Sodium – Negative Effects

April 21, 2011

Minerals, Sodium

Sodium is one of the most abundant elements found on earth, and is readily found in the earth’s crust via the runoff of salty seas and erosion. Sodium is believed to have been introduced to the earth by exploding stars entering the earth’s atmosphere, and has become a vital nutrient to the existence of life on this planet. When introduced to the chlorine content of the ocean, sodium combines to form salt, which has proven to be an invaluable resource to the modern world. But increased indulgence can create a negative imbalance in the body’s chemistry, leading to long term illness.

  1. Identification

    • In its natural form, sodium can be identified as a silvery metal, composed of atoms that much prefer to bond with others, rather than stand alone. That is why sodium, or Na as it is denoted on the periodic table, can sometimes be seen as NaHCO3, also known as Borax, as well as NACl, which is commonly referred to as table salt. Also known as atomic number 11, sodium is highly reactive, producing impressive transformations upon contact with water and air.

    History

    • Since the dawn of civilization, sodium has been a hot commodity, and its uses date back to the Stone Age. Prehistoric cave dwellers thrived on a diet consisting of strictly fruits and vegetables without the incorporation of sodium into their daily living. Strangely enough, even though their diet did not consist of sodium, their bodies still craved it, and intense treks were mounted in search of sodium sources to satisfy the need. Later cultures began to investigate the possible uses for sodium, and found that in the form of salt, sodium could be used as a preservative and seasoning for the meats that were slowly introduced into the human diet. As a result, the human body began to acclimate itself to the introduction of sodium in higher volumes, a trend which continued to grow as centuries passed. Unfortunately, the overuse of sodium has resulted in the human body’s growing intolerance, negatively affecting the systems of the body and endangering overall health.

    Function

    • The human body needs a steady supply of sodium in order to function properly. Its main responsibility is to form electrolytes which make their home inside of cells and the body’s tissue. In return, these electrolytes control the body’s ability to regulate water and play an important role in preventing the occurrence of dehydration. Sodium also functions as a regulator of blood pressure and flow, acid balance and muscle contractions. But this sensitive and precise mechanical system can be disrupted by the introduction of too much sodium into the body, creating an overproduction of electrolytes that can result in a fluid imbalance.

    Considerations

    • Although it is true that sodium is extremely important to the proper functioning of the human body, one must consider ways in which to supplement this need, without supplying the body with excessive amounts. Therefore, sodium intake should be limited. It is recommended that healthy individuals refrain from consuming more than one teaspoon of salt per day, while those suffering from kidney disease and other illnesses will find tighter restrictions even more beneficial.

    Misconceptions

    • Upon hearing a physician’s recommendation to reduce sodium intake, people often run to hide the salt shaker. Surprisingly, this practice alone does not have a significant enough impact on sodium reduction. This is because of the hidden sodium factor, which in almost all cases has very little to do with the salt shaker anyway. As a matter of fact, the bulk of sodium that is introduced to the body can be attributed to the packaged and processed foods that unsuspecting humans consume. That is why it is important to read food product labels, and review the sodium content of each and every item that will be incorporated into the diet.

    Warning

    • A diet that is high in sodium can result in considerable health risks, including an elevated risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, which can lead to further complications, including kidney damage. Because proper kidney function is required to eliminate salt from the body, a decrease in productivity can have dire consequences. When the body is unable to control the amount of sodium that is being released, swelling can occur in the face and appendages. Shortness of breath can occur, as well as weakening of the heart muscle. This vicious cycle of events can be avoided by monitoring sodium intake.

Read more: About the Negative Effects of Sodium | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_4622347_negative-effects-sodium.html#ixzz1K9By8Ey3


This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!
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