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Citric acid: benefits – uses - effects


Citric acid: benefits – uses - effects  What is citric acid?

Citric acid

Citric acid, also called citric salt, is a tricarboxylic acid that plays an important role in the metabolism of all living organisms that compensate in the presence of oxygen by participating primarily in the so-called Krebs cycle. Which is also known as the citric acid cycle,[1] which is the final step in the process of converting all the nutrients that give energy such as amino acids, fatty acids, and sugars, into energy used by the cells of the body to carry out its daily tasks, as 95% of the energy of the human body is manufactured During the presence of oxygen in cells via the citric acid cycle.[2]


This acid is used as a preservative, as a flavor, as an emulsifying agent, or as an agent to neutralize acids or bases, and therefore it is widely used in many sectors, including the food industry, especially the beverage industry, the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries,[1] and citric acid is available in many From food sources, citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, pomelo fruits, and their juices are among the best natural sources of citric acid, and it is also found in some other fruits such as: strawberries, pineapples, and berries. [3]

It is also used in the manufacture of many foods, including ice cream, caramel, baked goods, and manufactured sweets, in addition to some packaged vegetable and fruit products, as it is used as a preservative in these foods to give them a longer shelf life.[4]



Citric acid benefits

 Reducing the risk of developing kidney stones and reducing their size: Kidney stones are a common disease worldwide, and the risk of developing them is increased in people with low levels of citrate in their urine, a review of 7 studies published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews shows 2015, that taking citrate salts, such as: potassium citrate, sodium and potassium citrate, or magnesium and potassium citrate, may contribute to an increase in citrate levels in urine, which helps reduce the risk of new kidney stones, inhibits the growth of existing stones, and reduces However, it should be noted that more studies are still needed to confirm the effectiveness of citric acid or citrate salts in reducing the risk of developing kidney stones and reducing their size. [5]


Reducing physical fatigue: In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition in 2007, and included 18 volunteers, it was found that citric acid intake reduces stress and physical fatigue. [6]


Nutrient absorption: A study published in the Journal of Mineral and Electrolyte Metabolism showed that taking citric acid contributes to increasing the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in the intestine, in addition to promoting the deposition of these elements in the bones, which may contribute to an increase in bone mineral density. [7]


Maintaining brain and liver health: A study conducted on mice, and published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2014, showed that citric acid intake may contribute to reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain and liver, as it may help reduce the breakdown and fragmentation of DNA. [8]


Maintaining heart health in people with ischemic heart disease: One study conducted on mice, and published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2013, showed that taking citric acid and malic acid may contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease. This benefit may be attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of citric and malic acids [9].



Citric acid uses

Citric acid is widely used in many food industries, as it is used as an antioxidant in the manufacture of animal oils and fats, as an emulsifier and acidic agent in dairy products, as a stabilizer in vegetable and fruit juices, and as a degrading agent for enzymes during the production of frozen fruits. Acidity in the manufacture of gelatinous sweets, jelly and jam, and as a flavor addition in soft drinks, ice cream, and as a preservative in some canned foods.


Citric acid is also used in some cosmetic industries; It is included in personal care products, hair sprays, deodorants, soaps, detergents, and lipsticks, and may be used medically due to its antibacterial properties, as it is used in cleaning products, and to get rid of coffee and tea stains, but it should be noted that products containing acid Citric depends on water and may cause corrosion of some metals, so it is recommended to dry the metal well after cleaning to protect it from rust.[10][11]



Citric acid side effects

Safety The Food and Drug Administration classifies synthetic citric acid as generally safe, but there are not yet scientific studies examining the safety of synthetic citric acid when consumed in large amounts and for long periods.[12]



Precautions for use

Citric acid may cause some problems and side effects, including the following: [13]


Skin irritation: The use of citric acid may cause tingling, swelling, or skin irritation when in contact with it for long periods.


Eye pain: Citric acid in the eye causes severe burning, and it is recommended to wash the eye well with water for several minutes, and contact lenses should be removed if worn.


Dental problems: Consuming drinks and sweets that contain citric acid may remove a layer of tooth enamel, making the teeth more sensitive and turning their color yellow, in addition to increasing the risk of tooth decay.


Stomach disorders: Taking some medications containing citric acid may cause some side effects such as nausea and vomiting, and sometimes the effects can be more severe and include dizziness, depression, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, and feeling Tingling or numbness in the hand or foot, and it should be noted that you should contact your doctor if you feel any of these symptoms.





1.      Rosaria Ciriminna, Francesco Meneguzzo, Riccardo Delisi And Others (8-3-2017), "Citric acid: emerging applications of key biotechnology industrial product"، Chemistry Central Journal, Folder 11, Page 22. Edited.

2.     Jeremy Berg, John Tymoczko And Lubert Stryer (2002), Biochemistry, New York: W H Freeman, Page 697-732, Part 17. Edited.

3.     Gavin Walle (15-2-2019), "What Is Citric Acid, and Is It Bad for You?"،, Retrieved 10-3-2020. Edited.

4.     Jeanette Bradley (13-1-2020), "Can You Be Allergic or Sensitive to Citric Acid?"،, Retrieved 10-3-2020. Edited.

5.     Rebecca Phillips, Vishwanath Hanchanale, Andy Myatt And Others (6-10-2015), "Citrate salts for preventing and treating calcium containing kidney stones in adults"، Cochrane database of systematic reviews, Issue 10. Edited.

6.     Tomohiro Sugino, Sayaka Aoyagi, Tomoko Shirai And Others (30-10-2007), "Effects of Citric Acid and l-Carnitine on Physical Fatigue", Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, Issue 3, Folder 41, Page 224-230. Edited.

7.      Lacour B, Tardivel S And Drüeke T (1997), "Stimulation by citric acid of calcium and phosphorus bioavailability in rats fed a calcium-rich diet.", Mineral and Electrolyte Metabolism, Issue 2, Folder 23, Page 79-87. Edited.

8.     Omar Abdel-Salam, Eman Youness, Nadia Mohammed And Others (1-5-2014), "Citric Acid Effects on Brain and Liver Oxidative Stress in Lipopolysaccharide-Treated Mice", Journal of Medicinal Food, Issue 5, Folder 17, Page 588-598. Edited.

9.     Xilan Tang, Jianxun Liu, Wei Dong And Others (14-5-2013), "The Cardioprotective Effects of Citric Acid and L-Malic Acid on Myocardial Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury", Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Issue 3, Folder 2013, Page 1-11. Edited.

10.  Manas Swain, Ramesh Ray And Jayanta Patra (4-2012), Citric Acid: Synthesis, Properties and Applications, New York: Nova Science Publisher, Page 97-118, Part 4. Edited.

11.    "Citric Acid",, Retrieved 19-3-2020.

12.   Gavin Walle (15-2-2019), "What Is Citric Acid, and Is It Bad for You?"،, Retrieved 19-3-2020. Edited.

13.   "What Is Citric Acid?",, 26-8-2019، Retrieved 19-3-2020. Edited.