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Chloride is an electrolyte that is essential for maintenance of fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base balance in the body. Like sodium, it is a constituent of extracel-lular fluid. It is also a component of gastric juices, where, in combination with hydrogen, it is found in hydrochloric acid, cerebrospinal (of the brain and spinal cord) fluid, and muscle and nerve tissue. It helps the blood carry carbon dioxide to the lungs and is necessary during immune responses when white blood cells attack foreign cells.
Sources.Chloride is found almost exclusively in table salt (sodium chlo-ride) or in foods containing sodium chloride.
Requirements.The DRI for chloride for normal adults is 2,300 mg a day.
Deficiency.Because chloride is found in salt, deficiency is rare. It canoccur, however, with severe vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive use of diuretics, and alkalosis can result. Also, it could occur in patients who must follow long-term sodium-restricted diets. In such cases, patients can be provided with an alternative source of chloride.
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