Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements
What is chloride? Why do we need it?
Chloride is a compound consisting of two elements, one of
which is always chlorine. Chloride makes up about 0.15% of
a person's body weight and is found in extracellular fluid,
sweat and urine.
Why do we need it?
Chloride is essential for maintaining acid-base, electrolyte
and fluid balance in the body. It also plays an important
role in digestion, because it is a key component of hydrochloric
acid found in the stomach.
How much chloride should I take?
According to the National Academy of Sciences, the recommended
daily allowance (RDA) for chloride is as follows:
- Adult men: 750 milligrams/day
- Adult women: 750 milligrams/day
- Children aged 7-10: 600 milligrams/day
- Infants: between 180-300 milligrams/day
- Pregnant/lactating women: 750 milligrams/day
What are some good sources of chloride?
Table salt is the most common source of chloride; a quarter
teaspoon of salt contains the recommended daily allowance
of chloride. Other good sources include sea salt, seaweed,
soy sauce, olives and rye. Many processed foods also contain
large amounts of chloride.
What can happen if I don't get enough
Chloride deficiency can be caused by fluid loss as a result
of excessive sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. Excessive loss
of chloride can result in alkalosis (abnormally high mineral
content in the bodily fluids), dehydration, and a loss of
potassium in the urine.
What can happen if I take too much?
Excessive levels of chloride (in the form of table salt)
can increase the risk of hypertension in certain individuals.
Increased chloride intake can also cause fluid retention,
but this is primarily caused by the sodium contained in salt.
- Recommended Dietary Allowances,
10th ed. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1989.
- Powers F. The role of chloride in acid-base balance.
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- Mydlik M, et al. Influence of water and sodium diuresis
and furosemide on urinary excretion of vitamin B6, oxalic
acid and vitamin C in chronic renal failure. Miner Electrolyte
Metab Jul-Dec 1999;25(4-6):352-6.
- Sorota S. Insights into the structure, distribution
and function of the cardiac chloride channels. Cardiovasc
Res May 1999;42(2):361-76.
- Inglefield JR, Schwartz-Bloom RD. Fluorescence imaging
of changes in intracellular chloride in living brain slices.
Methods June 1999;18(2):197-203.
- Hansen PB, Jensen BL, Skott O. Chloride regulates afferent
arteriolar contraction in response to depolarization. Hypertension