Sodium is one of the most talked and used elements.
It is not readily available in molecular form or elemental form.
But is available in plenty as various compounds.
It is widely used in household, industries and also research labs
As an ion Na+, it is present in all the animals and plants.
Various compounds of sodium and their uses in daily life
1. Sodium salts: Sodium salts are widely used in everyday life. Most of the drugs we use for disease treatment are some form of sodium salt.
Example: An antibiotics cefixime is available as its sodium salt i.e. cefixime sodium.
This drug is converted into a salt of sodium in the pharmaceutical industry to enhance its solubility and stability on storage.
Oral rehydration salts: ORS therapy is recommended by WHO to treat dehydration. One feels weak due to acute diarrhea, excess sweating, etc. This ORS salt consists of sodium chloride along with other ingredients. When taken with water, this ORS therapy limits the chances of death, especially in children and old age people.
Taste In food: Sodium chloride is the common chemical used as table salt. It is used in everyday life for cooking the food. It imparts salty taste which cannot be substituted by any other substance.
It is widely sold in powder form and also as coarse granules. No meal can be tasty without its inclusion in it. Also, its addition in food gives strength to the body as it is an essential ion. It plays a vital role in nerve conduction, cell membrane transport, retains body water, etc. Hence, if you limit your salt intake, suddenly you could feel weaker.
However, taking it in high quantities is harmful to those with high blood pressure.
2. In poison treatment
Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCo3) is another compound containing sodium. It is widely used in different ways.
Poison treatment in the Medical emergency: Sodium bicarbonate is used in case of poisoning due to salicylates and other acidic drugs. It helps to eliminate acidic poisons from the body through urine. Here, sodium bicarbonate is given in bolus by the intravenous route. This alkalinizes the blood and retains an acidic drug in the blood compartment and expels it in urine.
As an antacid: Sodium bicarbonate is alkaline. It used as a systemic antacid to relieve gastric acidity.
It is a good home remedy for stomach ache and acidity. A tablespoon full of it is mixed in warm water along with sugar. This solution when consumed gives immediate relief from acidity. Hence this has been a time-tested household remedy for acidity. It liberated carbon-dioxide gas in the stomach and helped in the expulsion of gases from the stomach. So bloated stomach is relieved. Besides, its alkaline nature reacts with the excess hydrochloric acid in the stomach and neutralizes it to give relief from acidic pain.
For baking of food: It is also called “baking soda” in regular life.
It is added to impart fluffiness in the food prepared. It is also part of a few anti-acid preparations used in the treatment of gastric acidity.
3. For chemical analysis:
Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) is a chemical widely used as an alkaline reagent in labs. It is a standard alkali and is used to determine the strength of acids used for acid-base titrations (neutralization titrations).
4. In soap making: Sodium hydroxide is used in making soaps. It is help in saponification of fatty acids during the process.
It is also called caustic soda due to its ability to induce skin burns when the solid crystal is held in hand. It is also highly hygroscopic. This means it absorbs water from the atmosphere. When placed on hands, it absorbs moisture from skin causing irritation and burns.
5. Washing soda:
Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3) in common terms, is called washing soda. This sodium carbonate is mildly basic and help to generate foam. As the name indicates, this was used for washing clothes by washermen in the past. It is still used as washing soda in some remote places,.
6. Food preservation:
In making wine: Sodium Bisulfite (NaHso3) is a sodium compound used as food additive especially in the making of wines. This Sodium bisulfite releases sulfur dioxide gas which kills yeast and other bacteria in wines. It is also used in pipelines and other metallic surface made of iron to prevent corrosion.
7. Cyanide poisoning treatment: Cyanide poisoning is treated by using antidote with a combination of vitamin-B12, sodium nitrite and sodium thiosulfate.
8. Sodium metabisulphite (NaS2O5): This is used as a food additive to prevent oxidation and also as a preservative.
9. Pest control in agriculture: Sodium azide is used in pest control in farming. This sodium azide is also used in automobile crash air bags.
Besides this, sodium is made part of many chemical reagents in labs. It is used in the detection of chlorine in organic compounds (lassaigns test).
It is also used by plants after taking it up from soil and water. This sodium in plants helps in water movement and maintain osmotic pressure. In short, it helps in the maintenance of water balance within the plant body.
Due to its direct relationship with water, it is advised to consume less sodium related substance in those who suffer from hypertension. This sodium helps retain water in the body and raises blood volume. So this raised volume aids high blood pressure. To minimize the blood pressure, this sodium is expelled by drugs to lower water content and thereby blood volume.