Problem Water: Sodium

a salt shaker which has been tipped over to spill its contents of table salt

Midwesterners who visit America’s beautiful ocean coasts are met with an unpleasant surprise upon squeezing into a bathing suit and going for a swim: salt water.

The Land of 10,000 Lakes does not prepare its citizens for the sensory overload that accompanies a mouthful of Pacific Ocean.  The briny deep not only tastes unpleasant, ingesting too much can have significant effects on your body.  As so many men and women with standard American diets can tell you, too much sodium leads to high blood pressure, which can indirectly cause atherosclerosis and lead to blood clots in your heart (a heart attack), your lungs (a pulmonary embolism), or your brain (a stroke).

While sodium in moderation is essential for muscle contraction and relaxation, as well as transmitting nerve impulses, many people today consume sodium in potentially harmful amounts daily.  The issues are caused by a simple process we all learn about in middle school science called osmosis.  Sodium is typically filtered out of our bloodstream by our kidneys.  However, when there’s too much sodium, your kidneys cannot keep up, and your bloodstream maintains a high level of sodium.  This is where the osmosis comes into play.  Water will always flow from an area with a low concentration of solutes (in this case, sodium particles) to an area with a high concentration of solutes in an attempt to balance the two.  To sum up, more sodium in the blood attracts more water, both of which cause a higher total volume of blood.  A higher total volume of blood in arteries and veins that remain the same size causes more pressure, also known as hypertension.

There is a common misconception that modern day water softening technology uses sodium to neutralize unwanted particles and somehow makes drinking water dangerously salty.  In fact, the primary function of the salt in your brine tank is to rinse and clean the resin in your softener.  The salty brine is then flushed away, and the water delivered to your kitchen sink contains less sodium per liter than a slice of white bread.  For consumers with a particular sensitivity to sodium issues, Water Doctors PRO-4000RO uses reverse osmosis technology to eliminate sodium from your drinking water completely.  For more tips on limiting your sodium intake check out some facts and information courtesy of the Mayo Clinic.

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