PT on the Net Research

Recommended Amount of Sodium


Question:

Can you tell me if there is a recommended amount of sodium per day for individuals? Or is there a maximum amount that is recommended?

Answer:

The researchers have battled this question for sometime. US experts in heart disease and general well being advise a range between 1000 and 3000 mg of sodium per day. Now just so you know, the body's use of sodium per day is approximately 250 to 500 mg per day. As we know, each of us is biochemically a little different, so the range does depend on sweat rates, body surface and even kidney function (as the kidneys are responsible for clearing sodium).

It is thought that the industrialized nations, especially the US, take in as much as 8000 to 10,000 mg per day (due to the amount of processed, fast food we eat). A TBSP of salt gives us 2300 mg of sodium. A slice of bread typically is 200 mg. A can of soup or fast food meal can be in the range of 1500 and 2500 mg.

Truth be told, the best research on sodium is really the studies that focus on sodium/potassium ratio. A whole food diet provides a sodium/potassium ratio of 1:2. With this healthy approach, the body can deal with a variety of sodium levels. It is when this proportion is distorted by too much sodium that health concerns develop.