Sodium has about the worst reputation of any element on the Periodic Table, especially for bodybuilders. Is this bad rap justified? Not even close.
You might think sodium is bad for a bodybuilder because it causes water retention. Plus, no less than the Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association tell you that the less salt and sodium you have in your diet, the better. Here’s the problem with accepting every report from mainstream media groups: they don’t take into account the needs of hardcore bodybuilders.
The IOM recommends 2,300 milligrams and the AHA recommends less than 1,500 mg per day for people aged 19–50. Believe it or not, these recommendations could actually be dangerous. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that the National Dietary Guidelines suggested avoiding all fats, even those from nuts and olive oil, a recommendation that’s since been reversed. Could they be making the same mistake with sodium? We think so.
1 - SODIUM VS. SALT Although often used interchangeably, sodium and salt are not the same thing. Technically speaking, salt is sodium attached to chloride, and salt is only about 40% sodium. The sodium ion, which is positively charged, is critical to our survival. Along with potassium, sodium is responsible for allowing an electrostatic charge to build on cell membranes, such as nerve cells and muscle cells, which is basically how nerve impulses are generated and muscles contract. Without adequate sodium intake, our nerves and muscles would not work properly.