Sodium Health Topic
Both mania and bipolar depression are characterized by elevations of intracellular sodium concentrations. Lithium can normalize abnormally elevated intracellular sodium levels.3 Sodium deficiency can induce behavioral changes such as reduced motivation, fatigue, and feelings of depression.4
Up to 75% of the salt intake in the U.S. is derived from salt added during food processing or manufacturing.1
Dietary Sources of Sodium:
Processed foods (fast foods, canned foods, cured meats, prepared meals, chips, crackers, nuts, cereals), table salt, miso, sauerkraut and seafood.
Learn More About Sodium
Salt (sodium chloride) is essential for life. Sodium and chloride are electrolytes that contribute to the maintenance of concentration and charge differences across cell membranes. Potassium is the principal positively charged ion (cation) inside of cells, while sodium is the principal cation in extracellular fluid. Sodium concentrations are more than ten times lower inside than outside cells. The concentration differences between potassium and sodium across cell membranes create an electrochemical gradient known as the membrane potential. A cell's membrane potential is maintained by ion pumps in the cell membrane, especially the sodium, potassium-ATPase pumps. These pumps use ATP (energy) to pump sodium out of the cell in exchange for potassium. Tight control of cell membrane potential is critical for nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction, and cardiac function. Increased salt intake has been found to increase urinary excretion of calcium. Increased salt consumption is associated with higher levels of blood pressure. Up to 75% of the salt intake in the U.S. is derived from salt added during food processing or manufacturing. The lowest salt intakes are associated with diets that emphasize unprocessed foods, especially fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
Advice on reducing your sodium intake should be taken with a pinch of salt, according to the latest research. Not only is there no need to eat less of it but it can also be positively dangerous for some people's health. Research showed that long as their salt intake was moderate (less than 16g) there was an insignificant effect on blood pressure. Also, pregnant women with pre-eclampsia could benefit from up to 20g of salt a day. The elderly are also at risk if they stick to a low-salt diet, sodium deficiency which could result in nervous disposition, hallucinations, muscle cramps and hip fractures.
Both mania and bipolar depression are characterized by elevations of intracellular sodium concentrations. This observation has been purported to be central to the pathophysiology of abnormal moods in bipolar illness. Lithium can normalize abnormally elevated intracellular sodium levels.
Natural salt is in fact essential for life and play a key role in allowing fluids to pass in and out of your cells; helping carry nutrients to your cells; helping nerve cells in your brain and body to transfer information; enabling various metabolic reactions in your body; regulating blood pressure. Severe sodium restriction may negatively affect your glucose metabolism and disturb normal blood viscosity. Sodium deficiency can induce behavioral changes such as reduced motivation, fatigue, and feelings of depression. Changes in sodium levels can influence your behavior both in terms of mood and taste cravings.
Salt has always been viewed as being very valuable. In ancient Greece, slaves were traded for salt. Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt. Participants at medieval feasts were seated in order of importance based on the location of the salt dishes.
The Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines still consider salt Public Enemy No. 1, coming before fats, sugars and alcohol. And yet, this eat-less-salt argument has been surprisingly controversial — and difficult to defend. Not because the food industry opposes it, but because the actual evidence to support it has always been so weak. Reducing sodium to anything like what government policy refers to as a "safe upper limit" is likely to do more harm than good. Among patients with heart failure, reducing salt consumption increased the risk of death.
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