Water Education - Water and Health

Will Drinking Water Influence My Sodium Levels?

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Our bodies need more regular maintenance and observation as we grow older, especially hearts. For many individuals, monitoring their sodium intake is vital to a healthy heart and a long and productive life. To help you better understand this relationship, we have listed some simple questions and answers regarding sodium intake and drinking water.

How does excess sodium impact my health?

Sodium (Na) is an essential element required for normal body functions including nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction, relaxation, and fluid regulation. Excess sodium consumption results in greater availability of sodium ions in the bloodstream which leads to increased blood volume and constricted blood vessels. This condition results in the thickening of the cardiac muscle and the potential enlargement of the heart. This can result in an increased risk of hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.

Sodium Level

How might I be exposed to sodium in my drinking water?

Sodium occurs naturally in groundwater, especially near coastal areas. Sodium in water may also be due to man-made contamination. These include use of road de-icing salts, discharges from water softeners, human or animal waste disposal, and leachate from landfills.

Should I be concerned about sodium in my drinking water?

No. Sodium levels in drinking water from most public water systems are unlikely to be a significant contributor to adverse health effects. Drinking water contributes only a small fraction to a person’s overall sodium intake. Levels of sodium less than the drinking water standard are not likely to cause any problems. However, individuals on a sodium-restricted diet should seek drinking water that meets the drinking water standard or consider getting a reverse osmosis system to remove excess salt from their water.

How much sodium do I consume on a daily basis?

One of the main sources of sodium is through the consumption of food with high salt content, therefore it is important to follow recommended salt restrictions in our diet. A Food and Drug Administration publication, "Scouting for Sodium and Other Nutrients Important to Blood Pressure" (FDA 95-2284) states that most American adults tend to eat between 4,000 and 6,000 mg of sodium per day, "and therapeutic sodium-restricted diets can range from below 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg per day."

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