Chloride - Information and Sources

Chloride is an electrolyte which is found in the fluids surrounding body cells, where it works with sodium and potassium to control the flow of body fluids, regulate electrolyte imbalance and help reduce acidity. It is also present in the stomach in hydrochloric acid which helps digestion, and in the liver where it is involved in the detoxification of waste.

Chloride intake is most abundant in the form of salt (sodium chloride), and its metabolism and requirements are linked to that of sodium. There is no official set figure for daily requirements, but 2.3g per day is accepted as an adequate amount. High sodium chloride intakes have been linked to high blood pressure, which is common in Western diets and campaigns are focused on getting people to consume less salt.

Deficiency of chloride has been observed in severe cases of diarrhoea and vomiting where there is dehydration or from over use of diuretics. Symptoms are low blood pressure and general weakness.

Chloride is abundant in our diets, due to the use of salt which is added to various food products as it helps flavour and is a food preservative. Foods like crisps, chips, salted nuts, savoury snacks, tomato sauces, processed meats, canned meats and fish (especially in canned in brine), olives, canned vegetables and soups contain the most. Chloride sources are especially abundant in processed foods because of the high levels of preservatives needed to keep these foods fresh. Marmite, Bovril and pickles are also high in salt. Potassium chloride is also found in some foods and is the main ingredient of salt substitutes.

It is also found in many vegetables and some other sources include:

  • Seaweed
  • Rye
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Olives
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Seafood