Common Salt is composed primarily of Sodium Chloride. Salt is one of the oldest food seasonings and the taste of salt is one of the most preferred human tastes, and is an essential nutrient for human health. Salt is either mined or produced from the evaporation of brine solutions or sea water. In addition to its wide use for seasoning of food, it has industrial applications. Its major industrial uses are for the production of Chlorine and caustic soda, but it is also used in many other industrial applications, including the manufacture of PVC, other plastics, water conditioning, and production of paper products. Of the total worldwide production, which is in excess of several hundred million tons, only about six percent is used for human consumption. Today, salt has over 14,000 food, pharmaceutical, and industrial applications.
Many different Sodium Compounds are used in processed foods for a variety of uses, from anti-caking agents to texture modifying agents. A few of these compounds include:
- Sodium Alginate*
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Sodium Caseinate
- Sodium Lactate
- Sodium Phosphate*
- Sodium Triphosphate
Everyone knows of Sodium Bicarbonate, better known as baking soda. In 1791, a French chemist was the first to produce Sodium Carbonate. In 1846, John Dwight and Austin Church established the first production facility to produce Sodium Bicarbonate from the chemical reaction of Sodium Carbonate, ammonia and carbon dioxide. Sodium bicarbonate is used in baking as a leavening agent. It is responsible for expansion of the batter and the texture we see in bread and cakes. Sodium Bicarbonate also has a number of medical uses. It is used in antacids as an acid neutralizer to treat indigestion and heartburn. The compound has a number of other medical uses, including the treatment of allergic reactions to plants such as poison ivy and poison oak, to relieve itching.
Many personal hygiene products also contain sodium bicarbonate. In toothpaste, it improves whitening effect and plaque removal. It is used in mouthwash for its anticarie properties. It helps to works as a mechanical cleanser on teeth and neutralizes the production of acid in the mouth. Sodium bicarbonate also has many non-food and medical uses.