Sodium is a type of metal that is very reactive. Since it's so reactive, sodium is never found in free form in nature. Instead, sodium is always found as a salt. The most common dietary form of sodium is sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is commonly referred to as table salt.
People take sodium by mouth in the form of sodium chloride for low sodium levels, to prevent kidney toxicity caused by the drug amphotericin B, and to prevent kidney toxicity caused by contrast agents used to image parts of the body.
People inject sodium intravenously (by IV) in the form of sodium chloride solution (called saline) to prevent kidney toxicity caused by the drug amphotericin B, to reduce brain swelling and pressure inside the skull, and for a complication of infection called sepsis.
People apply sodium in the form of sodium chloride solution (called saline) for pinkeye (conjunctivitis), dry eye syndrome, mouth sores, nasal congestion, sore throat, and sinusitis.
People inhale sodium in the form of sodium chloride solution for cystic fibrosis.
In foods, sodium chloride is used to add flavor and preserve food.
How it works
Inhaling sodium chloride helps produce sputum (phlegm, mucus). This makes it easier for patients with cystic fibrosis to breathe. Sodium also helps the body to balance levels of fluid and electrolytes in the body.
EffectiveLow levels of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia)
Giving sodium chloride solutions (called hypertonic saline) intravenously (by IV) to patients with moderately or severely low blood levels of sodium helps reduce symptoms caused by low levels of sodium.
Sodium is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth appropriately or when administered as a medicine. In some people, sodium might increase blood pressure.Doses less than 2.3 grams per day are safe for most adults
When taken in very large amounts, sodium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Larger doses might cause too much sodium to build up in the body. This might cause serious side effects including high blood pressure, swelling of the lining of the stomach, and increased risk of stomach cancer. High amounts of sodium might also increase bone and muscle loss in people on bed rest.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Sodium isLIKELY SAFEforpregnantorbreast-feeding women when taken by mouth in doses less than 2.3 grams per day. Sodium isPOSSIBLY UNSAFEwhen take in higher amounts. Larger doses of sodium increase the risk of blood pressure becoming too high.
Children: Sodium is LIKELY SAFE for most children when taken by mouth appropriately. Sodium is safe when used in doses of less than 1.5 grams per day in children ages 1 to 3 years, 1.9 grams per day in children 4 to 8 years, 2.2 grams per day in children 9 to 13 years, and 2.3 grams per day in adolescents. Sodium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken in higher amounts. Larger doses of sodium increase the risk of blood pressure becoming too high.
High levels of sodium in the body: Taking sodium increases levels of sodium in the body and might make this condition worse.
High blood pressure: Taking large amounts of sodium can increase blood pressure and might make this condition worse.
Didanosine (Videx) contains sodium. Taking didanosine (Videx) along with sodium might cause sodium levels to become too high.Lithium
Changing sodium intake might affect how well the body gets rid of lithium. Increasing sodium intake might increase how much lithium is removed from the body. This might reduce the effects of lithium. On the other hand, reducing sodium intake might reduce how much lithium is removed from the body. This might increase adverse effects caused by lithium. People taking lithium should avoid drastically changing their intake of sodium without first talking with their doctor or pharmacist.