What is the Role of Chloride (Cl) in Good Nutrition?


Key Functions of Chloride (Cl)

Best sources of Cl

Who would benefit from Cl supplementation?

How much Cl is usually taken?

What are the side effects of using Cl?

Chloride is a salt consisting of two elements, one of which is chlorine. Cl makes up about 0.15% of the body weight and is found in the fluid outside cells.

There is a high correlation between the sodium and Cl-contents of the diet, and only under unusual circumstances do levels of sodium and Cl vary in the diet independently.

Cl is needed to keep the proper balance of body fluids. It is an essential part of digestive (stomach) juices.

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Key Functions of Cl

Cl, along with potassium and sodium, is an electrolyte. Cl 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.

Like potassium and sodium, Cl generally maintains the body's acid and fluid base.

In the stomach, Cl combines with hydrogen to form hydrochloric acid, which plays an important role in digestion as it assists in making gastric juice.

The danger with Therapeutic Uses for Cl is that its limited use may assist in water retention issues.

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Best sources of Cl

Cl is can be found in table salt or sea salt as sodium chloride. It is also found in many vegetables.

Foods with higher amounts of Cl include seaweed, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, and olives.

lettucecelery olives

Potassium chloride is found in most foods and is usually the main ingredient of salt substitutes.

Sodium and Cl are most often consumed as table salt.

Human milk contains about 420 mg/L and infant formula is now required to contain 55-65 mg/100 kcal and is not to exceed 150 mg/100 Kcal. Undiluted cow's milk contains about 900-1020 mg/L.

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Who would benefit from Cl-supplementation?

Since ordinary table salt is 60% Cl (by weight), a dietary deficiency is very rare.

However, Cl can be lost due to heavy sweating, chronic diarrhea, and vomiting.

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How much Cl is usually taken?

For Cl alone, the Estimated Minimum Requirements per day set by the Food and Nutrition Board are as follows:

Infants and Children

  • 0-6 months = 180 mg;
  • 6 months-11 months = 300 mg;
  • 1 year = 350 mg;
  • 2-5 years = 500 mg;
  • 6-9 years = 600 mg; and

Adolescents and adults,

  • 10 years and older =750 mg.

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What are the side effects of using Cl?

Dehydration is the only known cause of elevated Cl-levels, which can result in vomiting.

Alkalosis, dehydration, potassium loss via the kidneys are other symptoms.

An adequate intake of sodium chloride to sustain losses may result in hypotension.

Selective Cl-deficiency (without sodium deficiency) may result from vomiting.

Deficiency of Cl alone leads to contraction of extra cellular fluid volume and metabolic alkalosis which, in turn, leads to a deficiency of potassium by increasing urinary excretion of potassium.

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