The role of chlorine in the body

Chlorine is another mineral involved in fluid and electrolyte balance. It is an anion in the extracellular fluid. This is its principal use within the body. It is the other component that we get in sufficient amounts from the common table salt used to season food.

Its intake is in various forms mainly combined with sodium or accompanied with potassium. In the small intestines, for example, sodium is absorbed first then chlorine follows. This also means that an increase in the amount of sodium in the body is likely to be followed by an increase in the number of chloride ions.

Chlorine is stored in the body to a limited extent in the skin and its subcutaneous tissues, in protein chambers within cell membranes, and especially in the gastrointestinal tract and in the skeleton. A lot is also frequently and regularly lost through excretion in sweat, kidney as urine, and intestinal expulsion as a fecal component. During hot weather, sodium losses increase drastically because of salt losses in sweat. These salts give sweat its salty taste.  

 

Uses of chlorine in the body

1.               An electrolyte involved in fluid balance

It is a major anion (60% of anions) in extracellular fluid and is involved in the regulation of extracellular fluid. It is the second most abundant electrolyte in the serum after sodium.

This also makes it central in the maintenance of the pH of the body fluids as an acidic ion that lowers the pH. Chlorine helps in maintaining the fluid pressure across cell membranes. By doing so, it concurrently maintains the electrical neutrality of the cell environment.

This neutrality usually affects all other components, their concentration and their movement in and out of the cells. It is this neutrality that is altered under the influence of specific chemical signals to allow certain metabolic and homoeostatic exchanges. Chlorine maintains the integrity of all these processes in coordination with sodium and potassium.

It prevents cystic fibrosis and CFTRs

2.               Gastric juice in form of hydrochloric acid

Chlorine is absorbed from the blood by glands within the intestinal wall and used in the production of HCl acid which lowers the pH of food in the stomach to allow for protein digestion. So chlorine plays a part in ensuring that all the protein we consume for our muscles and toning up is broken down and absorbed by the intestines. 

Most of this is also reabsorbed further down in the small intestines and large intestines for reuse in the body.

3.       Acid-base balance

Chlorine once ingested dissociates from its initial compound and forms anions that react with other elements in different reactions to form new compounds. Being negatively charged, it contributes to the regulation of pH in the body. It helps in the prevention and treatment of alkalosis.

4.       Important diagnostic test component

The chlorine levels are an important indicator of the state of the body. They are useful in the assessment of pathological conditions as hypochloremia and hyperchloremia both often indicate that there is a malfunction in a certain body system. These two opposite conditions are caused by other problems in homeostasis and metabolism or are the cause of other serious problems.

Deficiency (hypochloremia)

This is most prevalent in infants fed salt-free formula. Salt is one of the greatest and most reliable sources of chloride ions and so deprivation of this seasoning in food easily results in a dietary deficiency. Their diet should be well-regulated so that it provides enough chloride.

Other factors that could lead to an acute development of deficiencies include vomiting, diuretic therapy, Addison’s disease in which the adrenal glands do not produce hormones efficiently, congestive heart failure, hyperaldosteronism and renal diseases.  Excess losses could occur in faeces, sweat or urine.

Symptoms include:

·         Fluid loss

·         Dehydration

·         Lethargy

·         fatigue

·         Nausea

·         Dizziness

·         Muscle cramps

The effects of a deficiency include:

Alkalosis- the state of blood having a pH higher than normal because of excess basic ions and inadequacy of acidic ions to neutralize these. In inadequate chloride ion conditions, the bicarbonate ions increase to compensate.

Coma is one of the effects if the condition becomes very severe.

Hyperchloremia

This is the condition in which the body has an excess of chloride ions. This cause an imbalance in relation to sodium and potassium whose functions are closely related and antagonistic mostly.

Some of the causes include:

  • Gastrointestinal tract issues
  • Dehydration from high fever and sweating, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Excessive fluid loss from the kidney because of diabetes insipidus and Addison’s disease.
  • Effects of chemotherapy causing damage to the kidney, increasing the effect of the symptoms as the body is weakened.
  • Effect of some medications

 Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Fluid retention
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle weakness, spasms and twitching
  • Numbness
  • Irregular heartbeat

Convulsions

The condition is treatable via fluid therapy and administration of intravenous fluids, changing diet appropriately and changing medication if they were the cause.

Your chloride levels are important in the maintenance of optimal functioning. You need to have them checked and resolve any issues as progressive stages of abnormalities may be difficult to treat and have life-long effects because of their central roles in the body.

They are also a great indicator of how efficiently your body is running. They express channeled abnormalities and dysfunctions. Get them checked and get yourself the right fuel. Vitaminfood is a good fuel for a good feeling. We got your chloride levels right.

 

 

References:

1.       https://selfhacked.com/blog/low-chloride-levels-hypochloremia/

2.       https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/nutrition/chloride-in-diet

3.       http://pressbooks-dev.oer.hawaii.edu/humannutrition/chapter/chloride/

4.       https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Fundamentals_of_Human_Nutrition/Chloride

5.       https://www.verywellfit.com/chloride-requirements-and-dietary-sources-2507033

6.       http://pressbooks-dev.oer.hawaii.edu/humannutrition/chapter/chloride/

7.       https://www.livestrong.com/article/338677-foods-that-contain-chlorine/

8.
     
 https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/earth-atmospheric-and-planetary-sciences/12-091-medical-geology-geochemistry-an-exposure-january-iap-2006/projects/brazin.pdf