Chloride Deficiency

General text about the lack of minerals can be found here.


Chlorine is a chemical element, which is necessary for our body internal environment. Normally, we do not have problems with lack of chloride ions as we have a sufficient daily intake in salt (chemically sodium chloride – NaCl).


Lack of chloride ions can occur in excessive sweating and inadequately low fluid intake, i.e. during dehydration. Diuretic agents are also a common cause in people treated by doctors of internal medicine. Diuretic drugs are potent antihypertensive agents used in therapy of heart failure, but they may cause dehydration and disruption of the internal environment of the body by increased loss of minerals in urine. Given that the chlorides are present in gastric juice, longer vomiting may also lead to excessive loss of the ions. Other reasons of chloride deficiency include losses of minerals into urine in untreated diabetes, Addison's disease and Bartter syndrome.


The lack of chlorine is usually associated with fluid loss and dehydration. In addition, there is usually present the disruption of the internal environment and imbalance between acidic and basic substances in the body. This situation causes symptoms such as fatigue, confusion, and muscle weakness. Older people often suffer from dizziness and episodes of unconsciousness. Chronic chloride deficiency is related to decreased formation of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Lowered acidity of the gastric juice affects digestive process and reducing proper absorption of vitamin B12 and iron.


The lack of chlorine may be confirmed by a sample blood test from a sample of venous blood. Chloride concentration should be always evaluated together with concentrations of other main ions, renal parameters and other parameters of the internal environment (pH, blood gases, etc).


Chloride can be relatively easily added in diet (adequate slating and virtually any food and mineral water) or in an intravenous infusion. The infusions can quickly normalize the internal environment and they represent a successful mean of rehydration of vomiting patients (as the fluid bypasses the gastrointestinal tract).


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources