Sodium Encounter – Another Toxic Nutrient

sodium-salt

This post is similar to Good and Bad Effects of Salt. But this one is a true to life story like the popular movie Titanic. In short my previous post was base on this article.

Few months Ago:

We developed a product called dragon fruit jam. Brought it to Food and Nutrition Research Institute for nutrition analysis. Then we imprinted the test result to product’s label. Nutrition labeling is a mandatory requirement in some countries like US, Canada, Japan and European territories. I hope nutrition labeling is also mandatory here in Philippines.

We gave some samples to our funding agency, Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (DOST-PCIERD). They told us that our product was good but they are worried about the sodium content written on nutrition facts section of the label, the value was high.  Sorry! I can’t remember the exact amount.

According to wikipedia, sodium is a metallic element with a symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals within “group 1” . It has only one stable isotope.

sodium-salt

Sodium is an essential nutrient. It is needed to help regulate fluids, transmit nerve impulses, and contract muscles. Low sodium intake may lead to sodium deficiency, hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is an electrolyte disturbance in which the sodium concentration in the serum is lower than normal. Symptoms includes nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, appetite loss, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms, or cramps, seizures, and decreased consciousness or coma.

Few weeks ago:

I went to grocery together with her to buy our weekly supplies. My attention was caught by the sodium written in every pack of goods we bought. She told me that too much sodium is harmful.

Sodium is harmful? I googled it and found out. Too much sodium  increases blood pressure, raising the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It also boost the risk of asthma, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and stomach cancer. Sodium may come in different forms. Sodium – nitrite, carbonate, bicarbonate, metabisulfite, erythorbate. They are added to foods to enhance flavor and act as stabilizers or preservatives.

Sodium is another toxic essential nutrient. Care should be taken not to consume it in excess.

Good and Bad Effects of Sodium Metabisulfite

sodium-metabisulfite

The Good Side

Sodium metabisulfite is a food additive also known as E223. It is known to be present in fruit juices and candy bars. The primary ingredient of campden tablets  for wine and beer making. It also act as whitening agent in some processed fruits.

When used in wine making or any food processing operations. Sodium metabisulfite reacts with acid, forming  sulfur dioxide, which act as anti-oxidizing and sanitizing agent. As time progress , the gas is released into the atmosphere or break down and bind with the other components.

sodium-metabisulfite

The Bad Side

Fine white granular product with a pungent sulfur dioxide gas odor. May irritate the skin. May cause irritations and burns to eyes. Harmful when swallowed or inhaled. May cause severe and fatal allergic reactions if inhaled or swallowed by some asthmatic and other sulfite-sensitive individuals. React with acid to form toxic and irritating sulfur dioxide gas.

Only food grade material is permitted for use as food additive at 0.1% concentration of the total food volume. As of date, many countries prohibit the use of this additive.