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Chloride in diet

Definition

Chloride is found in many chemicals and other substances in the body. It is an important part of the salt found in many foods and used in cooking.

Function

Chloride is needed to keep the proper balance of body fluids. It is an essential part of digestive (stomach) juices.

Food Sources

Chloride is found in table salt or sea salt as sodium chloride. It is also found in many vegetables. Foods with higher amounts of chloride include seaweed, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, and olives.

Chloride, together with potassium, is also found in most foods and is usually the main ingredient of salt substitutes.

Most Americans probably get more chloride than needed, in the form of table salt and salt in prepared foods.

Side Effects

Too little chloride in the body can occur when your body loses a lot of fluids. This may be due to excessive sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. Medicines such as diuretics can also cause low chloride levels.

Too much chloride from salted foods can:

Recommendations

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamins reflects how much of each vitamin most people should get each day. The RDA for vitamins may be used to create each person's goals.

How much of each vitamin you need depends on your age and gender. Other factors, such as pregnancy and illnesses, are also important. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need higher amounts. Older adults need lower amounts. Ask your health care provider which amount is best for you.

Infants

  • 0 - 6 months: 0.18* grams per day (g/day)
  • 7 - 12 months: 0.57* g/day

Children

  • 1 - 3 years: 1.5* g/day
  • 4 - 8 years: 1.9* g/day
  • 9 - 13 years: 2.3* g/day

Adolescents and Adults

  • Males and females age 14 to 50 years: 2.3* g/day
  • Males and females 51 to 70: 2.0* g/day
  • Males and females 71 and over: 1.8* g/day

*Adequate intakes (AI)

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.

References

Escott-Stump S, ed. Nutrition and Diagnosis-Related Care. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.

Sarubin Fragaakis A, Thomson C. The Health Professional's Guide to Popular Dietary Supplements. 3rd ed. Chicago, Il: American Dietetic Association; 2007.

Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2004.


Review Date: 2/18/2013
Reviewed By: Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE, Nutritionist, University of Washington Medical Center Diabetes Care Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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