sodiumSodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It belongs to the alkali metal group of elements and is highly reactive, especially when exposed to water or air. Sodium is a soft, silvery-white metal that is relatively abundant in nature.


  1. Physical Properties: Sodium has a low melting point of 97.8 degrees Celsius (208 degrees Fahrenheit) and a boiling point of 883 degrees Celsius (1,621 degrees Fahrenheit). It is a good conductor of electricity and heat. Sodium is quite malleable and can be easily cut with a knife.
  2. Occurrence: Sodium is the sixth most abundant element on Earth and is widely distributed in various minerals and compounds. It is found in large deposits of sodium chloride (common salt) and other minerals like halite, natron, and soda ash.
  3. Reactivity: Sodium is highly reactive and reacts vigorously with water, releasing hydrogen gas and forming sodium hydroxide. It also reacts with oxygen in the air, resulting in the formation of sodium oxide. Due to its reactivity, sodium is stored in oil or inert atmospheres to prevent its reaction with moisture or oxygen.
  4. Uses: Sodium has numerous industrial and biological applications. Some common uses of sodium include:
    • Sodium chloride (table salt) is widely used as a seasoning and preservative in food.
    • Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) is a strong base used in manufacturing paper, textiles, detergents, and various chemicals.
    • Sodium carbonate (soda ash) is utilized in the production of glass, soaps, and detergents.
    • Sodium compounds are employed in water treatment to soften water and remove impurities.
    • Sodium is used in the production of certain metals, such as titanium and zirconium, through the reduction of their compounds.
  5. Sodium in Biology: Sodium is an essential mineral for many living organisms. It plays a vital role in various biological processes, including nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and fluid balance. Sodium ions (Na+) are critical for maintaining proper cellular function.
  6. Dietary Considerations: While sodium is necessary for the body, excessive consumption can have negative health effects. High sodium intake is associated with increased blood pressure and an elevated risk of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is important to consume sodium in moderation and be mindful of sodium levels in processed and packaged foods.

Impact on health:

  1. Electrolyte Balance: Sodium is one of the major electrolytes in the body. It works together with other electrolytes like potassium, chloride, and calcium to maintain the balance of fluids inside and outside cells. This balance is essential for proper hydration, nerve function, and muscle contraction.
  2. Blood Pressure: High sodium intake has been linked to increased blood pressure in some individuals. Excess sodium can cause the body to retain water, leading to higher blood volume and increased pressure on the arterial walls. This can strain the cardiovascular system and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, especially in individuals with hypertension or a family history of these conditions.
  3. Dietary Guidelines: The recommended daily intake of sodium varies depending on age, sex, and health conditions. In general, most health organizations recommend limiting sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day for adults. For individuals with hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease, the recommended limit is often lower, typically around 1,500 mg per day.
  4. Food Sources: Sodium is naturally present in many foods, especially in processed and packaged products. Common high-sodium foods include processed meats, canned soups, fast food, snacks, and condiments. It’s important to read food labels and choose low-sodium or sodium-free alternatives whenever possible.
  5. Balancing Sodium Intake: To maintain a healthy balance, it is recommended to consume a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. These foods are generally lower in sodium and higher in other beneficial nutrients.
  6. Individual Sensitivity: It’s worth noting that while some individuals are more sensitive to the effects of sodium on blood pressure, others may be less affected. Factors such as genetics, overall diet, and individual health conditions can influence an individual’s response to sodium intake.
  7. Moderation and Balance: The key to a healthy sodium intake is moderation and balance. It’s important to be mindful of the sodium content in the foods you consume and make conscious choices to limit high-sodium options. Additionally, incorporating other healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing stress, can also contribute to overall cardiovascular health.

It’s worth noting that while sodium is an important element, this information provides a general overview, and there are more specific or detailed aspects.

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