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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Sodium
      Category : Health Centers > Food, Nutrition, and Metabolism


Overview & Description | Functions and Sources

Sodium is an electrolyte mineral, commonly known as salt. It helps maintain the balance of fluids and acids in the body.


Sodium in the diet is measured in milligrams (mg). There is no recommended dietary allowance, called RDA, for sodium. But the National Academy of Sciences states that a person should consume at least 500 mg per day, and that healthy adults should stay within the range of 1,100 to 3,300 mg a day.

The American Heart Association recommends that for every 1,000 calories consumed, the sodium intake should be 1,000 mg and should not exceed 3,000 mg per day. The average sodium intake in the US is between 4,000 and 5,000 mg per day. One teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium.

Sodium helps cause high blood pressure in some people. Anyone with this problem needs to reduce the amount of sodium in his or her diet.


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Sodium: Functions and Sources

Author: Kimberly Tessmer, RD, LD
Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
Date Reviewed: 09/29/02

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