You would think that because sodium is an extracellular mineral it wouldn't interact with many of the intracellular one's, when in fact it does!
Little reminder, if you haven't checked out our previous blog post all about sodium and its representation on a hair test, click here!
As a recap, sodium is the main solvent within the body, meaning it helps dissolve and keep things in solution, particularly specific minerals that render an electrical charge of an effect within the cells. If our cells cannot be influenced by the minerals themselves, then they have no sense of direction or instruction, Minerals = cellular electricity.
In addition, sodium plays a vital role within the adrenals as it's a reflection of the resiliency and capability of secreting stress hormones- particularly aldosterone. When the body is under an acute stress, sodium is retained as a result of elevated aldosterone levels. The reason for this is because retaining sodium helps us retain hydration, and we need adequate fluid in order to get through a stress and/or danger.
That being said, considering how sodium influences the solubility of our cells and is one of the main nutrients our adrenal glands work off of, it does also play a role in how it interacts with other minerals which we'll get into below.
Calcium and sodium are antagonistic to each other meaning if one goes up, the other ones goes down and vice versa. Sodium actually keeps calcium in solution and helps prevent an accumulation of calcium from occurring within the tissues. That being said, an excess of sodium, particularly on an HTMA could also be a sign of excess inflammation, infection or acute stress which could cause calcium to leach out of bones and render calcium deficiency. Excess calcium on the other hand can calm the nervous system, and as a result, quiet an over stimulated stress reaction from the body, hence lowering sodium.
Just like calcium, magnesium antagonizes sodium as well, but in a different manner. When looking to an HTMA, there is a specific ratio recognized as the Na/Mg ratio, also known as the adrenal ratio. We all know for magnesium to be a relaxing mineral, whereas sodium is more stimulatory. Essentially, when looking to the ratio of Na:Mg, we can get insight on as to how the adrenals are fucntioning. A high Na/Mg ratio means the adrenals are over stimulated, working very fast and thee is an acute stress the body is experiencing. A low Na/Mg ratio means the adrenal are under functioning, and in some cases some individuals may label this as "adrenal fatigue". The goal is to balance the two together and aim for a ratio of 2-5mg%.
This is an interesting one because potassium can both antagonize and synergize sodium depending on one's metabolic rate. If you haven't checked out our previous blog posts on metabolic types and oxidation rates, check them out here and here. What confuses people is how one mineral can both push up sodium or downregulate it, and this is how: depending on the state of one's metabolism, it will reflect how the body uses energy and if it even has enough energy to properly utilize the mineral itself. If one is a slow oxidizer, potassium should help raise sodium, and if one is a fast oxidizer, potassium should lower sodium.
Manganese and sodium are synergistic due to manganese's alkaline-like properties. Sodium helps balance the pH, thus they can help increase each other's levels. conversely, manganese is found in many organs, one being the kidneys, and the kidneys require optimal sodium levels.
As mentioned when speaking about magnesium, sodium is a stimulatory mineral, and when we intake B vitamins in general, this will help ease off any stress on the adrenal glands and provide essential energy and support that natural stimulation we get from nutrients. B vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate and even cyanocobalamin will all help elevate sodium. Pyrodoxine too, but this one works primarily to reduce stress on the body and has more calming effects,
The adrenal glands work off of three main nutrients: sodium, potassium and vitamin C. Yes, vitamin C is great for the immune system collagen production, energy and more, but it also helps regulate stress from the adrenal glands and support optimal sodium levels by regulating the stress response.
Hope this helped you understand more on how sodium works in the body and to not necessarily fear it but support its mechanisms with other nutrients!
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach