normal sodium levels: picture of salt in a spoon

It’s no secret sodium has been demonized over the last decade. With studies showing a correlation between high sodium intake and high blood pressure, many people began to avoid sodium entirely. But with newer developments in research technology, there is increased debate about whether sodium is actually bad for you. More and more medical experts argue for the benefits of adequate amounts of sodium.

Here, we’ll show you why you should take critiques of sodium with a grain of salt. You’ll learn more about the role sodium plays in your body, what constitutes a healthy amount of sodium, and how an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS can help you regulate normal sodium levels.

What Is Sodium?

normal sodium levels: hand holding a periodic table of elements showing sodium

While sodium is often on lists of “what not to eat,” it’s actually an essential nutrient that your body needs to function properly. In fact, sodium is one of the most important electrolytes when it comes to fending off ailments like dehydration

That’s because sodium plays a crucial role in water retention and works closely with glucose — through the sodium-glucose cotransport system — to enable your body to quickly absorb electrolytes and fluids. In this system, glucose works to transport sodium from the small intestine into your bloodstream. This also opens the gate for water and other electrolytes to enter your bloodstream, helping to provide dehydration relief fast.

While the terms salt and sodium are used interchangeably, they’re actually two different things. Sodium chloride, also known as table salt, contains a mixture of sodium and chloride — two different minerals while sodium refers specifically to the mineral.

Sodium helps you maintain a normal heartbeat, supports proper muscle function, prevents muscle cramps, and sends messages between your brain, organs, and muscles. It also helps regulate the balance of electrolytes in your body, ensuring you have enough vitamins and minerals like potassium and zinc. 

Sodium also helps regulate fluid volume in your bloodstream, helping you avoid issues such as fluid volume deficits and dehydration. Here’s how it works. When your body senses a problem in blood volume or low levels of sodium, it triggers your adrenal glands to secrete aldosterone — a hormone that encourages your kidneys to retain sodium and expel potassium. 

As a result, your urine output decreases, helping to bulk up your fluid volume. At the same time, your pituitary gland releases the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin, which helps the kidneys retain water.

While sodium and electrolytes play a key role in the human body, they need to be present in precise ratios. That’s because too much or too little of one electrolyte — such as sodium — can cause health problems. 

Read on to learn about sodium imbalance problems and why it’s important to use an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS to maintain normal sodium levels and fend off dehydration.

What Are Normal Sodium Levels?

normal sodium levels: nurse holding a blood specimen

Normal sodium levels are generally between 135 and 145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). A doctor can help determine the level of sodium in your bloodstream by using laboratory tests and blood tests. Sodium level tests are typically performed as part of a larger electrolyte or basic metabolic panel test. 

During the test, a healthcare provider will take a small blood sample using a needle. The sodium blood test is minimally invasive and only causes a small amount of pain at the blood draw site.

If your test results indicate your serum sodium levels are outside the normal range, your doctor will discuss potential causes, offer medical advice, and create a treatment plan. In serious cases, results may indicate a medical emergency where you need critical care such as a blood transfusion. In most mild to moderate cases, the doctor will recommend other treatment options to correct the sodium imbalance.

The Problem With Too Much — or Not Enough — Sodium

normal sodium levels: two men assisting a fainting man

When it comes to sodium, having high or low levels can cause health problems. A sodium imbalance — not the intake of sodium itself — is typically the main cause for health concerns related to salt. This is why studies on excessively high salt use show a correlation between sodium and heart problems.

According to the CDC, adults should consume a maximum of 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. However, the average American eats more than 3,400 milligrams per day — one of the key reasons sodium has been a huge topic of discussion in the last decade. The majority of American’s sodium intake comes from processed food and restaurant meals. 

Extremely high salt levels can lead to a condition called hypernatremia, which occurs when your body has a high concentration of sodium (145 mEq/L or higher) and not enough water. Symptoms of hypernatremia include excessive thirst, irritability, and fatigue. In extreme cases, you may experience seizures, coma, muscle twitches, and confusion.

On the other hand, not getting enough sodium can also cause health problems. An imbalance where your body doesn’t have enough sodium and too much water (less than 135 mEq/L sodium concentration) is called hyponatremia

Without enough sodium, your body can’t properly regulate hydration and electrolyte balances. This can lead to dehydration, which can result in hospitalization if not addressed quickly using an oral rehydration solution, like DripDrop ORS. 

Symptoms of low blood sodium levels (hyponatremia) include nausea, headache, fatigue, muscle spasms, and decreased urination. Severe symptoms of hyponatremia include loss of consciousness and coma. Left untreated, high and low sodium levels can lead to serious long-term effects and even death.

Sodium imbalances can also lead to dehydration, a condition where your body loses more fluids and electrolytes than it can replace. Without enough sodium as part of a healthy electrolyte balance, your body can’t regulate water retention properly. This makes it harder to stay hydrated. 

Dehydration can be serious and causes symptoms ranging from headaches and high blood pressure to confusion, irritability, and muscle cramps. Getting the right amount of sodium and the proper electrolyte balance with an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS is the best way to prevent dehydration.

How ORS Can Help With Dehydration

When it comes to sodium, having either too little or too much salt is not healthy. While we’ve been trained to associate sodium with poor health outcomes, it’s particularly important to adjust our thinking on sodium when it comes to dehydration. 

Sodium is a crucial component for treating and preventing dehydration. That’s why many dehydration treatments — including intravenous therapy (IVs) and oral rehydration solutions — contain sodium as one of the main ingredients. In fact, IVs are simply a saline solution — a sterile combination of sodium chloride and water. They’re designed to provide essential hydration, just like oral rehydration solutions like DripDrop ORS.

DripDrop ORS contains sodium citrate, potassium citrate, chloride, magnesium citrate, and zinc aspartate to provide dehydration relief fast. Like an IV, it is medically formulated to provide precisely the right amount of sodium you need when your body’s normal sodium levels become depleted. In addition, it contains other electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals that are beneficial for overall health.

What sets DripDrop ORS apart from other oral rehydration solutions is its great taste. Traditional oral rehydration solutions were unpalatable due to high amounts of sodium and a resulting strong salty taste. This was especially troublesome for children who often refused to drink the unpleasant saltwater, even when severely dehydrated. 

DripDrop ORS improves on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards, giving you a medically viable balance of electrolytes but also offering a great taste.

Causes of Sodium Imbalances

image of a construction worker with hands on his mouth

Sodium is an essential mineral and an imbalance can cause serious symptoms. You get the majority of your sodium from your diet through a wide range of foods and beverages. In addition, insufficient sodium can occur in many ways, including sweating, urination, vomiting, and simply not getting enough.

The main causes of sodium imbalances include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Illnesses that cause severe vomiting and diarrhea
  • Drinking excessive amounts of water
  • Heat-related illnesses
  • Taking certain medications including diuretics, water pills, and laxatives
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal and metabolic disorders
  • Medical conditions

Older adults and young children are at higher risk of sodium imbalances and dehydration because they have greater difficulty controlling electrolyte and body water volume.

People with medical conditions including kidney disease, kidney failure, congestive heart failure, liver disease, Addison’s disease, Cushing's syndrome, and diabetes insipidus are at higher risk of developing sodium imbalances. In addition, polydipsia and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) — conditions that cause excessive water consumption or retention — can also increase the risk of hyponatremia or a low level of sodium.

Manage Dehydration With DripDrop ORS

man sitting and holding a dripdrop ORS

When it comes to salt, it’s important to break through the misconception it’s entirely bad for us. Maintaining normal sodium levels is crucial to supporting overall wellbeing, as sodium plays a vital role in human health and imbalances can cause serious issues including fluid volume deficiencies and dehydration. 

Getting the right amount of sodium and electrolytes to fend off conditions like dehydration is easy thanks to oral rehydration solutions. DripDrop ORS is a proven alternative for treating mild to moderate dehydration. It's powerful enough to use in extreme circumstances but safe enough for everyday use. Drink it every day to maintain a healthy sodium and electrolyte balance, or keep it in your go-bag or disaster kit to use in emergencies.

When you're in a state of dehydration, no amount of water is enough. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption. With the precisely balanced ratio, you're able to replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. Plus, DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium which are essential to support your overall health.

For cases of mild to moderate dehydration, DripDrop ORS is a fast, effective, and great tasting remedy. With convenient packaging that allows you to have DripDrop ORS when you need it, where you need it. Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast.