Not many people associate Chloride as being an important mineral, but it is, in fact, an essential mineral for the human body. You will find chloride mainly in bodily fluids. It is a negatively charged component of the blood and represents 70% of the total negative ion content of the body. Chloride is one of the primary electrolytes of our body. Combined with sodium and potassium, chloride assists with the conduction of electrical impulses within the body. Its close relationship with potassium and sodium are crucial in maintaining serum osmolarity.
It is vital to replenish your chloride as the average person will use approximately 530mg of chloride per day.
Chlorides Functions in the Body
Chloride is not just an important electrolyte. Hydrochloric acid is formed in the stomach when chloride is combined with hydrogen. Hydrochloric acid is used by the body to break down proteins as well as to aid the absorption of metallic minerals. Chlorides transportation into our gastric lumen will be exchanged for bicarbonate (another electrolyte that is negatively charged). It does this in order to retain electrical neutrality over the membrane of the stomach. Some chloride will be absorbed via the intestines into the blood stream. Here it will be used to maintain the volume of the extracellular fluid. Bicarbonate and chloride are constantly exchanged between the plasma and red blood cells in order to maintain the pH balance and will transport CO2 (Carbon dioxide – a waste product) from the body. Chloride will work with our nervous system in order to aid the transportation of electrical impulses throughout our body (electrical potential will propagate when negatively charged chloride moves into our cells).
If you do become deficient in chloride you can get a condition known as alkalosis, which is a life threatening condition. Your blood will become overly alkaline. Your body strives to maintain a strict pH balance. Alkalosis can occur from an excessive loss of sodium caused from heavy sweating, diarrhoea or from prolonged vomiting.