Chloride is better known as part of the double-act “sodium-chloride” otherwise known as table salt. It’s not a mineral you’ll read much about in the health magazines but it is still important to your health nonetheless.
Chloride is a type of electrolyte which works in conjunction with sodium and potassium. This particular electrolyte is found mainly in the body fluids surrounding cells. It works with the other members of the electrolyte family to help control fluids within the body and maintain electrolyte balance.
Because our bodies prefer to be pH neutral, chloride helps maintain this by reducing acid levels. Chlorides act as neutralizing agents and their work helps to bring the acid/alkaline level back into balance.
Within the stomach, you’ll find that chloride appears in the form of hydrochloric acid. In order for your body to effectively digest food, hydrochloric acid helps break the food down so that it can be absorbed by the small intestines.
In the liver, chloride may also help in the process of removing waste.
Sources of Chloride
You’ll find chloride in many processed foods such as ketchup, French fries, canned meats, canned vegetables and olives. Chloride is plentiful in processed foods because of the high levels of preservatives needed to keep these foods fresh.
Here in the UK there’s been a lot of bad press about salt. There’s been lot of TV ad campaigns encouraging us to reduce our salt intake because most people consume too much. However our bodies do require chloride and it’s suggested we take 750 mg/day.
Because of the bad press salt has many people don’t realize that salt is required by our bodies, so instead of reducing salt intake they cut it out all together. This is what my boyfriend’s mother did and ended up in hospital due to weakness.
Low blood pressure and a general feeling of weakness are two symptoms of a chloride deficiency. When chloride levels drop the body usually experiences a simultaneous loss of potassium via the urine. A condition known as alkalosis can develop if acid levels in the body drop too low. This is a dangerous condition that causes the blood pH to become elevated.
If your body is not getting enough chloride and potassium you develop hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis and its symptoms cause the affected person to lose the ability to control muscle function. This in turn causes problems with breathing and swallowing, and if not addressed, may lead to death. Learning about health is important, especially if you are wanting to build muscle quickly.
If you have suffered serious bouts of diarrhoea, vomiting, excessive use of diuretics, or excessive fluid loss due to sweat then this can create a deficiency of the mineral. Many athletes take supplements of salt because drinking more water that is lost in sweat can dilute the salt within the body. Also when you exercise salt is excreted through your sweat so it’s important that it’s replaced.