Chloride is an extremely essential mineral that is imperative for both human and animal life on this planet. It is a major electrolyte mineral of the body that performs a range of different functions and is also quickly secreted from the body. Chloride closely works in combination with other minerals like potassium, sodium, and carbon dioxide to regulate functions of the nervous system, maintain a healthy heart, and most importantly keep the balance of fluids and acid bases right.
Another important function chloride carries out is the formation of hydrochloric acid. Basically, chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to prepare this powerful digestive fluid called hydrochloric acid which aids digestion. How does it do that? Hydrochloric acid breaks down proteins for better absorption of minerals inside the stomach.
Without chloride, the human body wouldn’t be able to,
- Hold a balanced amount of fluids in the blood vessels.
- Carry out nerve transmissions between our brain and body.
- Perform any activity that involves our muscles.
- Maintain healthy functioning of our kidneys.
Importance of Chloride
Being an essential nutrient, it goes without saying that chloride is important to help our body function properly. It requires a regular intake of 2.3 grams on average. (For detailed chloride intake, refer to the chart below).
Chloride is vital for the regulation of fluids in our body – in case chloride ions exceed, our body runs the chances of being dehydrated. Chloride also helps maintain electrolyte balance and healthy blood pressure levels.
Since chloride is abundantly available in the blood, it can penetrate into the cells and interact with potassium whenever required. Chloride mostly goes into our body paired with sodium in the form of table salt.
As mentioned earlier, chloride forms hydrochloric acid which is the main element responsible for stomach gastric juices. Hydrochloric acid maintains the acidic nature of gastric juices and also eliminates germs from the food we have eaten. Through hydrochloric acid, chloride helps with the breakdown of food and performs digestion effectively due to its acidic properties.
Apart from all those functions, the most important function that chloride carries out is – maintaining fluid balance in the body. Now, what kind of fluids are we talking about here? We are referring to extracellular fluids which are also known as fluids that exist outside of the cells. In the human body, the majority of these extracellular fluids are made up of chloride.
Chloride carries out electric potential between a cell’s membrane as it can move across the different cell membranes and carry other nutrients along with it. Inside a cell, chloride interacts with potassium and outside the cell, chloride associates itself with sodium to maintain the osmotic pressure.
Ideal Chloride Intake Chart
Foods That Are Rich Sources of Chloride
- Table salt
- Sea salt
- Soy sauce
- Processed foods
- Canned foods
- Fast foods
Potassium Chloride & Sodium Chloride
Potassium is another vital mineral that plays an important role in the smooth functioning of our body, especially for the health of our heartbeats. Potassium can be widely found in many food items we consume in our day-to-day lives. Potassium supplements are commonly used to correct or prevent the lower content of potassium in our bloodstream. A healthy level of potassium in the blood is essential in helping our cells, heart, kidneys, nervous system, and muscles to function smoothly.
Sodium is essentially an electrolyte similar to chloride. Sodium chloride is the chemical name for commonly used table salt. Sodium is responsible for monitoring the amount of water that is present in our bodies. Apart from that main role, sodium also serves an important part related to maintaining proper muscle contractions and nerve impulses.
As a power-packed combination, potassium chloride and sodium chloride are a form of mineral supplements that help in alleviating body pain when you feel tired when your muscles get cramped, and lead to sharp pain or in conditions when you sweat more than the usual amount.
Magnesium is an effective mineral responsible for the smooth functioning of our cells, bones, heart, and nervous system. Normally if you maintain a well-balanced diet, you will get the required amount of magnesium in your body. However, in some cases, your body tends to lose magnesium faster and you can’t replace it from your food at the same pace.
Magnesium chloride is essentially meant to be taken along with magnesium intake in your diet from natural food sources. So if you are falling short, these supplements can make up for the lesser magnesium intake and maintain a healthy ratio.
Healthy magnesium levels are needed to,
- Help maintain healthy heart health.
- Help with smooth muscle functioning.
- Prevent stomach acids, indigestion, and acid burns.
- Increase mineral absorption at the cellular level.
While magnesium chloride supplements aren’t designed to correct any existing condition per se, they definitely help recover your body from being magnesium deficient. Which in turn leads to improvement in certain physiological functions in the body.
No matter if it’s fluids or acids, a healthy balance of chloride is imperative to help your body perform at its optimal best.
Minerals are such an important part of our diet please explore this site to learn more about them.