Sodium and potassium intake and balance in adults consuming self-selected diets

Am J Clin Nutr. 1984 Oct;40(4):786-93. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/40.4.786.


Twenty eight adults, 12 men and 16 women, participated in a 1-yr study designed to assess daily nutrient intake accurately. All subjects lived at home, consumed self-chosen diets, and maintained a detailed daily dietary record throughout the year. During four 7-day balance studies, one in each season of the year, meals, beverages, urine, and feces were analyzed for sodium and potassium content by atomic absorption spectrometry. Total intakes averaged 3.4 g/day for sodium and 2.8 g/day for potassium. The Na:K ratio for all diets analyzed averaged 1.3. Nutrient densities of sodium and potassium were 1.8 and 1.5 g/1000 kcal, respectively. Apparent absorptions of sodium and potassium were 98 and 85%, respectively, and did not change significantly over the wide range of intakes. Average urinary excretions of sodium and potassium were 86 and 77% of total intake, respectively. Mean metabolic balances were positive for sodium, +0.47 g/day, and potassium, +0.28 g/day. The data of this study provide useful information concerning the dietary intakes, excretions, and balances of sodium and potassium for adults based on analytic determination.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feces / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Potassium / administration & dosage*
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Potassium / urine
  • Sodium / administration & dosage*
  • Sodium / metabolism
  • Sodium / urine
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance*


  • Sodium
  • Potassium