The binding of Na+ to aspartic acid (Asp), glutamic acid (Glu), asparagine (Asn), and glutamine (Gln) is examined in detail by studying the collision-induced dissociation (CID) of the four sodiated amino acid complexes with Xe using a guided ion beam tandem mass spectrometer (GIBMS). Analysis of the energy-dependent CID cross sections provides 0 K sodium cation affinities for the complexes after accounting for unimolecular decay rates, internal energy of the reactant ions, and multiple ion-molecule collisions. Quantum chemical calculations for a number of geometric conformations of each Na+(L) complex are determined at the B3LYP/6-311+G(d,p) level with single-point energies calculated at MP2(full), B3LYP, and B3P86 levels using a 6-311+G(2d,2p) basis set. This coordinated examination of both experimental work and quantum chemical calculations allows the energetic contributions of individual functionalities as well as steric influences of relative chain lengths to be thoroughly explored. Na+ binding affinities for the amide complexes are systematically stronger than those for the acid complexes by 14 +/- 1 kJ/mol, which is attributed to an inductive effect of the OH group in the carboxylic acid side chain. Additionally, the Na+ binding affinity for the longer-chain amino acids (Glx) is enhanced by 4 +/- 1 kJ/mol compared to the shorter-chain Asx because steric effects are reduced.