Other Name: Salt
Sodium is a mineral that is one of our body's electrolytes to help maintain normal fluid balance. It also plays a part in healthy nerve and muscle function.
A majority of sodium comes from salt - a flavouring agent commonly added to foods during the manufacturing process. Salt is also called sodium chloride, which consists of 40% sodium and 60% chloride, by weight.
The kidneys help regulate body's sodium level by adjusting the amount that is excreted through urine and sweating. High salt intake is claimed to raise blood pressure, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. As a result, health authorities have urged people to limit sodium intake and recommended to consume less than 2,300mg ─ equivalent to one teaspoon of salt.
However, this guideline might not be applicable to highly-active individuals who are constantly exposed to heat, as they tend to have a higher loss rate of sodium, along with other minerals (such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride), aka eletrolytes, through sweat. Therefore many sports people rehydrate themselves with electrolytes via supplementation to achive healthy muscle contraction and reduce tendencies of muscle cramps.