Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Sodium and Chloride

Ann Nutr Metab. 2018;72(1):12-17. doi: 10.1159/000484355. Epub 2017 Dec 12.


Background: In January 2017, the nutrition societies of -Germany, Austria and Switzerland revised the reference values for sodium and chloride intake.

Methods: For adults, the estimated value for sodium intake was derived on the basis of a balance study. The estimated values for children and adolescents were extrapolated from this estimated value considering differences in body mass. For infants aged 0 to under 4 months, an estimated value was set based on the sodium intake via breast milk. From this value the estimated value for infants aged 4 to under 12 months was also derived by extrapolation. The estimated value for lactating women takes into account the fact that the sodium loss via breast milk is compensated through homoeostatic mechanisms. Except for infants, the reference values for chloride intake were derived based on the estimated values for sodium intake.

Results: For adults, pregnant and lactating women, the estimated values for sodium and chloride intake are set at 1,500 and 2,300 mg/day.

Discussion and conclusion: Reference values for sodium and chloride can be derived in terms of estimated values. Considering dietary recommendations for sodium and chloride, it must be taken into account that high intake of sodium chloride (salt) is associated with adverse health effects, for example, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is necessary to lower salt intake in the general population.

Keywords: Chloride; Nutrient intake; Reference value; Sodium.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Austria
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactation
  • Male
  • Policy Making
  • Pregnancy
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances*
  • Reference Values
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / standards*
  • Switzerland


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary