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Citric Acid types, benefits, and risks.

uses & benefits of citic acid

The Overview

Citric acid is an organic molecule with the formula HOC(CO2H)(CH2CO2H)2. It’s a colorless organic acid with low acidity. Citrus fruits contain it naturally. It is a biochemical step in the citric acid cycle, which occurs in all aerobic species’ metabolism

What Is Citric Acid and How Does It Work?

lime, lemon and orange slices

Citric acid is a weak acid present in all citrus fruits naturally. You’ve probably tasted citric acid if you’ve ever bitten into a lemon. It’s added to processed foods by manufacturers as a man-made version. Citric acid-containing medicines are used to address health problems such as kidney stones.

Citrus fruits, particularly lemons and limes, contain naturally occurring citric acid. It’s what gives them their sour and tangy flavor.

The citric acid in a synthetic form is extensively used as a food ingredient, cleaning agent, and nutritional supplement.

This synthetic version, however, is not the same as what is found naturally in citrus fruits.

As a result, you could be wondering if it’s beneficial or harmful for you.

Citric acid comes from a variety of places.

Citric acid is found in a variety of foods, not simply sour citrus fruits. It can be found in trace amounts in all plants and animals. Citric acid is found in many packaged foods and non-food goods, such as cosmetics and cleaning products, however, it is a synthetic variety, not the natural one.

Sources of natural foods
The finest natural sources of citric acid are citrus fruits and their juices. In reality, the word citric comes from the Latin word citrus, which means citrus fruit (2Trusted Source).

Citrus fruits include the following:

Citric acid is also found in other fruits, albeit in smaller proportions. These are some of them:

Citric acid can also be found in beverages or foods containing these fruits, such as ketchup in the case of tomatoes.

Citric acid is a result of the manufacturing of cheese, wine, and sourdough bread, albeit it is not naturally occurring.

Citric acid included in the components of meals and supplements is synthetic, not the citric acid found naturally in citrus fruits.

This is because making this addition from citrus fruits is expensive and demand is never met.

Citric acid’s artificial sources and applications.

Artificial citric acid is used in foods and beverages, pharmaceuticals, personal care items, and cleaning goods.

The citric acid of this kind is used in the following applications:

Industry of food

Manufactured citric acid is one of the most often used food additives.

It’s used to increase acidity, improve flavor, and keep items fresh.

Manufactured citric acid is often found in sodas, juices, powdered drinks, sweets, frozen meals, and some dairy products.

It’s also used to protect canned fruits and vegetables from botulism, an uncommon but deadly infection caused by the toxin-producing Clostridium botulinum bacteria.

Medicines and dietary supplements are two types of supplements.

Citric acid is a common ingredient in pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements.

It’s used to enhance or disguise the flavor of chewable and syrup-based pharmaceuticals, as well as to assist, stabilize and maintain the active components.

The citric acid (in the form of citric acid) may be found in mineral supplements such as magnesium and calcium.

Cleaning and disinfecting.

Citric acid is an effective disinfectant for a wide range of bacteria and viruses.
It may cure or prevent human norovirus, a significant cause of foodborne disease, according to test-tube research.

Citric acid is a disinfectant and cleaning chemical that may be used to remove soap scum, hard water stains, lime, and rust.

It’s said to be a safer alternative to disinfectants and cleaning solutions like quat and chlorine bleach.


Citric acid can counteract the acidity of a meal or beverage. Winemakers use it to enhance the flavor of their goods.

Products for personal hygiene.
When citric acid is combined with other chemicals, an “alpha hydroxy acid” molecule is formed, which helps to smooth your skin. It’s included in several cosmetics and toiletries to make them last longer, such as lipstick, hair spray, and deodorant.

Citric Acid’s Advantages

Citric acid is used in food, medicine, and other items for a variety of purposes. It may be able to:
Food should be preserved. It’s a method of preserving food for longer periods. In rare situations, it may help to avoid foodborne botulism, a disease caused by low-acid home-canned foods.
Personal care items should be kept in good condition. It has the potential to extend the shelf life of cosmetics and other items.
In the body, they have a protective impact. Citric acid, which is used in medicine, can kill germs and reduce urine acidity.
Effortlessly remove stubborn stains. As a result, it’s found in various cleaning products.
Kidney stones may be avoided by taking this supplement.

Citric acid, in the form of potassium citrate, inhibits the production of new kidney stones and dissolves those that have already developed.

Risks of Citric Acid.

Citric acid is “generally regarded as safe” in food and skincare products, according to the FDA. Nonetheless, some experts believe that additional research is required.

Citric acid has the potential to cause:

Irritation of the skin
It can cause stinging, swelling, or hives when it comes into contact with your skin for an extended length of time.

Pain in the eyes
If it goes into your eyes, it will burn. If this occurs, thoroughly flush them with water for several minutes. Remove your contact lenses as soon as possible if you wear them.

Problems with the teeth
Citric acid-containing drinks and candies can erode the enamel (outer layer) of your teeth. This might make your teeth more sensitive, yellow, and increase your chances of getting cavities.

Stomach ache
If you take a drug containing citric acid by mouth, you may have nausea or vomiting as a side effect.

Citric acid-containing medications can sometimes have serious adverse effects, such as:
Pain in the chest
a rapid pulse
Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet

Contact your doctor straight away if you develop any of these symptoms.

The Takeaway

lemons and limes are both citrus fruits with nutritional profiles that are remarkably similar. They’re high in vitamin C, as well as other antioxidants and flavonoids that are good for you.

Both fruits may be found in a wide range of dishes and beverages. Because of their acidity, they can also be used in cleaning goods.

Both fruits are healthy to eat in moderation, although they might cause mild problems in certain people, such as exacerbating GERD symptoms owing to their acidity.