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(65 mmol)/day of sodium can meet recommended intakes for other nutrients (see Table 6-9) (Craddick et al., 2003; Karanja et al., 1999). The second and third columns of Table 6-9 display the nutrient profiles of two Western-type diets tested in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)-Sodium trial (Sacks et al., 2001): a typical American (control) diet and the DASH diet. Both provided an average sodium intake of approximately 1.5 g (65 mmol)/day (as estimated by mean urinary sodium excretion), while the fourth column provides the current recommended intake for the nutrients listed.

Second, the AI of 1.5 g (65 mmol)/day exceeds the levels of sodium intake (typically < 0.7 g [30 mmol]) that have been associated in some studies with adverse effects on blood lipid concentrations and insulin resistance (Tables 6-6 and 6-7).

Third, this level allows for excess sodium loss in sweat by unacclimatized persons who are exposed to high temperatures or who are moderately physically active. As noted previously, Allsopp and coworkers (1998) documented that heat acclimated persons consuming 1.5 g (66 mmol)/day of sodium achieved sodium balance after 5 days while being exposed to 40°C (104°F) for 10 hours/day (Table 6-2). Extrapolations from this data suggest that on the first day of heat exposure, prior to acclimation, these individuals would have achieved sodium balance if their exposure to 40°C (104°F) heat lasted no more than 6 hours. Specifically, on average, 4.5 mmol (0.1 g) of sodium per hour was lost in sweat during heat exposure prior to acclimation. After 5 days of acclimation, average sodium sweat losses dropped to 2.1 mmol (0.05 g)/hour.

In summary, the AI is set at 1.5 g (65 mmol)/day of sodium for both young men and women based on meeting sodium needs of apparently healthy individuals, as well as that of other important nutrients using foods found in a Western-type diet. It is assumed these individuals are moderately active in temperate climates. This level of sodium is equivalent to 3.8 g/day of sodium chloride, which would also provide 2.3 g (65 mmol) of chloride. This AI does not apply to highly active individuals such as competitive athletes and workers exposed to extreme heat stress because of increased loss of sodium via sweat (see later section, “Special Considerations”).

Sodium and Chloride AI Summary, Ages 19 Through 50 Years

AI for Sodium for Men

19–30 years

1.5 g (65 mmol)/day of sodium

31–50 years

1.5 g (65 mmol)/day of sodium



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