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Sodium is a mineral required by your body to function normally. Consumed as sodium chloride, or salt, it is involved in muscle contractions, as well as the regulation of blood volume and blood pressure. During exercise salt is metabolized and used to help your muscles function at optimal levels. Any excess salt consumed is not flushed through sweating, it is expelled through the kidneys.

Daily Recommended Intake

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends consuming approximately 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. Excess sodium intake is common in the Western diet because of the increased consumption of processed foods.

Kidney Function

Your kidneys are responsible for the regulation of electrolytes and blood pressure. Their main function is to filter waste from the bloodstream. Any excess vitamins and minerals are removed from the bloodstream and are excreted via urine.

Why You Sweat

Sweat is produced by sweat glands within the skin distributed around the body. Your body uses sweat as a means of temperature regulation. A part of your brain, known as the hypothalamus, is responsible for monitoring the temperature of your body. When temperature receptors, located within the skin, report an increase in temperature to the hypothalamus, your brain responds by initiating the production of sweat. When sweat evaporates from the skin’s surface it produces a cooling effect.

Composition of Sweat

Sweat is largely composed of water. There are trace amounts of minerals, lactate and urea present in sweat. During exercise, the kidneys reabsorb filtered electrolytes and redistribute them to working muscles. Sweat may sometimes taste salty. This is caused by a change in concentration due to dehydration. When the body begins reabsorbing more water than it is releasing for sweat, the ratio of water to minerals decreases, resulting in a higher concentration of minerals in sweat.

Reducing Sodium Intake

Health risks, such as high blood pressure, have been associated with excessive salt consumption. To lower your risk of developing high blood pressure, reduce the amount of prepackaged and processed foods you consume. Focus your diet on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.