What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Salt?

saltYou probably know that eating too much salt has been linked to health problems, such as high blood pressure, and that it’s a good idea to try and limit the amount of salt in your diet. But what would happen to you if you didn’t get enough salt? Well, here are a few of the things that can happen to your body if you don’t get enough salt in your diet.

Why You Need Sodium

Sodium is a component of salt, and it’s an electrolyte your body needs to keep it working the right way. You must have sodium to allow the plasma in your blood to move through your body and feed your cells. It’s also important to heart function and the nervous system because it helps neurons to send signals to other neurons. According to the FDA, you need at least 500 milligrams of salt each day in order to stay healthy.

Insulin Resistance

There have been a few studies that have linked low sodium intake with an increase in insulin resistance. If you’re not familiar with insulin resistance, it’s a precursor in most cases to type 2 diabetes. It’s when your body can’t utilize insulin appropriately. This causes a rise in your blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, there have been studies that have found no impact on insulin resistance too, so the jury is still a bit out on this one. If you’re already at risk for type 2 diabetes you should keep a close eye on this one.

Heart Failure

One of the ways that sodium helps your body to function is that it, along with potassium, keeps a balance in your muscle tissues that allows the exchange of oxygen and helps the muscles to fire. If you don’t get enough sodium in your diet then you are putting yourself at risk for heart failure, which is a very serious health issue.


Hypo – huh? Well, this may not be something on your radar but it’s worth knowing that hyponatremia is a condition in which there are low levels of sodium in the blood. Its symptoms are very similar to dehydration and if it’s severe enough it can cause swelling of the brain, which can lead to coma or death.

This is most prevalent in older adults who are more likely to take medications that may reduce the level of sodium in their blood, or in endurance athletes who sweat a lot and lose sodium quickly.

Your body needs sodium, so make sure you are getting the recommended daily amount of 3,000 to 5,000 milligrams per day in order to stay healthy and help your body to function at optimal levels.

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d2452-1 by U.S. Department of Agriculture is licensed under CC BY 4.0

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