What Does Chloride Do In The Body?
By Tyler Woodward
- What Is Chloride?
- Functions Of Chloride
- How Much Chloride Do You Need?
- How To Consume Enough Chloride
- What Happens If You Get Too Much Chloride
What Is Chloride?:
Chloride is the most predominant anion found throughout the human body. An anion is a compound that when dissolved in water holds a negative charge. Due to chloride’s atomic structure, it requires one additional electron to “complete” its atomic structure. This results in chloride having one more electron than protons when it’s dissolved in water. Since electrons carry a negative charge and protons carry a positive charge this is what gives chloride it’s -1 charge.
It’s for these same reasons that chloride forms what are known as ionic salts with elements like sodium and potassium. Sodium and potassium are opposites of chloride in that they more readily give away an electron to “complete” their atomic structure. So when mixed together they form ionic compounds in which sodium or potassium will have a charge of +1 after donating its electron to chloride and chloride will have a charge of -1 after receiving the electron from sodium or potassium.
Functions Of Chloride
Chloride is predominantly found in the extracellular fluid, meaning the majority of chloride ions are found outside the cell. About 6 times as many chloride ions are found outside the cell than inside the cell. Chloride’s negative charge plays an extremely important role in setting up the electrical potential of a cell.
In order to conduct an electrical charge the cell must have a difference in voltage between the intracellular and extracellular fluid. Chloride is one of the primary electrolytes that is responsible for the electrical charge of the cell.
Chloride also plays a role in:
- Maintain adequate blood pH
- Maintain blood pressure
- Maintain blood volume
Read More: What Does It Mean To Be Healthy?
How Much Chloride Do You Need?:
The FDA recommends that you consume 800 mg of chloride per day.
How To Consume Enough Chloride:
The easiest way to consume enough chloride is through common table salt. Table salt consists of one part sodium and one part chloride, making up sodium chloride. Adequately salting your food to taste will ensure that you are consuming enough chloride daily and sodium to properly hydrate your cells.
Chloride is also found in relatively high quantities in certain foods like seaweed, tomatoes, lettuce, celery & onions. Chloride can also be found in supplemental forms as potassium chloride, magnesium chloride or calcium chloride.
Many scientists believe most Americans already consume more than enough chloride through table salt and food preservatives, so you shouldn’t have to worry about consuming extra chloride.
What Happens If You Get Too Much Chloride?:
Chloride is what is in the group of elements known as the halogens along with fluoride, iodine and bromine. All of these elements share a similar atomic structure which results in them all requiring one additional electron in order to be “complete”. This means that all of these elements can compete with one another for binding in their chemical receptors. This becomes extremely important for achieving optimal thyroid health as the thyroid requires iodine to produce the thyroid hormones T3 & T4. The thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating your rate of cellular metabolism, but if iodine is blocked from being absorbed in the thyroid it can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones.
Excess of any of the other halogens including chlorine, fluoride, or bromine (very unlikely to get excess bromine) can diminish the thyroid activity and amount of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream, potentially leading to hypothyroidism over time.
Generally, I do not think excess chloride is too big of a concern, but I would recommend trying to avoid swimming in chlorinated pools on a consistent basis as the chloride can be absorbed topically through your skin. Salt-water pools are a much safer alternative to chloride pools due to the significantly lower concentrations of chloride in the water. Additionally, it’s important to avoid fluoride as much as possible, for more information on this you can check out my article: Is Fluoride Safe?
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