What is Citric Acid? Citric acid may be an ingredient that you are familiar with but may not be a skincare ingredient that you’re particularly familiar with the benefits of. Citric acid is a source of alpha hydroxy acid or AHA. AHAs are used to help improve the texture and overall appearance of the skin …
Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits, especially lemons and lemons. This is what gives them a tart and sour taste.
The manufactured form of citric acid is commonly used as an additive in food, cleaning products, and food additives.
However, this manufactured form is different from what is found naturally in citrus fruits.
For this reason, you may ask yourself whether this is good or bad for you.
This article explains the differences between natural and manufactured citric acid and explores its benefits, uses, and safety.
What Is Citric Acid?
Citric acid was first obtained from lemon juice by a Swedish researcher in 1784.
The colorless, odorless compound was made from lemon juice until the early 1900s, when researchers discovered that it could also be made from the black mold Aspergillus niger, which creates citric acid when fed with sugar.
Because of its acidic nature and sour taste, citric acid is mainly used as a flavoring and preservative, especially in soft drinks and sweets.
It is also used to stabilize or preserve medicines and as a disinfectant against viruses and bacteria.
Citric acid is a compound originally derived from lemon juice. It is produced today from a certain type of mold and is used in various applications.
Natural Food Sources
Citrus fruits and their juices are the best natural sources of citric acid (reliable source 3).
In fact, the word lemon comes from the Latin word citrus (2source reliable).
Examples of citrus fruits include:
Other fruits also contain citric acid, but in smaller amounts. These include:
Drinks or foods that contain these fruits — such as ketchup in the case of tomatoes – also contain citric acid.
Although not natural, citric acid is also a byproduct of cheese, wine, and sourdough production.
The citric acid listed in food ingredients and supplements is produced-not something that occurs naturally in citrus fruits.
This is due to the fact that the production of this citrus supplement is too expensive, and the demand far exceeds the supply.
Lemons, lemons, and other citrus fruits are the predominant natural sources of citric acid. Other fruits that contain much less include some berries, cherries, and tomatoes.
Artificial sources and uses
The characteristics of citric acid make it an important additive for various industries.
Food and beverages use about 70% of the citric acid produced, pharmaceutical and dietary supplements use 20%, and the remaining 10% goes into cleaning products.
-food Manufactured citric acid is one of the most common food additives in the world.
It is used to increase the acidity, improve the taste and preserve the ingredients.
Sodas, juices, powdered beverages, candy, frozen foods, and some dairy products often contain citric acid.
It is also added to canned fruits and vegetables to protect against botulism, a rare but serious disease caused by the toxin-producing bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
Medicines and food supplements
Citric acid is an industrial staple in medicines and food supplements.
It is added to medicines to help stabilize and preserve the active ingredients and is used to enhance or mask the taste of chewable and syrupy preparations.
Mineral supplements such as magnesium and calcium may also contain citric acid — in the form of citrate-to improve absorption.
Disinfection and cleaning
Citric acid is a useful disinfectant against various bacteria and viruses.
A test tube study has shown that it may be effective for the treatment or prevention of human norovirus, one of the main causes of foodborne diseases.
Citric acid is sold as a general disinfectant and cleaning agent to remove soap suds, hard water stains, lime, and rust.
It is considered a safer alternative to conventional disinfectants and cleaning agents, such as chlorine and chlorine bleach.
Citric acid is a universal additive to food, beverages, medicines and dietary supplements, as well as to cleaning and disinfectants.
Citrate, a molecule closely related to citric acid, is the first molecule to be formed in a process called the citric acid cycle.
Also known as tricarboxylic acid (TCA) or the Krebs cycle, these chemical reactions in your body help turn food into useful energy.
Humans and other organisms get most of their energy from this cycle.
Improves Nutrient Absorption
Additional minerals are available in various forms.
But not all forms are created equal, because your body uses them more efficiently.
Citric acid improves the bioavailability of minerals, allowing your body to better absorb them.
For example, calcium citrate does not require stomach acid for absorption. It also has fewer side effects, such as gas, bloating, or constipation, than another form called calcium carbonate.
Therefore, calcium citrate is the best option for people with less stomach acid, such as the elderly.
Similarly, magnesium in the form of citrate is more fully absorbed and more bioavailable than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate.
Citric acid also improves the absorption of zinc supplements.
May Protect Against Kidney Stones
Citric acid-in the form of potassium citrate-prevents the formation of new kidney stones and destroys the already formed ones.
Kidney stones are solid masses made of crystals that usually come from your kidneys.
Citric acid protects against kidney stones, making your urine less conducive to the formation of stones.
Kidney stones are often treated with citric acid in the form of potassium citrate. However, consuming foods rich in this natural acid, such as citrus fruits, may offer similar stone-prevention benefits.
Citric acid helps in energy metabolism, mineral absorption, and the prevention or treatment of kidney stones.
Security and risks
Manufactured citric acid is generally recognized as safe (fatty) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (5).
There are no scientific studies on the safety of citric acid produced when consumed in large quantities over long periods of time.
However, there have been reports of illnesses and allergic reactions to the supplement.
One report found joint pain with swelling and stiffness, muscle and stomach pain, and shortness of breath in four people after eating foods containing manufactured citric acid.
The same symptoms were not observed in people who consumed natural forms of acid, such as lemons and lemons.
The researchers acknowledged that they cannot prove that manufactured citric acid is responsible for these symptoms, but recommended that its use in food and beverages be studied further.
In both cases, the scientists suggested that the symptoms were most likely related to the mold used to make citric acid, rather than the compound itself.
A small report suggests that mold residue from manufactured citric acid can lead to allergies and other diseases, but this remains to be proven.
Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits, but synthetic versions made from a type of mold are commonly added to foods, medicines, supplements, and cleaning products.
While mold residues in the manufacturing process can cause allergies in rare cases, citric acid is generally considered safe.