Citric acid is a weak organic acid that occurs naturally in citrus fruits. It is also an antioxidant and acidifier. It is one of the most common additives used in the food and beverage industry as a chelating, flavoring, antimicrobial, and preservation agent. Its primary biological function is to serve as an intermediate in the citric acid cycle (CAC), also known as the Krebs cycle.
Citric acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are both weak acids found in citrus fruits. They both exert antimicrobial and antioxidant effects, too. However, vitamin C is an essential nutrient, whereas citric acid is not.
The Krebs cycle is the primary pathway for aerobic energy production and the most important metabolic pathway for supplying the body with energy. The body synthesizes citric acid in the form of citrate during the first step of this cycle. Scientists named the CAC after citric acid because it consumes and regenerates citrate to complete the cycle.
Citric acid has potent chelating properties that make it useful as a cleaning aid. It helps remove limescale buildup by binding to the metal and making it soluble, thereby easier to remove. Research also shows that a 6% concentration of citric acid is effective at removing hard water stains on glassware without scrubbing, and many industries use it to remove rust from steel. Citric acid has antimicrobial and antiviral properties, too. Manufacturers now include it as an active ingredient in antiviral facial tissues. Citric acid is also useful for disinfecting surfaces contaminated by bacteria or viruses.
Citric acid is a weak acid in general, but it’s one of the strongest edible ones. The food and beverage industry uses it to increase food acidity, enhance flavors, and preserve foods for longer. For example, manufacturers can add citric acid to ice cream to keep the fats from separating. It’s also effective at preventing caramel sugars from crystallizing and can replace fresh lemon juice in most recipes. Citric acid is a popular ingredient among food canning enthusiasts as well. It can protect canned fruits and vegetables against certain bacteria due to its antimicrobial properties. Adding citrate to certain mineral dietary supplements can enhance absorption, such as calcium citrate and magnesium citrate.
PureBulk carries numerous products that individuals can use as a preservative while canning goods or making serums at home. These include:
Each supplement has unique properties that may provide additional benefits.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status for citric acid. Some individuals may experience a sore throat or stomach pain if they overconsume citric acid. Concentrated citric acid may irritate the skin and eyes. Drinks and foods containing citric acid can wear away tooth enamel over time. Most citric acid side effects occur from exceeding the recommended dosage.
*NOTE: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.