7 Health Risks of Eating Too Little Salt

Hyponatremia is the medical term for the condition of low sodium levels, or not getting enough salt. Generally, athletes and seniors are prone to this illness. Athletes perspire a lot, which causes them to lose a lot of sodium through their sweat. This is especially true of athletes who work out in very hot conditions. With the world on a rash of “low salt and sodium diets,” it is important that you are careful not to eliminate too much salt from your diet. This is especially true if you are drinking more water. Studies have shown that you can have an adverse effect due to consuming too little sodium and too much water. The body can take the appropriate measures when too much salt is in the body, yet it is difficult for the body to automatically replenish its salt levels. The way to determine if you suffer from hyponatremia is to have a blood sodium test done by a doctor. Here are seven health risks that can occur from consuming too little salt:

1. Muscle Cramps

When your salt level is too low, your muscles begin to cramp up. This is due to the fact that your body is drawing sodium out of your muscles, which can be very painful.

2. Dizziness

Dizziness can be caused by your sodium levels being drastically low in your body.

3. Unexplained Fatigue

Unexplained fatigue can stem from low sodium levels in the body which causes you to have very low energy levels due to the sodium deficiency.

4. Loss of Consciousness

When your sodium levels are drastically low, this can cause you to lose conciseness. This creates its own dangers, such as collapsing in an unsafe area or when performing a task, such as driving a motor vehicle.

5. Breathing Difficulties

Sodium levels in the body, when they reach their extremes, either extremely high or extremely low levels, can create difficulties in breathing.

6. Coma

Lack of the proper levels of sodium in the body can cause you to lapse into a coma after losing consciousness. This is a very serious problem and would require long-term medical treatment.

7. Death

In very extreme cases, people have even died due to extreme sodium loss and low levels of sodium. Again, however, this is a highly extreme circumstance and does not occur very often, likely due to the fact that people seek medical treatment before this can occur.

Cautionary Advice

Sodium is an important part of your daily diet. Although most people have to contend with too much salt in their diets, when you have low sodium levels in the body, you must take precautionary measures as well. There are medicines that you can take that will maintain your sodium levels. However, a better solution to the low-sodium problem is to change your diet.


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Posts By Sequoia
  • Gisela Moellmann

    I have been on prednisone for more than 3 years and was told by my neurologist not to add salt to my diet (I eat almost no processed foods.) Now that I am off prednisone, every bit of salt is disturbing the taste of food and I continue not to use salt or eat processed foods.

    Reading your article, I suspect that the symptoms accompanying the last stage and beyond prednisone tapering are similar to those described to occur with low sodium intake, for example, seriously painful muscles to the point where I could have screamed with pain all over my limbs. Now, four months later, these pains have essentially subsided, almost completely, but the muscle weakness still persists and I have no appetite. I have yet to add the first teaspoon of salt to any food. Just thinking of tasting salt makes me want not to eat. I have lost 10 lbs. during the entire ordeal. (The reason for taking prednisone, ordered by a neurologist, and highly urged by my my ophthalmologist, was temporal arteritis which, untreated, will lead to blindness on the affected side.)

    What type of specialist should I ask for advice with respect to salt intake?
    Thank you,
    Gisela Moellmann
    [email protected]


  • Magnus Thunderson

    also dementia like symptoms and seizures as i know as my mom developed a salt deficiency