An excess of sodium can have harmful effects on the body, however, the body needs a certain amount of sodium to function properly. The recommended amount of sodium helps maintain the body's fluid balance, helps transmit nerve impulses and manages muscle contractions.
The kidneys have a natural function that balances sodium stored inside the body. For optimal health, daily sodium intake ranges between 1,500 milligrams and 2,300 milligrams; however, most Americans get 3,400 milligrams, which is more than suggested. High sodium intake can lead to kidney failure, cirrhosis and heart failure. When the body’s sodium level is low, the kidneys retain sodium. When the body’s sodium level is high, the kidneys expel the excess sodium in urine.