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- Why chloride is good for you
- Important chloride facts
- Groups at risk of chloride deficiency
- Symptoms of chloride deficiency
- Chloride and health
- Chloride in foods
- Chloride recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Chloride works best with
- Overdosage, toxicity and cautions for chloride
Chloride, along with potassium and sodium, is an electrolyte. An electrolyte is a mineral that dissolves in water and carries an electrical charge. Since the body is mostly made up of water, electrolytes are found everywhere in the body – inside the cells, in the spaces between cells, in the blood, in lymph glands and everywhere else. Chloride has a negative charge (while potassium and sodium both have a positive charge). Because electrolytes have electrical charges, they can move easily back and forth through cell membranes. This is important because as they move into a cell, they carry other nutrients in with them and as they move out of it, they carry out waste products and excess water.
Chloride in the diet works with potassium and sodium, the two electrolytes, to control the flow of fluid in blood vessels and tissues, as well as regulating acidity in the body, and also forms part of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
To keep body fluid levels in balance, your cells need to have a lot of potassium inside them and a lot of sodium in the fluids outside them. To keep the balance, sodium and potassium constantly move back and forth through the cell membranes.
- Chloride (together with potassium and sodium) work together to keep the amount of water in the cells and around them (ie the blood) at the right levels
- Chloride helps to alleviate fluid retention
- Chloride helps to balance sodium, blood pH and assist in good kidney function
- Chloride helps to control the flow of fluid in blood vessels and tissues
- Chloride is required to form part of hydrochloric acid (gastric juices required to digest food) in the stomach
Generally speaking, most people will not be at a risk for chloride deficiency as we eat too much salt in our foods anyway and salt is composed of sodium and chloride.
It is only in illness/infection that people become deficient, not just in chloride, but in all the electrolytes.
- People that have been vomiting or have severe diarrhoea – will be eliminating most of the chloride in the body and will need to restore the electrolyte balance. A medical professional will usually prescribe an over-the-counter electrolyte remedy for to take. Fluid loss must be replaced by drinking a lot of water. It is vital for small children and babies to replace the water and electrolytes lost from vomiting and diarrhoea, as it can be a serious problem if they are not
People in these groups at risk of deficiency should talk to a medical professional about chloride supplements BEFORE taking them.
- Severe diarrhoea and/or vomiting - chloride, one of the electrolytes usually becomes deficit during severe diarrhoea, so supplementation is required (in the form of a electrolyte remedy)
People who wish to take a chloride supplement should talk to a medical professional BEFORE taking it.
Good sources of chloride are:
- Kelp (seaweed)
- Cured meats
- Table salt
- Canned food
- Salad Dressings
|TOLERABLE UPPER LIMIT||lifestage||age||amounT|
|Toxic Levels||None given|
The tolerable upper limits should only be taken for short periods and only under medical supervision.
* The tolerable upper limit for chloride for infants aged 0-12 months has not yet been determined due to a lack of data about the adverse effects in this age group. The only source of calcium intake should be from food (breast milk and/or baby formula).
- USDA National Nutrient Database - provides nutrient values for foods (accessed 5 January 2005)
- Osiecki, H. The Nutrient Bible. Bio-Concepts Publishing QLD, 2002
- Whitney EN, Cataldo DB, Rolfes SR. Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, 6th Edition. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2002