Chloride Facts for Kids
Posted on February 20 2022,
Chloride is an essential mineral that the human body needs to maintain proper functioning. It is the most vital electrolyte found in your blood, working hard to balance the amount of fluid outside and inside of your body’s cells. In combination with other minerals, including sodium and potassium it keeps blood volume, pH of body fluids, and blood pressure within normal ranges. This mineral primarily enters your body in the form of salt (sodium chloride) that you consume in your daily diet, and chloride levels are controlled by your kidneys. (1)
The most common dietary sources of this mineral are table salt, celery, salmon, prawns, and tomatoes. This mineral is also available in the form of dietary supplements that are used to reduce heat prostration, tiredness, and muscle cramps. A deficiency of this nutrient is rare for both adults and children in America because the western diet contains many processed foods that are high in chloride. However, excessive intake of chloride can result in several health complications, such as hypertension. The common symptoms of hyperchloremia (high levels of chloride in the blood) include irregular heartbeat, tingling, convulsions, seizures, fluid retention, twitching, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, personality changes, irritability, and confusion. (2)
How Does Chloride Function in Your Child’s Body?
Research has shown that chloride is a vital nutrient required for animal, human, and plant life. It is a main anionic electrolyte mineral in your child’s body that performs several important functions. One study has revealed that, without chloride, your child’s body would not be able to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance, digest food, conduct nerve transmission, carry out kidney functions, and perform muscle movements. (3)
How is chloride absorbed? This ion is absorbed by the intestine of your child. Any excess chloride leaves the human body through urine. A normal human body contains 70 to 80 mg of chloride. Naturally, this mineral is available in a bound form with other minerals, such as sodium chloride (NaCl), magnesium chloride (MgCl2), potassium chloride (KCl), and calcium chloride (CaCl2). Research has found that chloride has a direct relationship with sodium. Therefore, chloride ions usually follow sodium ions so that if one ion is normal, the other will also be normal.
What does chloride do? Furthermore, chloride maintains cellular integrity in four ways: water balance, acid-base balance, electric charge neutrality, and osmotic pressure regulation. It helps in the production of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in gastric juice, a stomach acid that supports proper digestion. Chloride ions also play a promising role in the transmission of a nerve impulse along with Mg, Ca, and Na. (4)
Why Do Children Need Chloride?
Chloride is necessary in your child’s body in order to maintain overall wellbeing. Most chloride is provided to your child’s body through their diet and primarily in the form of table salt (sodium chloride, or NaCl). It is the most important extracellular ion that provides several health benefits to your child’s body, including the below. (5)
- Maintains osmotic pressure
- Maintains fluid balance
- Promotes digestion
- Supporters proper nerve transmission
- Maintains pH balance
Maintains osmotic pressure: Research has revealed that chloride plays a promising role in maintaining osmotic pressure between extra- and intracellular fluids. It also supports proper hydration in the human body. One study has found that chloride helps balance cations and electrical neutrality of the extracellular fluid. (6)
Maintains fluid balance: According to one study, chloride helps balance fluids in the body because it follows sodium ions in regulating the neutrality of charge. In addition, chloride channels also help control fluid secretion, for example, the flow of water into the mucus and the secretion of pancreatic juice into the small intestine. Mucus and fluid secretion is important to several bodily processes. (7)
Promotes digestion: Research supports findings that chloride plays an important role in proper digestion. This is because hydrochloric acid (composed of hydrogen and chloride) aids in digestion and in preventing the growth of pathogenic microbes in the stomach. Furthermore, your immune cells also require chloride for proper functioning, and your red blood cells need chloride ions to remove carbon dioxide from the body. (8)
Supports proper nerve transmission: According to health experts, chloride also helps in the proper transmission of nerve impulses. It aids in controlling the excitability of neurons in your central nervous system. Nerve cells communicate with each other through nerve impulses. Like other cells, the membranes of nerve cells are perforated by chloride channels. These channels allow the exchange of chloride ions between the cells and their environment for the proper conduction of nerve impulses. (6)
Maintains pH balance: A recent study has revealed that chloride helps in maintaining acid-base balance in the human body. This is because this ion typically acts as an acid. According to the Steward Model, chloride is a powerful ion, which is an independent variable. So, if this ion is lost or gained in the presence of excess sodium, it reflects metabolic alkalosis or acidosis, respectively. (7)
What Is Chloride Deficiency?
Inadequate chloride levels in the blood leads to chloride deficiency, also known as hypochloremia. Scientific studies have revealed that the levels of electrolytes, including chloride, in your blood are regulated by the kidneys. Therefore, electrolyte imbalance, and therefore chloride deficiency, is primarily caused by kidney problems in kids. (9)
Some reasons for chloride deficiency in children include:
- Prolonged vomiting
- Heart failure
- Metabolic alkalosis (when the blood pH is higher than normal)
Additionally, the excessive use of certain drugs, including diuretics, bicarbonates, and laxatives can lead to chloride deficiency in your child’s body. Chloride deficiency is diagnosed by performing a blood test. Usually, a chloride blood test is not a single factor test; it will be included as a part of the metabolic or electrolyte panel.
The normal serum concentration of chloride is expressed as milliequivalents (mEq) per liter (L). Normal chloride levels in the human blood are as follows:
- Adults: 97 to 105 mEq/L
- Children: 90 to 112 mEq/L
- Newborn babies: 96 to 106 mEq/L
- Premature babies: 95 to 110 mEq/L
Signs and symptoms of chloride deficiency can vary from child to child. For instance, if chloride levels fall slowly, then your child may not complain about any signs or symptoms. On the other hand, if chloride levels drop quickly, the symptoms can be severe and you will likely notice them in your child. The common signs and symptoms of chloride deficiency in children include the following: (10)
- Muscle cramps
- Irregular heartbeat
Muscle cramps: If your children often complain about muscle aches and general weakness, then they might be deficient in essential electrolytes that are required for the proper functioning of their muscles, like sodium and chloride. One study has depicted that dehydration as well as lack of sodium and chloride increase the space between muscle cells. As a result, this condition enhances pressure on the nerves and leads to pain. (10)
Headache: Sodium and chloride are essential electrolytes that properly conduct nerve impulses in the human body. The research has shown that low sodium and chloride levels increase water in the body that results in swelling. This swelling is very dangerous for your kid’s brain cells and can cause several neurological issues such as irritability, seizures, coma, confusion, and headache. (11)
Irregular heartbeat: An irregular heartbeat is the most common symptom of chloride deficiency in children. Research has found that chloride channels play an important role in initiating and triggering the conduction of nerve impulses in the human heart. An excess of chloride is also dangerous for your child’s health, making it especially important that you are regulating the amount of chloride that your child receives through their diet. (10)
How Much Chloride Does Your Kid Need per Day?
Dose recommendation for chloride is given in the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) developed by Food and Nutrition Board (FNB). DRI is the optimal amount of nutrients, which a person needs per day. (1)
It is important to make sure your child gets an adequate amount of chloride daily to meet their body’s requirements. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for this mineral is provided in milligrams (mg).
For children the recommended doses for chloride are the same as sodium: (1)
|Age||Recommended daily amount in milligrams (mg)|
|0-6 months||110 mg|
|7-12 months||370 mg|
|1-3 years||1500 mg|
|4-8 years||1900 mg|
|9-13 years||2000 mg|
|14-18 years||< 2300 mg|
|19+ years||< 2000 mg|
Should You Give Chloride Supplements to Your Kids?
Usually, chloride is found in in your child’s diet in combination with sodium in the form of table salt. Remember, low and high chloride intake can both create trouble. In case of severe chloride deficiency (hypochloremia) due to conditions like vomiting and dehydration, supplemental chloride may be taken to maintain electrolyte balance in the body. It is always advised that you consult your child’s pediatrician before adding extra chloride to their diet in order to reduce the risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart diseases later on. (6)
Foods That Are Rich in Chloride
Chloride is naturally present in sea salt and table salt in the form of sodium chloride. Other natural foods that contain chloride are tomatoes, seaweed, celery, rye, lettuce, and olives. Additional common dietary sources of this mineral include cheese, breakfast cereals, processed foods, flavored oatmeal, and lunch meats. Listed below are foods that contain a good amount of chloride. (12)
|Food||Serving size||Milligrams (mg) per serving|
|Swiss Chard||1 cup||960 mg|
|Orange Juice||1 cup||498 mg|
|Banana||1 medium||420 mg|
|Milk||1 cup||380 mg|
|Kidney Beans||1/2 cup||358 mg|
Raisin Bran (cereal)
|1 cup||352 mg|
|Pistachios||1 oz||286 mg|
|Sirloin Steak||3 oz||285 mg|
Risks and Side Effects of Chloride
Excessive intake of chloride, known as hyperchloremia, can cause several health complications, including seizures, tingling, convulsions, fluid retention, muscle twitches, muscle spasms, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
Research has found that common causes of hyperchloremia include gastrointestinal issues such as dehydration, vomiting, high fever, diarrhea, eating disorders, and severe malnutrition. In addition, one study found that high blood sodium levels also tend to increase chloride levels in the human body. Addison’s disease (a disease that occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones) is one condition that contributes to high chloride levels in children and adults.
Another study revealed that excessive intake of chloride ions can lead to difficulty in breathing and swelling of the lips, throat, face, and tongue. In addition, severe side effects of megadoses of chloride include stomach pain, swelling in your child’s legs, ankles, and hands, vomiting, and nausea. (13)
Chloride is an essential mineral and primary electrolyte that your child’s body needs to maintain its functions. This mineral helps balance the amount of fluid outside and inside of the body’s cells. In combination with other minerals, including sodium and potassium, chloride keeps the blood volume, pH of body fluids, and blood pressure within normal ranges. Your body gets this mineral primarily in the form of salt (sodium chloride) that is consumed in your everyday diet. Other dietary sources of this mineral include tomatoes, seaweed, celery, rye, lettuce, and olives. Too much and too little of this mineral in the body can lead to negative side effects, so it is important that your child is not over consuming chloride in their diet.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog post is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not use this information for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.