muscle contraction.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for sodium is less than 2500 mg for most persons and the recommended intake is very easy to achieve.

  • One slice of Ezekiel 4:9 whole grain bread is 75 mg
  • 2 oz of tuna contain 140 mg of sodium
  • One serving of peanut butter contains 150 mg
  • 4 oz of bran flakes contain a whopping 1000 mg!
  • Most processed meats contain about 1850 mg peer 4 oz
  • Potato chips contain 1,070 mg per 4 oz
So you can see that getting the RDA easy. If tablet supplementation is considered to be necessary, either due to heat exhaustion or intense training, they should be taken only under the supervision of a qualified medical person. Optimally and under normal training and lifestyle circumstances, nutritionists suggest 2400 mg per day. High intakes of sodium can upset the body’s natural homeostasis and potassium levels. This can lead to fluid retention and, in large amounts, even be fatal. Excess sodium intakes are also linked to elevated blood pressure.

The general population should not need supplements since sodium is so available in our diet, especially if you consume large amounts of processed or fast food. Hard exercise in high temperatures can cause an excess of sodium loss due to sweating, so consuming sports drinks in moderation during these times may be of benefit.