Citric acid is an additive and preservative that is common among many products such cosmetics products, pre-packed fruit and veggies, wine, cleaning supplies, and salsa. Usually, food brands have a little bit of sour taste. It is also an organic acid but it does not serve as a vitamin or mineral because, generally, it is not necessary in our diet.
Carl Wilhelm Scheele first isolated organic acid from lemon using the fungus Aspergillus niger in 1784. Citric acid was considered safe back then but things in the modern world is not the same.
Citric acid has two sources. One source is natural, and it is through the vegetables and fruits, most especially the citrus kind. On the other hand, citric acid is also made out of the lab. This manufactured citric acid is made out of a black mold.
Once you consumed citric acid, it flows through the bloodstream and exit through your urine. It has many positive properties including alkaline, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. But on the bad side, these same properties may be an irritant to those people who have sensitive stomach. Moreover, it can be bad for those who have sensitive skin, allergies, and acid reflux.
Commonly, the use of citric acid includes:
- Helping with ingredient shielding.
- Putting or making a sour flavor to food and beverages.
- Maintaining the ingredient stability and therefore preserving the food and beverage.
- Adding and maintaining the fragrance both in cleaning and beauty products.
- Preserving food texture by acting as a chelating agent.
- Serving as an alkalizing agent and a pH adjuster.
- Acting as a solvent for removing and cleaning oily substances.
Additional fact: citrate substance which intention is to aid with certain health issues, is also made from citric acid.
Below is the elaborated explanation about the citric acid benefits and downside.
The Benefits of Citric Acid
The organic citric acid has the abilities to protect your body against harmful substances. It is through its antioxidant properties which can assist you in almost every diseases such as heart conditions and cancer.
It also has anti-inflammatory property. Based on a 2014 study, it has the capacity to reduce lipid peroxidation as well as control inflammation. It weakens the release of the inflammatory compound like interleukin, myeloperoxidase, platelet factor, and elastase as well as decreases the cell degranulation.
Additionally, citric acid possesses an alkalizing power which reduces acidity in the body. Citric acid, working as an alkaline agent, rebuilds and strengthen the acidic environment often broken down by eating a lot of unhealthy food like too much lattes and processed foods, as well as stress and anxiety. Moreover, citric acid alkalizing quality is evident in preventing kidney stones. Oftentimes, kidney stones are produced from the high acidity in the urine.
In fact, the citric acid supplement is now advertised in the market because of its health benefits. It is linked with good metabolism. Human metabolism is consist of normal cellular respiration and the supplement simply boost this cells to ignite the metabolic process and generate energy. Take this out of the way and the body will lose its power to self-heal and detox.
Citric acid supplements have three distinctive benefits:
- Enhances the utilization of magnesium – If you want your stomach to be efficient in assimilation and absorption, then it has to have many minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, that has acidic pH. Citric acid in supplement acts as booster so you can have all you need out of the ozonated magnesium oxides.
- Assists cellular energy production – The citric acid inside the supplement aids with the body’s function to produce energy. This process of the body is linked with the body’s capability to clean itself as well as detoxify.
- Supports overall detoxification – The supplements have the ability to protect the vital organs of the body such as kidney, liver, and brain through the process of detoxification.
In terms of cosmetic products, citric acid also has a say with it. It is good for the skin as it works as an astringent. This is only applicable to topical use. It works in many ways such as reducing oiliness and pimple breakouts, shrinking the pores, lightening and brightening the skin, regenerating skin cells, and evening out the skin tone.
Citrus Acid’s Negative Impact on Health
Mixing a certain kind of sugar (e.g. sugar beets or cane sugar) with the fungus Aspergillus niger (black mold) and other ingredients such as zinc, potassium phosphate, magnesium sulfate, and ammonium nitrate will produce the artificial citric acid additives. Six to 15 days, through fermentation process, the citric acid is produced. It is cheap, but the health benefits is somehow questionable.
Though the black mold is filtered, some people are still worrying that there are still microscopic waste products left called mycotoxins. According to some experts, inhaling these mycotoxins are harmful because it has been linked to many health issues including allergies, chronic diseases, and respiratory problems. Even the artificial citric acid in cosmetics and cleaning agents have the potential to trigger the symptoms of asthma.
Furthermore, corn and beets sugar are primarily the producers of GMOs or genetically modified organisms. If you are avoiding this kind of artificial citric acid, check the label of any product you are buying even supplements and vitamins.
In some studies, citric acid has been found to be safe but only in small amounts. Using organic acid too much will result in many issue including skin burn, gastrointestinal distress, tooth decay, and other ailments.
Avoid these issues by using citric acid mildly. Never consume pure citric acid nor apply it topically in high amount directly to the skin
Studies regarding citric acid aren’t large enough to provide a clear understanding about its health benefits, though one study reported that it is not harmful to the liver and brain function. Even FDA approves the safety of citric acid use.
But let’s admit it, cleaner diet is connected to the small intake of artificial citric acid. Meanwhile, the natural citric kind has the benefits whether they are rather small.