Why all the salt?
Due to the dysfunction of sodium chloride channels, CF patients lose more salt in their sweat then people without CF. This puts them at risk for hyponatremia if they do not adequately supplement these losses through their diet.
- Hyponatremia can interfere with growth, cause nausea or headaches, decrease appetite, cause stomach pain or weakness.
It is recommended that CF patients eat salty foods as well as add table salt to foods. They should be more conscious of this in hot or humid weather, if they have a fever, and during exercise.
- Infants 0-6 months: 1/8th tsp per day (fast food salt packet), can divide up
- Infants 6-12 months: 1/4th tsp per day (2 fast food salt packets), can divide up
- Adolescents and adults: no specific recommendation other than to add to food as often as possible. It is estimated that moderately active adults need ~6000mg sodium per day, but more studies need to be done on this subject.