Some children with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia can be salt losers.
A deficiency of salt may cause tiredness, pallor, poor appetite, dehydration and collapse.

Extra salt is needed, especially during hot weather, exercise & sickness.
Salt is made of two elements: sodium and chloride.  In foods, salt can be called sodium chloride, salt, or just sodium.



Babies and small children at least 2 grams (2000mg) per day, but the dose may vary.  Your Endocrinologist will advise you on how much your child will need.

Salt solutions can be made by hospital pharmacies for small babies to ensure correct dose are given.

Suggestions for taking extra salt

  • Use level metric teaspoons to measure the salt ( ¼ , ½ , & 1 teaspoons). You can usually buy these in a pack in supermarkets and homewares stores.
  • Measure out the salt at the beginning of the day & spread over the day’s meals
  • The following provide similar amounts of sodium (400-600mg):
  1. ¼ teaspoon salt
  2. 1 salt tablet
  3.  restaurant packet of salt


  • Breast fed babies :          Add salt to fruit gel or puree fruit
  • Bottle fed babies  :          Add salt to formula when preparing days supply
  • Toddlers & children :      Measure out the daily amount of salt into

a container or own salt shaker & divide between meals


Add high salt ingredients to your meals

Healthy eating is still important for your child with CAH, and for the rest of the family.
The following foods each contain 400-600mg of sodium (equivalent to ¼ teaspoon of salt) and can easily be added to your child’s serve of a family meal.

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Ingredient Ways to add this to your meals
Tomato sauce (2tablespoons) or BBQ sauce (3 tablespoons)
  • Serve with meat and vegetables
  • Add to sandwiches
Soy sauce (1 teaspoon)
  • Add to sushi
  • Add to rice, noodles, vegetables
Asian saucesFish sauce (1 teaspoons)Oyster sauce (2 teaspoons)Hoisin sauce (1 tablespoon)
  • Use in stir-fries
  • Use to make Asian-style salad dressings
  • Add to cooked vegetables
  • Use to marinate meat, fish, chicken
VegemiteTM (2 teaspoons)
  • Spread on bread, crackers
Mayonnaise (3 tablespoons)
  • Add to sandwiches
  • Serve with salads e.g. coleslaw
Olives (10 medium olives)
  • Add to salads
  • Slice and add to sandwiches
  • Add to pizzas and pasta dishes
  • Add to scrambled eggs and omelettes
  • Serve on their own as a snack
Stock ( ½ stock cube)
  • Cook rice in stock rather than water


Choose foods higher in salt

There are foods within each of the food groups that are higher in salt.  Choosing these will mean your child receiving the vitamins and minerals they need, as well as the salt they need.  Serving sizes  (if listed) provide the equivalent to ¼ teaspoon of salt (400-600mg).

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Food Group Higher salt options Ways to add extra salt
Vegetables Canned vegetablesPickled vegetables e.g. gherkins
  • Add salt or sauces listed above to cooked vegetables
  • Add salad dressing to salads
  • Use stock for vegetable soups
Fruit Tomato juice (150ml)
  • Sprinkle with salt
Dairy foods Cheese* (1 ½  slices processed cheese, 1 ½ tablespoons cheese spread0
Meats and alternatives 1 rasher of bacon*1 slice ham*Baked beans ( ½ cup)Tuna canned in brine (small can)
  • Marinate meat, chicken and fish in soy or other sauce
  • Add salt before serving
Breads and cereals 1 round crumpet2-minute noodles
  • Cook rice and cous cous in stock
  • Add salt to water when boiling pasta
  • Choose crackers with salt or flavouring (e.g flavoured rice cakes or rice crackers)
  • Add mayonnaise, or pickles to sandwiches
Extra foods (eat sometimes or in small amounts) 50g potato crisps, or TwistiesTM1 ‘Cup-of soup’½ cheese and bacon roll


*Choose reduced fat options where possible. Your dietitian will discuss whether this is appropriate depending on your child’s age and growth.



Most foods will have a Nutrition Panel, which will indicate the amount of salt per serving size or per 100g.  Choose the amount per serving size as this is usually the amount to be eaten.

On the food label, salt is listed as SODIUM.  This is measured in milligrams (mg).


¼ teaspoon salt  =  600mg sodium

For example:

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The sodium in this food is about the same as in ¼ teaspoon of salt.

Endocrine Dietitian , Sydney Children’s Hospital