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13.3: Chloride Ions

Sodium's partner in salt, chloride, is the major extracellular anion. Almost all of the chloride we consume is from salt, and almost all chloride is absorbed. It is excreted in urine like sodium. Chloride has the following functions1:

  1. Aids in nerve impulses
  2. Component of HCl
  3. Released by white blood cells to kill foreign substances
  4. Helps maintain acid-base balance

Chloride deficiency is rare, but can occur because of severe diarrhea or vomiting. Other symptoms of this deficiency include1,2:

  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Lethargy

Chloride is not toxic, but since it is a part of salt, it is recommended that we restrict our intake to avoid potential increases in blood pressure.

References

  1. Byrd-Bredbenner C, Moe G, Beshgetoor D, Berning J. (2009) Wardlaw's perspectives in nutrition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. (2008) Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.

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