It’s common knowledge that too much sodium is bad for your health. Are you aware that too little sodium is just as terrible? When your blood is lacking in sodium which is, by the way, an electrolyte, a condition known as hyponatremia happens. This is something that you don’t want to have because it can cause some serious effects, including life-threatening ones!
Experts agree that you should limit your daily intake of sodium to 2,300 milligrams. If you are older than 50, you should limit it to 1,500 milligrams per day. The operative word is “limit” and not “restrict”. Otherwise, you may end up with a bunch of health issues. Here are some of the important roles that sodium play:
• Sodium helps in maintaining proper fluid levels in your body.
• It keeps your body from overheating, thus saving you from having sunstroke.
• Taking sodium and plenty of fluids keeps you from having muscle cramps.
• Sodium helps in removing excessive amounts of carbon dioxide that have accumulated within you.
• The electrolyte also helps in regulating the absorption of glucose by your cells.
• It keeps your skin young and beautiful by keeping the skin cells hydrated and saving them from free radicals.
• Sodium is important for proper brain functioning.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why turning your back completely on sodium is not a good idea. Having low levels of sodium in the blood can be hard to diagnose initially due to the absence of telltale signs and symptoms. However, the problem can quickly progress into brain edema, brain damage and even death.
Here are some of the things that may happen if you fail to obtain the recommended amounts of sodium via the diet:
Worsening of Insulin Resistance
According to some scientific investigations, those who opt for diets that are very low in sodium had increased resistance to insulin, a hormone that facilitates the transport of sugar from the blood to the cells. In fact, there’s a particular study which revealed that insulin resistance worsened in people who had low-sodium diets in just a week.
Everyone knows that a diet that’s high in sodium can cause water retention. Did you know that not getting enough sodium via the diet can also cause the very same thing to happen? This is something that can be observed most especially in athletes, ending up with swollen hands and feet when severely dehydrated and lacking in sodium.
Swelling of the Brain
Just like what’s just discussed above, too little sodium in the body can cause water retention. This also causes water to pool around the brain, and this is not a good thing because water applies unnecessary pressure on the brain. Edema of the brain can actually cause brain damage eventually. In severe cases, the condition can even lead to coma and death.
It’s not unlikely for someone with hyponatremia to die especially if the condition progresses too quickly, leaving the body with not enough time to adapt to the changes going on within. Death due to lack of sodium is more common in people with conditions such as kidney and heart failure, as well as those who are waiting for liver transplants.
Increased Bad Cholesterol
Certain studies have shown that a diet that’s low in sodium could cause the levels of LDL cholesterol to increase. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein, the kind of cholesterol that’s dubbed as bad. You don’t want to have increased LDL cholesterol because it will only put you at high risk of having heart disease.
These are some of the dangers of avoiding sodium. Again, what you need to do is limit your daily intake of sodium to 2,300 milligrams (1,500 milligrams if you are 51 years old or above) in order to ward off the dangers of hypernatremia, which is the complete opposite of hyponatremia.