Known to most people in the form of table salt, sodium is one of the minerals that the body needs in relatively large quantities.
A certain intake of sodium is considered essential to life. The mineral is a vital component of all bodily fluids, including blood and sweat. Often working in combination with other minerals such as potassium, sodium helps to manage the distribution and pH balance of these fluids inside the body and plays an important role in blood pressure regulation.
Sodium is referred to as an electrolyte because it possesses a mild electrical charge when dissolved in bodily fluids. Due to this charge, sufficient amounts of the mineral are necessary for the normal functioning of nerve transmissions and muscle contractions.
Sodium also helps the body to retain water and prevent dehydration, and may have some activity as an antibacterial.