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IMPORTANCE OF SALT IN DIGESTION AND ABSORPTION OF NUTRIENTS
Jerry Spears, Ph.D.
North Carolina State University
In the late 1950’s Schwartz and Sodium and chloride are essential for numerous processes in the body including the regulation of osmotic pressure and acid- base balance. Both sodium and chloride also play important roles in the digestion and absorption of several nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract. Absorption of glucose and most amino acids from the small intestine requires an adequate supply of sodium. In cattle, magnesium absorption from the rumen is dependent on sodium. Chloride is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach of simple stomach animals and the abomasum of ruminants. Hydrochloric acid is required for the digestion and absorption of many nutrients. Most feeds are deficient in sodium. Salt is the cheapest and most common source of sodium and chloride in animal diets. A low intake of salt can reduce nutrient absorption resulting in reduced growth and efficiency in animals.