Everything You Need to Know About Chloride
Chloride is found in chemicals and substances in the body. It is needed to keep the body fluids in proper balance. Many vegetables contain chloride.
What is Chloride?
Chloride is an electrolyte. It forms when the halogen chlorine gains an electron or a compound containing chlorine is dissolved in water or some other polar solvent. Ions of chloride are negatively charged and work with other electrolytes such as bicarbonate, sodium, and potassium. The chloride ion is larger than the chlorine atom.
Chloride is colorless and diamagnetic. Chloride is a structural component in some proteins and is present in the enzyme, amylase. In sea salt and table salt, the chloride is sodium chloride. Chloride is a component of salt used in cooking and some foods. It is often the main ingredient in salt substitute products.
Uses in the Body
- It is useful in regulating the fluid amount in the body and maintaining the pH balance of acids and bases.
- The cells in the stomach lining need chloride to make the component of digestive juices, hydrochloric acid.
- The chloride concentration in the blood is kidney regulated.
- Chloride is absorbed by the body when food is digested and leaves in urine.
- Chloride is needed in the transmission of nerve impulses.
Daily Recommended Intake
Sodium and chloride are found together in most foods and termed as salt. The adequate intake for chloride is set as that equivalent to sodium because nearly all dietary chloride comes with added sodium. Adequate intake for younger adults is 2.3 g, reached by an intake of 3.8 g of sodium chloride. Older adults have an AI of 2.0 g of chloride, from a 3.2 g intake of sodium chloride; and the elderly AI is 1.8 g of chloride from an intake of 2.9 g of sodium chloride.
The term ‘Adequate Intake’ is used when there is not enough scientific evidence from research to develop a ‘Recommended Daily Allowance,’ or RDA. The level is set to be what is thought to be sufficient nutrition. That is the case with chloride.
The National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine, Health and Medication Division determined the adequate chloride intake based on sex and age. The chloride need for males and females are similar but differ in age. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding require more chloride. The AI is the amount believed to cover the needs of the individuals in each group.
Adequate Intake Levels
- Zero to six months 0.18 g per day
- Seven to 12 months 0.57 g per day
- One to three years 1.5 g per day
- Four to eight years 1.9 g per day
- Nine to 13 years 2.3 g per day
Adolescents and Adults
- Male and Female 14 to 50 years 2.3 g per day
- Male and Female 51 to 70 years 2.0 g per day
- Male and Female Over 70 years 1.8 g per day
- All Pregnant and Lactating Females 2.3 g per day
Chloride is abundant in foods, For that reason chloride deficiency is rare. Sea salt and table salt are both 40 percent chloride by volume. Every time salt is added to food or food made with salt is eaten, chloride is consumed.
Health Benefits of Chloride
Chloride is not a well-known mineral. Little has been written about chloride in health publications. It is vital to general health. The body performs best at a neutral pH level. Chloride achieves the neutrality by lowering the levels of alkaline and acid.
Improves Physical Health
Several features for physical health enhancement are offered by chloride in a dynamic manner. Optimal electrolyte balance is vital for physical fitness acceleration. Alkaline levels need to be controlled because they tend to lower stamina levels, boost physical discomfort, and obstruct systematic muscle functionality. Chloride acts as a neutralizing agent that balances alkaline and electrolyte levels to improve physical health.
When food is broken down to fluid, chloride enters the intestines to ensure better metabolism. Chloride also assists the liver cleansing process. It helps the liver effectively remove waste products.
Chloride appears in the stomach as hydrochloric acid. It helps in digesting food effectively by breaking food products down to a form that the small intestines can absorb easily. Chloride strengthens the overall digestive system.
Aids the Nervous System
With potassium and sodium, chloride aids in the electrical impulse transportation throughout the body. The movement of negatively charged chloride propagates nervous electrical potential.
Though rare, a chloride deficiency is a life-threatening condition called alkalosis. The condition occurs when the blood becomes overly alkaline. Excessive loss of sodium, and consequently chloride, can occur from activities such as heavy sweating during exercise and prolonged diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms include:
- Profound lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle weakness
Hypochloremia results from an electrolyte imbalance caused by abnormal depletion of chloride ions in the blood. Symptoms are:
- Dehydration or excess fluid loss
- Low levels of chloride in the blood
- Muscle spasticity
- Muscle weakness
- Shallow, depressed breathing
- High fever
- Hyponatremia (a condition occurring when the sodium level in blood is low)
- Tetany (a condition caused by low calcium in the blood characterized by spasms of the feet, hands, and voice box; cramps; and overactive neurological reflexes)
Infants, an inadvertently fed formula that is chloride deficient, may experience weakness, anorexia, and failure to thrive in the first year of life.
Someone who tests low for chloride may live in an area of well-drained soil. Chloride is a mobile nutrient that can easily be leached from the soil profile. Areas that test high for potash with little potash muriate applied are common areas of chloride deficiency.
Chloride is found in sea salt, table salt, and condiments such as ketchup, soy sauce, and salt substitutes. It can be found in many vegetables such as seaweed, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery. Chloride is found in grains such as rye and processed foods. Nearly every category on the food charts has foods that contain chloride. Some of the highest content foods from each category are listed below.
Biscuits, Cakes, Cereal, Desserts, Pasta (per 100 grams)
|Brown Roll||1030 mg|
|Wheat Biscuit||980 mg|
|One Slice WhiteBread||890 mg|
|One Slice Brown Bread||880 mg|
|Flaky Pastry||740 mg|
|Pizza with Cheese and Tomato Sauce||570 mg|
|Plain Cake||500 mg|
Egg and Cheese Dishes (per 100 grams)
|Scrambled Eggs||1580 mg|
|Quiche Lorraine||970 mg|
|Cheese Souffle||670 mg|
|Macaroni Cheese||480 mg|
|Cauliflower Cheese||410 mg|
Fish and Other Seafood (per 100 grams)
|Boiled Prawns||2550 mg|
|Canned Salmon||880 mg|
|Canned Crab||830 mg|
|Canned Sardines||830 mg|
|Raw Oysters||820 mg|
|Fried Fish Cakes||730 mg|
|Tuna, Canned in Oil||690 mg|
|Boiled Crab||570 mg|
Meat and Meat Products (per 100 grams)
|Grilled Bacon||2940 mg|
|Fried Bacon||2910 mg|
|Steak and Kidney Pie||1720 mg|
|Canned Ham||1670 mg|
|Beef Sausage||1470 mg|
|Fried Pork||1440 mg|
|Canned Corned Beef||1430 mg|
|Grilled Pork||1340 mg|
Milk and Milk Products (per 100 grams)
|Cheddar Cheese||1060 mg|
|Dried Skim Milk||1110 mg|
|Processed Cheese||1020 mg|
|Parmesan Cheese||1010 mg|
|Dried Whole Milk||810 mg|
|Cheese Spread||760 mg|
|Cottage Cheese||670 mg|
|Cream Cheese||480 mg|
Condiments (per 100 grams)
|Table Salt||59900 mg|
|Sweet Pickles||2600 mg|
|Mustard Pickles||1700 mg|
|French Dressing||1440 mg|
|Tomato Sauce||560 mg|
Vegetables (per 100 grams)
|Mung Beans||1260 mg|
|Potato Crisps||890 mg|
|Beans in Tomato Sauce||800 mg|
|Processed Peas||510 mg|
|Canned Sweet Corn||460 mg|
|Canned Potatoes||440 mg|
Dangers And Side Effects
An electrolyte imbalance due to high levels of chloride in the blood can cause hyperchloremia. Many people notice no symptoms of hyperchloremia unless the chloride level in the blood is very high. Dehydration or other forms of fluid loss such as vomiting or diarrhea occur.
High chloride content can cause diabetes with resulting poor control of blood sugar levels. A diabetic coma is possible. Kidney disorders or kidney failure can result. Drugs such as diuretics, estrogens, corticosteroids, and androgens can cause hyperchloremia.
A doctor needs to be called if:
- Nausea interferes with the ability to eat
- Vomiting occurs four to five times in a 24-hour period
- Four to six episodes of diarrhea occur in a 24-hour period
- Severe constipation lasts for two to three days
- Combined muscle twitching, poor appetite, increased urination, and irritability
- Excessive sleepiness and confusion
Is It Recommended to Take a Chloride Supplement?
Common table salt is the most abundant chloride source. Individuals thinking about taking chloride supplements should speak with a physician. As seen above, high chloride levels in the blood could result in dangerous fluid retention or other unpleasant effects. Many physicians refer patients to food sources such as lettuce, seaweed-based products, and rye as an alternative.
Active adults eating a healthy diet without salt and who suffer no illnesses with profuse diarrhea or vomiting may warrant the addition of physician recommended chloride supplements. Replacement of chloride is necessary to maintain metabolic function. Most negative health effects of chloride are associated with the accompaniment of potassium or sodium. The two electrolytes are often attached to chloride.
The material contained in this article is solely for general health information. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, or the diagnosis or treatment of any problem or condition. Questions regarding health should be addressed by a physician or other healthcare provider.