Sodium
Sodium

Background

Sodium is a type of metal that is always found as a salt. The most common dietary form is sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is commonly called table salt.

Table salt accounts for 90% of dietary sodium intake in the US. Sodium helps to balance levels of fluids and electrolytes in the body. This balance can affect blood pressure and the health of the kidneys and heart.

People use sodium in the form of inhaled sodium chloride for cystic fibrosis. It is also used for low sodium levels, to prevent kidney toxicity caused by the drug amphotericin B, and for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these other uses.

Don't confuse sodium with the sodium bicarbonate salt. These are not the same.
When taken by mouth: Sodium is likely safe for most people when used in doses less than 2.3 grams daily. In some people, sodium might increase blood pressure. Sodium is possibly unsafe when taken in doses greater than 2.3 grams daily. Larger doses might cause too much sodium to build up in the body. This might cause serious side effects including high blood pressure and heart disease.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if sodium is safe or what the side effects might be.

When applied into the eye: There isn't enough reliable information to know if sodium is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Sodium is likely safe to take by mouth in doses of less than 1.5 grams daily while pregnant or breast-feeding. But sodium is possibly unsafe when taken in higher amounts. Larger doses increase the risk of high blood pressure.

Children: Sodium is likely safe for most children when taken by mouth appropriately. Sodium is safe when used in doses less than 1.2 grams daily in children ages 1-3 years, 1.5 grams daily in children 4-8 years, 1.8 grams daily in children 9-13 years, and 2.3 grams daily in adolescents. Sodium is possibly unsafe when taken in higher amounts. Larger doses increase the risk of high blood pressure.

Alcohol use disorder: People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol should consume sodium in moderation. Consuming sodium can increase the risk of high blood pressure.

Heart disease: People with heart disease should consume sodium in moderation. Consuming sodium at levels above 2.3 grams daily can increase the risk of heart disease and death.

High levels of sodium in the body: Taking sodium increases levels of sodium in the body and might make this condition worse.

High blood pressure: Taking large amounts of sodium can increase blood pressure.

Kidney disease: People with kidney disease should limit sodium intake. Consuming large amounts of sodium can worsen kidney disease.

Multiple sclerosis (MS): Consuming too much salt in the diet might worsen MS. People with MS should stay below the maximum recommended amount of 2.3 grams daily.

Obesity: Obese people or those at risk for obesity should consume sodium in moderation. Consuming large amounts of sodium might cause people to gain more weight.

Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis): Consuming too much salt in the diet might worsen osteoporosis. People with osteoporosis should stay below the maximum recommended amount of 2.3 grams daily.

Effectiveness

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
  • Cystic fibrosis. Using a sodium chloride inhalant long-term, along with medicine to dilate airway passages, reduces lung problems and improves quality of life in people with cystic fibrosis.
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
  • Kidney injury caused by an antifungal drug (amphotericin B nephrotoxicity). Giving sodium chloride solution by mouth or by IV to people receiving amphotericin B helps prevent kidney problems cause by this drug. IV products can only be given by a healthcare provider.
There is interest in using sodium for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

Sodium helps to balance levels of fluids and electrolytes in the body. It's recommended that adults 19 years and older, including those pregnant and breast-feeding, consume 1.5 grams daily. Adults shouldn't consume more than 2.3 grams daily. Recommended amounts for children depend on age. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Lithium

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Increasing sodium intake might increase how much lithium is removed from the body. But reducing sodium intake might reduce how much lithium is removed from the body. People taking lithium should avoid making large changes to their intake of sodium without first talking with a healthcare professional.

Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Large amounts of sodium might increase blood pressure. Taking large amounts of sodium might reduce the effects of blood pressure medications. Monitor your blood pressure closely.

Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications affect salt and water balances in the body. These medications might increase levels of sodium. Taking these medications along with sodium might cause sodium levels to become too high.

Tolvaptan (Samsca)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Tolvaptan is a medicine used to increase sodium levels in some people. Taking tolvaptan along with sodium might cause sodium levels to become too high.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 17/10/2023 11:00:00 and last updated on 25/09/2020 01:21:02. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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