The chemical ion chloride, formed when the halogen element Chlorine (Cl) gains an electron, is a very important constituent of a man’s diet. Chlorides, mostly ingested in the form of chloride salts, are instrumental in maintaining the fluid balance in the body. It is also a key ingredient of the stomach juices that helps in the digestion process. A human body contains about 0.15 percent chlorides by weight. A body should consume something between 750 and 900 milligrams of chlorides on a daily basis.
How do chlorides help us?
• Chlorides play the most decisive role in maintaining the liquid balance in the body. A shortage of chlorides may lead to severe complications including vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive sweating.
• The amount of chlorides required in the body is largely dependent on the age and physical condition of the concerned person.
• Chloride is the most important negative ion in the blood and represents roughly 70 percent of the body’s negative ion content. As the primary negative ion, it serves its purpose as one of the main electrolytes.
• Chloride also helps in the conduction of electrical impulses when it is dissolved in the body fluids.
• Chlorides play a crucial role in the formation of hydrochloric acids in the stomach, one of the primary digestive enzymes employed by the stomach for the deconstruction of proteins and other food items.
• Chloride, being a negative ion, maintains the electrical neutrality inside the stomach membrane. A constant exchange of chloride and bicarbonates is required between the red blood corpuscles and the plasma to maintain the pH balance in the blood.
• Chlorides are also required for the smooth functioning of the central nervous system.
A chloride deficiency
Although a deficiency in chlorine happens very rarely but when it does, it leads to the creation of life-threatening conditions. Alkalosis is a condition where the blood becomes alkaline. The maintenance of alkalinity and acidity in the blood is absolutely essential for the smooth conduction of the bodily functions.
Excess intake of chloride
Akin to deficiencies, an excess in the intake of chlorides could also be potentially disastrous. It might cause hypertension and high fluid retention. It is better to regulate the usage of salts as salts constitute the primary sources of chlorides.
Sources of chlorides
Tomatoes, common salt, lettuces, and olives are the most common sources of chlorides.