Teen Nearly Dies From Soy Sauce Overdose

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—A  19-year-old nearly died from severe sodium overdose after drinking an entire quart of soy sauce, according to a case study published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Taking on a dare from his friends, the young man did not know massive amounts of sodium chloride are often fatal when consumed. His friends took him to the emergency room after he exhibited seizure-like activity and slipped into a coma due to hypernatremia, a condition resulting from salt imbalance in the body. Doctors quickly used a solution to flush the salt from the teen's system and protect his brain from any permanent effects.

The case study reported the patient's peak serum sodium hit 196 mmol/L, which seems to be the highest documented level for an adult to survive acute sodium ingestion without brain damage.

About 26 hours after the ingestion, the patient came out of the coma but remained confused. His mental status returned to normal after three days in the hospital, and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showed swelling and other abnormalities of the brain. However, he returned home after four days without any neurologic deficits.

While these types of occurrences are rare today, salt ingestion was traditionally used as a suicide method in ancient China.

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