Not Getting Enough Sodium?

I was running through my RDA’s and I noticed I have almost everything covered well except sodium, I’m only hitting 737mg or 49% of the RDA.

Is this something I should make up for or is this by design?

I was worried about that when I started, but it turned out not to be a problem for me. And I should point out that I sweat a lot in the gym. I think it is a conditioned response due to 20+ years training. As soon as I walk through the gym door I break out in a sweat. Even with that (and the sweating during the daily walks in the heat), the low sodium issue didn’t seem to be a problem.

Surge and natural peanut butter contain sodium. Not sure if you’re counting those or not.

Here is what I was able to calculate

NEPA days:

73.4 mg peanut butter
650.0 mg Low carb
60.0 mg milled flax seed

783.4 Total
1,500.0 RDA
-716.6 Net loss

Workout days

73.4 mg peanut butter
650.0 mg Low carb
60.0 mg milled flax seed
380.0 mg Surge

1,163.4 Total
1,500.0 RDA
-336.6 Net loss

When I first got to college I was eating only veggies, whole wheat bread, oats, chicken breasts, milk, and eggs.

I got enough sodium from the chicken, just sprinkle a little salt in your creatine if your worried about it, it will help with absorption.

It’s very likely you’re getting more sodium than you’re figuring. The amount cited is extremely low.

Unfortunately, sodium is one of those areas where spectacular medical and “health advice” ignorance is the norm. Sodium in any reasonable quantity consistently consumed is not bad for you in any way. (However, fluctuating it all over isn’t good.)

The myth that it causes hypertension is precisely that, a myth. The recommendation that one not exceed the stated RDA is wrong-headed of the government (actually almost every or perhaps every RDA is a figure best exceeded.)

The myth arose from the fact that some blood pressure medications are interfered with by high sodium intake. The deduction was incorrectly made that sodium therefore causes high blood pressure regardless of whether such medication is used or not.

It also arises from effects of acute change: that is to say if someone is used to a given small rate of sodium intake and then suddenly consumes it at a much greater rate with no corresponding increase in water intake, then there can be a temporary fluid retention effect but it is completely wrong to try to carry this fact over to ongoing higher intake.

Some time back, the World Health Organization was determined to quantitate just how bad sodium was, and funded a major, worldwife epidemiological study, with over 30,000 subjects with sodium intakes ranging from some tiny amount –

not quite as small as what you believe yours is, I don’t think –

of Amazon rain forest dwellers, to approximately 35 grams per day for some group of Japanese fishermen that ate a lot of salted fish.

The findings? Absolutely zero adverse effect of sodium.

In contrast, adequate sodium for conditions is helpful to athletic performance.

There’s also the other extreme of recommendation: I’ve seen a recommendation as high, and simplistic, as saying to take 2 grams of sodium with every liter of water drunk, and of course, to drink large quantities of water.

I have a feeling there may have been a typo involved and the author may have actually meant 2 grams of SALT per liter, which is not the same thing.

However, either way, the per liter approach is a little too simplistic, as heat-acclimated individuals can do perfectly well with lower sweat sodium levels than what may wind up being the case with non-heat-acclimated individuals facing an unaccustomed sweating challenge.

The latter person’s sodium need would be greater: the same “per liter” formula, if there were any one formula, would not apply.

There is no simple formula for that reason and fortunately there need not be any great precision. The body is good at matching sodium excretion to sodium intake – it has to be because serum sodium levels are held very tightly and unlike minerals such as calcium and magnesium, there is no depot to draw on or add to.

The fact that there is no depot, but rather just the serum and cellular levels of sodium and these need to be constant, do mean that we should neither suddenly load the body with a ton of sodium without corresponding water intake, or fail to provide sodium while the body is excreting a lot of it due either to high water intake causing high urine output, or to high sweat rate.

Urine tends to contain sodium in somewhat predictable quantities, as does sweat, and so there is a relation between sodium needed to have normal levels in the sweat and urine and the amount of water consumed.

For example, I really don’t think an actual 737 mg/day could support the inevitable rate of urine and sweat production resulting from drinking any properly-healthful amount of water.

Urinary sodium content is normally about 350 to 8000 mg per liter per day.

The sodium content of sweat tends to range from about 500 mg/liter to about 2400 mg/liter.

The total volume of sweat and urine will not equal the total volume of water (counting water content of all water-containing beverages) consumed, as some water is lost as vapor in the breath, and that figure is variable according to humidity and probably other factors and I don’t know what it is.

Let’s for the sake of having an example call it 2 liters per day for a given individual and humidity conditions.

So that means that if your sweat and urine both have saltiness at the bottom end of what is typical, and you consume say 8 liters, roughly 2 gallons, of water per day (counting the water content of all beverages drunk, not just that drunk as water itself),then at the very minimum your excretion rate would be 2100 mg if your sweat was zero and the urinary sodium was at the bottom of the range.

According to the US government, that’s above the maximum sodium you should have. In fact, it’s an extreme bare minimum for the described situation.

If the FDA stopped to think about known facts regarding sodium excretion, or stopped to think about whether their theory that higher sodium causes hypertension is proven or instead disproven, they would know better than to make the recommendation that they do.

But there are a lot of RDA’s where they ought to know better but do not.

If let’s say you sweat half what you drink and you allow yourself enough sodium to be at the logarithmic midrange for sodium content of both sweat and urine, and again using an approximation not considering water lost in the breath, then what consumption would be required on this water intake?

Sweat: 3 liters at say 1700 mg/liter: 5100 mg
Urine: 3 liters at say 1100 mg/liter: 3300 mg
Total: 8400 mg, for this specific described situation.

So, don’t be afraid of sodium.

It is best however to be reasonably – not in a paranoid, compulsive way but reasonably – consistent with it in terms of keeping it related to the recent rate of water intake rather than taking a giant hit in only one part of the day and not particularly much water at that time, and then lots of water later without any recent or following sodium at another time. Not good.

In the above example, having 1000 or 1500 mg of sodium (presumably with food, though it doesn’t have to be) corresponding with each liter of beverage drunk would keep one in this midrange sort of state.

Oh, many doctors or health professionals that in fact know nothing about it would object strenuously at the thought of say 8 grams a day, but that is only from a lack of knowledge on this issue and some severely bad reasoning.

Truly, a sub-1000-mg intake, if it is the case, is much too low. Unless you’re limiting yourself to only such as small amount of water (counting water content of all beverages) to drop your total sweat plus urine to only 2 liters per day or something, which would mean drinking too little water if sweating significantly.


No, I am reasonably sure that this is close to exact amounts, being how the V-diet is restricted (with the exception of the Saturday healthy meal). This is what lead me to post the question and gauge others experience.

All my other RDA’s are very good or near ideal for my metabolism map.

On what Bill brought up about drinking water, my local water supply has around 50 mg/l and I drink about 140 Fl Oz per day. So this would only bump up my intake by 200 - 300 mg per day


I completely agree with your assessment of the low sodium crazy being based on pseudoscience BS. I am not paranoid about getting too much sodium, I am concerned about too little VS output.

Currently my calculated calories burned/day is floating between 3400 to 4,000 per day depending on workout days. This with unseasonably warm weather in California means I am expending a good amount of sodium.

I’ve taken to correcting it by putting a little in the shakes and allowing for consistent absorption.

Thanks for taking the time,

Sure thing!

Your correction method should help and ought to do the job. Hope you have the best of outcomes!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Disclaimer: Individual results may vary.