Chloride Requirements and Dietary Sources

Coarse and fine sea salts

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Chloride is a major mineral that works with sodium and potassium to keep your body fluid levels balanced. It works by maintaining the fluid volume outside of the cells. The cells in the lining of your stomach need chloride to make hydrochloric acid, which is a component of your digestive juices. 

It's easy to find chloride in foods, so deficiency is rare. Table salt and sea salt are both 40 percent chloride by volume so you'll consume chloride every time you add salt to your foods or when you eat foods that are made with salt. Salt substitutes often use chloride too—it's just the sodium that's replaced in products such as potassium chloride. That's because sodium has been linked to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases in some people.

In addition to salt, many vegetables such as celery, tomatoes, lettuce, and seaweeds are good sources of chloride so deficiency is rare.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Health and Medicine Division determines the adequate intake of all nutrients based on age and sex. Chloride needs are similar for males and females but differ by age. The recommendation doesn't change for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

These adequate intakes are equal to the amount that should cover the needs of all individuals in each age group. But, if you have any health conditions, you can speak to your healthcare provider about your diet and if there's any reason to be concerned about your chloride intake.

Dietary Reference Intakes

1 to 3 years: 1.5 grams per day
4 to 8 years: 1.9 grams per day
9 to 50 years: 2.3 grams per day
51 to 70 years: 2.0 grams per day
71+ years: 1.8 grams per day
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding: 2.3 grams per day

Chloride deficiency can occur when your body loses too much fluid through heavy sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. Certain medications called diuretics cause your body to lose fluid so they can potentially cause a chloride deficiency as well.

Consuming too much chloride can increase your blood pressure. People with congestive heart disease need to be even more careful because it can cause a build-up of fluid. According to the Institute of Medicine, the tolerable upper intake for chloride is 3.6 grams per day for adults. The tolerable upper limit is the maximum level of daily intake that's known not to cause any adverse effects. 

There's no reason to take chloride as a dietary supplement, the foods you eat are more than sufficient.

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