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Sodium in effervescent tablets: unnecessary danger to the heart

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Sodium in effervescent tablets: unnecessary danger to the heart

Ensures fizzing. Effervescent tablets dissolve particularly well in water thanks to the sodium additive. © Getty Images

A current analysis shows that not only foods, but also effervescent tablets can contain high amounts of sodium. Cardiovascular patients should resort to alternatives.

72 medicinal and nutritional supplements analyzed

Sodium occurs naturally in almost all foods or is added to food together with chloride as table salt. In effervescent tablets such as painkillers or dietary supplements, the substance ensures that the tablets dissolve in water in a fizzy manner.

Researchers at Saarland University Hospital now determined the sodium content of a total of 72 such soluble substances – and detected very high amounts in some cases. This is particularly a problem for heart patients.

Many people consume more salt than recommended

Everyone needs sodium to regulate fluid balance and blood pressure. But high amounts pose risks: If we consume too much sodium, our blood pressure rises and thus the risk of cardiovascular disease. Many people exceed the daily limit of 2,000 milligrams of sodium recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), especially by salting food.

Highest levels in aspirin, Gittalun and fit + vital

The Saarland research team analyzed 39 vitamin, mineral, calcium and magnesium effervescent tablets, as well as 33 over-the-counter, pharmacy-only pain, cough and cold medicines as well as calcium preparations that are available as effervescent tablets.

The researchers found 52 to 575 milligrams of sodium in the tablets. Front runners: Aspirin for migraines, fit + vital Vitamin C 1000 and the sleep aid Gittalun. Just one tablet of these takes up a quarter of the WHO daily limit. Anyone who then eats high-salt foods such as bread, sausage, cheese and finished products and adds a lot of salt to their meal out of habit will quickly exceed their daily limit.

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Keeping blood pressure under control: This can help

Anyone who measures themselves has an advantage. Reliable blood pressure monitors are suitable for monitoring at home.

Do you need to take antihypertensive medication? Our large antihypertensive drug test lists important active ingredients and preparations that experts recommend.

Salz­arm essen? Low-sodium salts help with this. We examined some for our salt test.

It is better to use effervescent tablet alternatives

Cardiovascular patients are better off taking effervescent tablets with low sodium content. However, these are not easy to find: the sodium content only has to be stated on products sold in pharmacies, but not on products from drugstores and supermarkets.

Tipp: It is better to switch to other dosage forms such as juices, powders, solutions or tablets. You can find alternatives to effervescent tablets, for example, in our test of headache relievers, cold remedies and sleeping pills as well as in the test of dietary supplements for vegetarians and vegans.

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