Salt, also known as sodium chloride, adds flavor to food and is used as a preservative, binder and stabilizer. Our body needs very little sodium to conduct nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain proper water and mineral balance. Too much sodium is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Recommended limits are one teaspoon a day, but since 90% of adults will develop high blood pressure at some point in their lives, some advocates are suggesting to lower the limit to ⅔ teaspoon per day.3

Table 5 lists the type of electrolytes, their sources and deficiency symptoms.7

Table 5. Electrolytes Responsible for Fluid Homeostasis.

Electrolyte Source Deficiency
Sodium: (Na)
  • Works with chloride and potassium
  • Water balance, acid-base balance
  • Nerve function
  • Table salt, soups, cured meats, processed foods
  • Muscle cramping, mental apathy
Chloride: (Cl)
  • Works with sodium
  • Regulates acid-base, water balance, and digestion (hydrochloric acid)
  • Table salt, eggs, fish, meat
  • Muscle cramping, digestive problems, mental apathy
Potassium: (K)
  • Second most abundant mineral
  • Acid-base balance
  • Sodium potassium pump
  • Water balance
  • Bananas, potatoes, yams, dried fruits, legumes, meat, dairy
  • Nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Cardiac arrest