common is sodium chloride (salt).  Sodium, in small quantities, is essential for human
nutrition.  


Function of Sodium:
The body needs a small amount of sodium in order to function properly.  Sodium
regulates blood pressure and blood volume.  It is also critical for the proper
functioning of muscles and nerves.  Most natural foods contain small amounts of
sodium.  Individuals with high blood pressure/hypertension, congestive heart failure,
liver cirrhosis, and kidney disease may need to be on low-sodium diets as prescribed
by their physician.  Several studies show that diets high in sodium are a major cause
of high blood pressure and pre-hypertension.  High blood pressure/hypertension
significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.


Deficiency of Sodium:
Hyponatremia is the condition in which the body has a serum sodium concentration
of less than 136 mmol/liter.  Sodium deficiency is generally not a result of inadequate
dietary intake, even for individuals on very low-salt diets.  Causes of Hyponatremia
include: excessive water intake, severe or prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, excessive
and persistent sweating, the use of some diuretics, and some forms of kidney
disease.  

Symptoms of hyponatremia include: headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps,
fatigue, disorientation, and fainting.  Severe and rapidly developing hyponatremia may
result in any of the following complications: cerebral edema (swelling of the brain),
seizures, coma, and brain damage.  Without prompt and appropriate medical
treatment, acute or severe hyponatremia may be fatal.

Note: A variety of medical conditions can lead to the symptoms mentioned above.  Therefore, it is
important to have a physician evaluate them so that appropriate medical care can be given.


Toxicity (Sodium Overdose):
Excessive intakes of salt may lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal
cramps.  It can also lead to an increase in extracellular fluid volume as water is pulled
from cells to maintain normal sodium concentrations.  Individuals with high blood
pressure/hypertension, congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, and kidney disease
may need to be on low-sodium diets as prescribed by their physicians.  Several
studies show that diets high in sodium are a major cause of high blood pressure and
pre-hypertension.  High blood pressure/hypertension significantly increases the risk of
having a heart attack or stroke.


Caution: Eating natural foods that contain a moderate amount of sodium is the
safest and healthiest way to get an adequate supply of the nutrient.  Due to risk of
toxicity, individuals should always consult with a knowledgeable health care provider
before starting doses of supplements.  Before giving supplements to children, it is
recommended that you first consult with their pediatrician.  Also, some supplements
may interfere with medications.  If you are taking medication, it is recommended that
you consult with your physician before taking any supplements.  All supplements
should be kept in childproof bottles and out of children's reach.


Sodium Food Chart (List of Foods High in Sodium):

*Per 100 g (3.5 oz) of Food*
Kelp - (3007 mg)
Green Olives - (2400 mg)
Table Salt 1 tsp - (2132 mg)
Soy Sauce 1 tsp - (1319 mg)
Ripe Olives - (828 mg)
Cheddar Cheese - (700 mg)
Swiss Chard - (147 mg)
Beet Green - (130 mg)
Celery - (126 mg)
Eggs - (122 mg)
Cod - (110 mg)
Spinach - (71 mg)
Chicken - (64 mg)
Beef - (60 mg)
Betts - (60 mg)
Sesame Seeds - (52 mg)
Watercress - (50 mg)
Whole Cow's Milk - (49 mg)
Carrots - (47 mg)
Parsley - (45 mg)



Sources:

American Dietetic Association: Complete Food And Nutrition Guide (2nd Edition)
Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, FADA, CFCS

Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and More
Pamela Wartian Smith, MD, MPH

University of Maryland Medical Center - umm.edu

Linus Pauling Institute - oregonstate.edu

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia
Eating a large amount of foods
that are high in sodium can cause
adverse effects such as gastric
cancer, osteoporosis, kidney
stones, hypertension, and
cardiovascular disease.  Foods
that are high in sodium include:
table salt, sea salt, and seaweed.
Processed foods such as cured
meats and potato chips contain
very large amounts of sodium.   


What is Sodium?
There are several sodium
compounds, but the most
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