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Chloride

What is Chloride?

The human body is primarily made up of water and cells that need to constantly receive nutrients in order to sustain life. Minerals that are found in the body and transport necessary nutrients as well as a positive or negative charge are referred to as electrolytes. Chloride is an electrolyte mineral that dissolves in water and carries a negative charge. Because Chloride dissolves in water, it is found around each and every cell in the human body. Chloride moves easily through cell membranes and delivers nutrients, than removes excess waste upon exiting.

What does Chloride do?

Chloride plays a major role in balancing body cells as well as digestion. As a dietary element, chloride works well alongside potassium and sodium, both of which have positive charges and compliment chloride’s negative charge. The combination of these three electrolytes helps deliver needed nutrients to cells throughout the body and aides in balancing the water levels surrounding cells as well which is important for their proper functioning.

Chloride even helps in maintaining proper kidney function and assists in keeping fluid flow through tissues and blood vessels efficient. Just as importantly, chloride is a necessary ingredient in the body’s creation of hydrochloric acid which is used to digest food in the stomach.

Where is Chloride found?

Noted as number seventeen on the atomic table, chloride is never found freely in nature because it readily combines with other elements. That being said, chloride is a processed element that is used in many industrial products and processes. Some of these include: textiles, paper, swimming pool treatments, drinking water purifier, antiseptics and paints.

As a dietary aide, the majority of chloride that is found in the human body is consumed through salts that are found in a normal diet. While chloride that is consumed is absorbed by the intestines, excess chloride leaves the body in urine.

What happens when someone has a Chloride deficiency?

Because our modern diets are heavily saturated in salts, it’s very rare for individuals to suffer from chloride deficiencies. In fact, most people consume more salt than necessary on a daily basis and therefore, have more chloride in their systems than they need to provide sufficient cell balance.

In the majority of cases, it is severe illness that leads to chloride deficiencies. Individuals who are vomiting regularly will lose a large amount of fluid and therefore, chloride. In cases like these, it may be necessary for a doctor to recommend a chloride supplement, or alter a diet to include chloride-rich products.

Helpful food sources, supplements and additional benefits of Chloride

The most common and abundant source of chloride is found in the form of common table salt. Other food sources include olives, celery, kelp and tomatoes. It is recommended that individuals looking to take chloride supplements speak with a physician beforehand as high levels of chloride in the body could potentially result in dangerous fluid retention. For this reason, many physicians will refer patients to alternative food sources such as rye, seaweed-based products and lettuce.

Chloride – AIs (Adequate Intakes)

Infants
0-6 months
7-12 months
Grams per Day
0.18
0.57
Children
1-3 years
4-8 years
-
1.5
1.9
Males
9-13 years
14-18 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
50-70 years
> 70 years
-
2.3
2.3
2.3
2.3
2.0
1.8
Females
9-13 years
14-18 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
50-70 years
> 70 years
-
2.3
2.3
2.3
2.3
2.0
1.8
Pregnancy
< 19 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
-
2.3
2.3
2.3
Lactation
< 19 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
-
2.3
2.3
2.3

Sources:

http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele017.html

http://www.vitalhealthzone.com/nutrition/minerals/chloride.html

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/chloride-cl

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002417.htm

USDA Dietary Reference Intakes