Home Blog Home and Wellness Sodium in Water: What Is It? Is Sodium Bad for You?

Sodium in Water: What Is It? Is Sodium Bad for You?

por Dr. Jonathan Doyle - Updated May 30, 2024
Sodium is one of the elements in our natural environment. It is present in drinking water and foods. Its natural occurrence in drinking water is made possible by water softeners and road salt applications. Sodium is vital to living healthily. For example, it regulates blood pressure and fluid levels in humans. It also helps with nerve and muscle function.

Health Effects of Sodium in Water

As a dietary mineral, the human body contains about 100g of sodium. Here, it helps to maintain optimal nerve functions. The human blood serum also contains about 3.3 g/L sodium. Alongside potassium , it helps to maintain acid-base balance, regulates extracellular fluids, and maintains membrane potential.
We humans are at risk of sodium overdose. This may happen when we drink water softened by a salt-based water softener or overconsume kitchen salt. In either case, it may lead to increased blood pressure . Other associated conditions include hyperosmolarity, edema, arteriosclerosis, and an increased risk of infection.
food-grade salt
But that’s not all. We are also at the risk of sod sodium shortages. When this happens, we experience dehydration, decreased growth, muscle paralysis, numbness, and convulsion, among others. The average human body needs about 300 mg sodium chloride per day. This may be slightly higher in people with diarrhea or similar conditions that increase salt requirements.

Salt-based Water Softeners Explained

As the name suggests, salt-based water softeners help to soften hard water. They do this through a process called ion exchange. Here, the hard water passes through a resin bed. During the passage, the water's calcium and magnesium ions (hard ions) are exchanged with the sodium and potassium ions (soft ions) in the resin.
After exchanging all the soft ions for hard ions, the resin bed automatically reproduces the clean hard ions. It does this by using either potassium chloride or sodium chloride (salt). At the end of the regeneration, the resin would have replenished its soft ions storage, which means it is ready to restart the softening process
salt-based water softener

Is Drinking Softened Water Healthy?

What happens during water softening is the exchange of minerals like magnesium and calcium with potassium and sodium ions. This reduces the hardness of water, which is responsible for scaling. The water becomes more suitable for soap and protects plumbing fixtures. But that is the good part. The process also adds extra sodium to the water supply.
People with certain health conditions are not suggested to drink the softened water directly from a salt-based water softener. For example, people with hypertension are on strict sodium intake limits. The slightest rise in sodium levels in their body through water softening can be dangerous.
That is why people on sodium-restricted or low-sodium diets must pay proper attention to these issues. To protect themselves from these hazards, such individuals should adopt other water treatment options, such as installing a reverse osmosis water filtration system.
Click here to learn more about Can You Drink Softened Water .
high blood pressure

Removing Salt in Water via Reverse Osmosis

The operational process of a reverse osmosis system is interesting. Most people only know of a multi-stage filter unit that reduces impurities like chlorine, sodium, and sediments from water. But there is more. Let’s see how and why the system effectively handles unwanted salt water.

Stage 1 – Pre-Filter Sediment Removal

It starts with the pre-filter process, where the system sifts out all large particles before moving into the filtration system. These large particles include sand, dirt, and sediment.

Stage 2 – Carbon Filtration

Once the water enters the filtration system, it undergoes carbon filtering. This is where the chlorine and other organic compounds in tap water are removed. Consequently, the taste improves, and the water becomes odorless. This step also removes harmful chemicals from the water.

Stage 3 – Reverse Osmosis Membrane Filtration

The next step is where the semi-permeable gets to work. The tiny 0.0001-micron pore size of the membrane makes it effective in trapping dissolved salts. At the end of this stage, these salts are separated from the molecules of clean water that are left.

Stage 4 (Optional) -Remineralization

If you already have a reverse osmosis system, consider investing in a remineralization water filter to enhance your filtered water. At this stage, you can re-add the minerals removed to the purified water. The optional mineralization filter can add potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals to the filtered water.

A Dual-System Approach for Safe Drinking Water

You need soft and clean water in your household for two major reasons: to stay healthy and meet your domestic water needs. You can achieve this by adopting a dual-system approach that includes a water softener and a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system.
Under Sink RO systems are known to effectively remove impurities thanks to their semi-permeable membrane. When paired with a water-softening system, you can soften water and treat it to reduce the sodium content. However, for this to work, installation must be flawless.
It is important to install the water softener before the Reverse Osmosis system. This helps to extend the lifespan of the RO water filter. As part of maintenance, it is best to replace the filters regularly and watch out for leaks. A system that effectively purifies and softens your tap water can protect household water much better.

Other Filtration Methods to Remove Salt from Water

Reverse osmosis remains the most effective method of removing sodium, chloride, and other contaminants from water. However, there are a few other ways to purify municipal water and reduce salt content. Let’s look at them.
distilled water


When you distill water, you boil the water until it evaporates, leaving all the impurities behind. The evaporated water turns into vapor, which you collect in another container. Since salt and pure liquid have different boiling points, the salt stays in the boiling chamber.
Distillation is effective for water purification. However, it takes too much time. Purifying a batch of drinking water may take up to five hours. In comparison, a reverse osmosis system does the same in just a few seconds.

Potassium Ion Exchange

The sodium ion exchange is the most common in water softeners. However, there is an uncommon alternative—the potassium-based ion exchange system. This method effectively reduces the amount of salt in drinking or bathing water, which is handy for people on low-sodium diets.

To Round Up

Knowing the role of sodium content in drinking water and how it affects human health is important. It is even more important for people with underlying health conditions like cardiovascular issues or high blood pressure. Having excess sodium in the body can be risky for such people.
Installing a Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration system is the easiest and most effective way for such people to maintain safe sodium levels in their water. The systems can efficiently reduce sodium and other contaminants in the drinking water. We can all stay healthy if we monitor the sodium content in our drinking water and adopt effective ways to maintain it at healthy levels.


Contaminants Detected in  Fruitland Water Special Service District

30  Total Contaminants in Your Water

Water Provider

Fruitland Water Special Service District

Population Affected


Water Source

Ground water
Exceeds Guidelines

Others Detected

See What's in Your Tap Water
Choose Your Water Solutions