Sodium has a special place in inorganic chemistry and is one of the most volatile metals in the periodic table. With symbol Na (Latin natrium) and atomic number, 11 Sodium is a chemical element which is a silvery-white, soft, highly reactive in nature. Being in group 1 of the famous periodic table Sodium is an alkali metal, hence it readily donates an electron by creating a positively charged atom i.e. Na+ cation. The free metal does not exist in nature but can be prepared from different compounds. Sodium (Na) is the 6th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and exists in various minerals such as sodalite, feldspars, and rock salt (NaCl). Most of the salts of sodium are highly water-soluble. But here we are not going to talk about the core chemistry anymore as there is something more important to know about Sodium.
Requirement Of Sodium:
Human Body does require various minerals in a limited and a controlled amount to meet the various functions and activities. 1500 mg of sodium each day is must for Healthy adult and1000-1500 mg of sodium for healthy children. The limit should not exceed 2300 mg of sodium /day in case of adults. In the case of Athletes, a higher amount of sodium is required because it is lost in the sweat.
Best Sources Of Sodium:
To fulfill the requirements of Sodium we need to go for dietary sources and the most common is common salt. In common salt (NaCl) nearly 40% sodium is present. Other dietary sources are sausage, processed meat, bacon, ham and canned vegetables and soups. Fast foods or the Junk foods have a very high content of sodium. Added forms include monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrite, baking soda, sodium saccharin and sodium benzoate. These are mostly found in onion salt, soy sauce, garlic salt etc.
Health Benefits Of Sodium:
Elimination of Excess Carbon Dioxide:
Carbon dioxide is not good for the functioning of human body. Here Sodium plays an important role in the removal of carbon dioxide which is usually accumulated in the body organs.
Smooth Brain Functioning:
In the improvement of brain functions and development of the brain, Sodium plays an important role. The change of sodium levels in the body is not considered healthy as it affects the brain leading to confusion, lethargy, dizziness, etc.
Maintenance of Glucose Absorption:
Sodium plays an important role in the process of Absorption too. Its absorption in small intestine aids in the absorption of amino acids, chlorides, glucose and especially of water.
Healthy Condition of the Heart:
In the regulation and maintenance of blood pressure of the human body, Sodium plays a vital role. The right amount of consumption helps in maintaining the heart in a healthy condition. Excessive consumption is not good too as a high content can lead to high blood pressure.
Regulation of Fluids:
Sodium in the regular diet helps in the regulation of fluids. To pump fluids into the cells it is highly required. It facilitates the movement of fluids during the process of osmosis.
Maintaining Right Balance of Ions:
Sodium together with sodium and bicarbonate maintains a sound balance between the positively charged ions and the negatively charged ions. Thus, sodium plays an important part in maintaining a charge differential across each cell membrane This enables the nerve cells to send messages and the muscle cells to contract.
The remedy for Sunstroke:
Sunstroke is mainly caused due to loss of water and salt from the body. In the prevention of sunstroke by replacing the loss of essential electrolytes Sodium plays an important role. It is recommended by physicians to drink fluids containing sugar and salt to provide instant relief against sunstroke.
Prevention of Muscle Cramps:
Due to dehydration & electrolyte imbalance Muscle cramps are common in the summer months. The Sodium metal is responsible for hydration and muscle contraction in the body. It is always advised to have Sodium rich juices and other fluids whose consumption help to restore the right amount of electrolyte.
Anti- Aging Property:
Because of the ability to fight the radicals Sodium are an important component in anti-aging and various types of skin creams. It effectively controls the aging process and further helps in maintaining a healthy and youthful skin.
Benefits of Sodium Chloride:
Sodium chloride commonly known as Rock Salt or Table salt is highly beneficial for the teeth. It recommended by dentists for polished teeth, reducing odor and cleaning or deodorizing the teeth and mouth. It is best for oral care.
Skin Benefits of Sodium:
Sodium plays an important role in skincare. Sodium is known for its anti-aging properties. Hence it is very common and an active ingredient in various skin care products. Sodium with combination other elements gives a number of skin benefits.
Mild wetting agent
Sodium is widely used in various moisturizers and skin cleansers; it is regarded as a wetting agent in various skin products for sensitive skin.
In Sodium Chloride:
NaCl which is commonly known as table salt is used as an astringent, preservative, and antiseptic in personal care products and cosmetics. It is an active ingredient in the formulation of fragrances, shampoos, oral hygiene products cleansing, makeup and bath products.
In Sodium Bicarbonate:
It is an inorganic alkaline salt is commonly used as a buffering agent, skin smoothening agent, and as an important acid neutralizer in a wide range of bath products and antiseptics.
In Sodium Laureth Sulphate:
Sodium Laureth Sulphate is basically a cleansing and lathering and is commonly used in shampoos, soaps, toothpaste and bubble bath. SLS acts as a detergent and proves very useful in breaking up grease and oil by making the soaps and shampoos foamy. Due to the anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties of this compound, it is highly effective in controlling the growth of harmful pathogens.
Hair Benefits of Sodium:
Sodium Chloride or Table Salt has hair benefits too. Due to various properties present in it, this natural salt is an important ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products to increase the thickness of these products. It further enables these products especially shampoos and conditioners to rinse out better during washing of your hair. But an excess of sodium chloride is not healthy too as it can strip the natural oil of the hair and makes the scalp dry and itchy.
Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda):
Sodium Bicarbonate has great cleansing properties. It can be mixed with shampoo, water or conditioner to clarify the hair. It is advised to go for a baking soda hair wash if you are willing to have clean hair. It effectively cleans hair by removing impurities and excess products. You can use it as a dry shampoo to remove the sebum which is an oily substance usually secreted by the skin.
Sodium Laureth Sulphate:
Sodium Laureth Sulphate or SLS has been derived from coconut oil. This compound is considered as safe and gentle for skin and hair applications. The most important thing about SLS is that it has tough action on the dirt and impurities which are very common due to heavy pollution and it does not cause any side effects or irritation. Due to this reason this compound is most common in various types of hair, skin and beauty products.