Uses of Sodium: The Salt in our Lives


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Too Much Salt Can Impact Your Health: Image by Ian Britton

Sodium Requirement in our Diet

In the human requirement diet, on the average, about 1.5 grams sodium per day is needed, typically less than a tenth as much as diets “seasoned to taste.”  On the other hand, low intake of sodium leads to sodium deficiency, a condition known as hyponatremia.

What are Some Uses of Sodium?

Sodium in the Kitchen and Dining Tables. Sodium is found in “common salt” or “table salt” as sodium chloride with chemical formula, NaCl. As salt, it is used for seasoning and for warm-climate food preservation such as curing meats, and preserving other food. Sodium is also found in baking soda (chemical name: sodium bicarbonate), which is used to make cakes rise.

Sodium as Health Therapy. When a person suffers from dehydration caused by diarrhoea caused by cholera, it can be treated with oral rehydration therapy, in which they drink a solution of sodium chloride, potassium chloride and glucose. This is simple, however, it has been found to be an effective therapy that saves the lives of millions of children, especially in developing countries.

Low-Pressure Sodium Lamps: Image by Santaarnpaal

Sodium in Lamps. Sodium lamps are sometimes used for street lighting and produce a yellow-orange glow.

Sodium for other Purposes. As a chemical salt, it is also used in making pottery, glass, soap and textile dyes.

Sodium is an essential element for human and other animal life, some plant species, as well as for general chemical purposes.


McGovern, Una, Editor. Chambers Biographical Dictionary. Chambers Publishers. (2002)

Stoyles, Pennie and Christine Mulvany. The A-Z of Scientific Discoveries, Volume 5 P-S. Melbourne: Macmillan Education Australia P/L.   (2009)

Official Website of the Nobel Prize. Importance of Sodium to Nervous System.  Accessed 29 May 2011.

Health Canada. It’s Your Health: Sodium. Accessed  29 May 2011.

Rehydration Project. Oral Rehydration Therapy.  Accessed 29 May 2011









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