Chloride, along with Sodium, helps to generate the osmotic pressure of the body fluids. The key digestive acid, hydrochloric acid, makes Chloride to form an important constituent of the stomach. It is needed to balance the acids and bases in the body. Depending on the body acid levels, the kidneys excrete or retain the Chloride in or from the body. Also Chloride allows the liver to clear the waste products from the body.
Generally, one can find Chloride in the diet in the salty foods. The normal intake of infants should be about 0.5-1 gram daily and increases to about 1.7-5 grams among the adults. Despite a proper intake of Chloride in the diet, people consume much more salt content in their diet.
As we consume too much salt in our foods, people do not suffer the risk of Chloride deficiency. However it may be caused when the body loses the fluids in the form of excessive sweat, vomiting or diarrhoea. Low amount of Chloride in the body causes loss of strength, balance and appetite.
The illnesses related or caused by lack of Chloride are:
Hyperchloremia: It is a similar effect to severe dehydration, kidney failure, hemodialysis, traumatic brain injury, etc. Its symptoms are weakness, headache, nausea and cardiac arrest.
Hypochloremia: When Sodium and Potassium gets depleted, Hypochloremia occurs. Severe depletion leads to metabolic alkalosis that is characterized by mental confusion, slowed breathing, paralysis and muscle tension or spasm.
Addison’s disease: It is a rare disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce proper amounts of steroid hormones. Its symptoms are fatigue, dizziness, weight loss, headache, sweating, muscle pain, anxiety, sudden drop in the blood pressure, etc.
There is no excess of Chloride in the body as it is similar to the intake of salt in the body. However a high level of Chloride results in fluid retention. Too much Chloride also leads to increase in blood pressure, congestive heart failure, cirrhosis or kidney diseases.
Chloride, along with Potassium, is the main ingredient of the salt substitutes. Foods with higher amounts of Chloride include seaweed granules, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, celery and olives. Good sources of Chloride are found in the foods like celery, kelp, olives, salt, tomatoes, cheese, cocoa, cured meats, legumes, canned food, sauces, salad dressings, etc.