How Much Sodium Do You Need on Keto? [Facts & Myths Busted]

  • Date: April 26, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Sodium is a mineral known to play a crucial role in the body’s functioning. A normal sodium level in the body helps maintain blood pressure, regulate blood fluid balance, and support the work of nerves. How does sodium affect a person’s body on a keto diet? Or why does a person require sodium on a keto diet? Continue reading this post to find answers to these questions.

Why Do I Need Sodium on Keto?

If you’re new to keto and want a bit more information, check out our keto beginners guide.

As a quick summary, if you need it, the keto (also known as the ketogenic diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF).

The whole concept of the keto diet is that your body transitions from burning glucose, in simple terms, sugars or carbohydrates, to burning fat as its primary fuel source.

For a keto diet, people will restrict their macros to eating;

  • 70% of their calories are from fat
  • 25% from protein
  • 5% from carbohydrates

Sticking to these macros for a period of time will put your body into a state of ketosis.

Ketosis is when your body has transitioned from burning carbohydrates as its primary fuel source to burning fat for fuel. It is at this point that you will start to see and feel the benefits of the keto diet.

It is the role of the liver to convert amino acids into small amounts of glucose. This process is called glucogenesis. This is when ketone bodies (ketones) are created.

Eventually, your body will become what is known as ‘fat adapted‘. In simple terms, this means that your body is accustomed to burning fat as its primary fuel source and it will function this way as its default setting.

There are a lot of new terms and abbreviations that you may come across, sometimes it can feel like a new language that you need to learn.

In order to help you out and keep you on the right track, we have created a keto terms and keto abbreviations guide, bookmark these to make your keto journey easier.

Some people can be put off the keto diet because of the side effects, however, these are only short-lived and the health benefits of keto far outweigh the side effects.

There is no doubt that the process of getting into ketosis and remaining there is a massive change to the way your body is used to functioning.

Supplements may be able to assist your body with this transition and speed up your journey to your health goals.

What Does Sodium Do for the Body?

A small amount of sodium is required by the human body to contract and relax muscles.

It also helps conduct nerve impulses and maintain the proper balance of minerals in the body. It is estimated that the human body requires 500 mg of sodium for vital functions. 

  • Regulates fluid: Regular sodium consumption helps regulate fluids outside the body cells. It pumps fluid into the body cells. It facilitates fluid movement to the areas high in salt content. Along with chlorine, sodium can prevent the loss of water from the body. 
  • Balances ions: Bicarbonate and sodium are known to maintain a balance between positively and negatively charged ions. Throughout the cell membrane, sodium maintains charge differential. 
  • Prevents Water Loss: Loss of water and salt from the human body can cause sunstroke. When this happens, the body fails to maintain a normal temperature. But this condition can be prevented by consuming fluids that contain salt and sugar. 
  • Prevent cramps: Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration can cause muscle cramps. When the temperature reaches extreme heights in the summer season, this condition occurs. Sodium makes way for muscle contraction and hydration. When you drink fluids that are right in sodium, it helps restore electrolytes in the body. 

What Will Happen if I Have Too Little Sodium?

When the body enters the ketosis stage, it loses sodium in the form of sweat or urine. If excess sodium is removed from the body, i.e., if the sodium in blood falls below the normal range of 135–145 mEq/L, it is called hyponatremia

A low sodium level is known to cause;

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • muscle cramps
  • vomiting

It can also lead to shock, coma, or death in severe cases.

Furthermore, sodium is found in a lot of processed food products, which are not consumed on a keto diet. This means that not only are you consuming less sodium, but you are also excreting it through your urine.

Low Sodium Symptoms Keto

Sodium deficiency occurs when the body does not get the required amount of sodium needed for the proper functioning of the body.

If you are on a keto diet, you can notice the following symptoms to know whether or not your body has a proper sodium level.

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Headache
  • Loss of energy and fatigue 
  • Irritability and restlessness 
  • Confusion 
  • Coma 
  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness or cramps  

Why Do You Need Sodium on the Keto Diet?

You need sodium on a keto diet because when the body switches to ketosis, it loses stored electrolytes, including sodium.

In such cases, higher sodium consumption is suggested to help the body function properly. 

Benefits of Taking Sodium

The balanced sodium level in the body can help in: 

  • Properly regulating fluid levels 
  • Preventing stroke
  • Improving brain function
  • Relieving muscle cramps
  • Eliminates carbon dioxide
  • Control glucose absorption
  • Maintains acid-base balance. 

How Much Sodium Should I Take on Keto?

If you follow a keto diet, your body will want more sodium. You can eat food items rich in sodium to keep your body functioning properly.

It is advisable to regularly consume 3000-5000 mg of sodium as part of a ketogenic diet

What Kind of Sodium is Best for the Keto Diet?

You can consume pink Himalayan salt for a keto diet as it is loaded with minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

It is less processed and more natural than traditional table salt. 

What Will Happen if I Have Too Much Sodium?

If you consume too much sodium, you can develop a major risk of high blood pressure.

In addition, you might also face stroke or heart disease. Persistent thirst, swelling in strange places, frequent mild headaches, and craving for salty food are some of the signs that you are consuming more salt. 

How To Get Sodium On Keto

You can get more sodium on keto by adding salts to your drink and meats.

Keto-Friendly Foods Naturally High in Sodium

Finding keto-friendly food items rich in sodium is not easy. These are normally processed foods, however, in addition to adding pink Himalayan salt to your foods, bone broth can be an excellent keto-friendly source of sodium as well as pickled foods such as pickles (just make sure there are no added sugars!). 

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