The Truth About Citric Acid: Is It Good for You?

Updated on February 20th, 2020
health benefits of citric acid

Are you wondering about the goodness of citric acid? Or are you at a loss as to whether it is good or bad for you? Well, read on to clear your doubts and adapt the goodness of citric acid. Citric acid is the primary component of citrus fruits like limes and lemons.

It is this acid that gives the citrus fruits its sour and tart flavor. Citric acid is manufactured for use as food additives, nutritional supplements, and cleaning agents. However, there is a lot of difference between natural citric acid and the manufactured version.

Both the varieties are good for health, especially the one that comes from natural sources like fresh citrus fruits and vegetables. From doing away with kidney stones to rejuvenating the health and beauty of your skin, there is almost no end to the list of health benefits of citric acid. Read on to find out in more detail.

What Is Citric Acid?

Citric acid is a weak organic acid that was obtained from concentrated lemon juice by a researcher in Sweden in the year 1784. This colorless and odorless compound was continued to be acquired from ripe and juicy lemons until the 1900s when extensive research revealed another source of citric acid. This other source was Aspergillus niger or black mold which procures citric acid upon the metabolism of sugar.

The unique sour and acidic taste of citric acid make it an excellent agent of preservation and flavoring primarily used in candies and beverages. Citric acid is also suitable for the stabilization or preservation of medicines and the disinfection and sterilization against pathogens. Read on to find out more about the uses, sources, and health benefits of citric acid.

Natural Sources of Citric Acid

benefits of Lemon

Citrus fruits are the natural sources of citric acid(1). These citrus fruits include limes, lemons, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, and pomelos. The other fruits that also contain citric acid include pineapples, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, tomatoes, and cherries. Besides, citric acid is a byproduct of wine, cheese, bread, and sourdough as well.

[Read:  Benefits of Lemon Water]

Fast Facts About Citric Acid

Care to know about a handful of quick and fun facts about citric acid? Well, check them out right here.

  • Here’s a dash of organic chemistry for you! The chemical formula of citric acid is C6h8O7. Can you remember that? You can always try!
  • Almost 50% of the citric acid in the world goes into the manufacturing of tangy soda drinks.
  • Are you thinking of going for a body detox? Start with a vial of pure citric acid, as that is the best detox that you can think of!
  • Citric acid can make your skin glow!

Other Industries Employing Citric Acid

Did you know that most industries in the world thrive on the characteristics of citric acid? The properties of citric acid make it an indispensable component of a wide range of industries.

The industry of food and beverages use almost 70% of citric acid, the manufacturing of dietary and pharmaceutical supplements use 20% of citric acid, and about 10% of the citric acid goes into the industry of cleaning and disinfectant agents.

1. Food Industry

Citric acid is one of the most commonly used food additives across the world. It is utilized to enhance the acidity and flavor of foods and to preserve the food.

Foods and drinks such as soda, candies, powdered beverages, frozen food items, and dairy products consist of citric acid. Canned vegetables and fruits also contain citric acid.

2. Dietary Supplements and Medicines Industry

Citric acid is almost a staple constituent of the production of nutritional supplements and medicines. The manufactured citric acid is blended in with medication for the stabilization and preservation of the active ingredients. It is also used to mask the bitter taste of syrups and chewable medicines.

Supplements of minerals such as calcium and magnesium also consist of citric acid as the later enhances the absorption of the minerals in the digestive system.

3. Cleaning and Disinfectant Industry

Citric acid is an excellent disinfectant against a wide range of viruses and bacteria. Research reveals that citric acid is also useful in the prevention of the attack of the human norovirus that causes foodborne diseases.

Citric acid is a constituent of general cleaning agents and disinfectants that are of use in the removal of stains and scum, rust, lime, and grime. It is a safe and environment-friendly alternative to chemicals.

Health Benefits of Citric Acid

1. Bid Farewell to the Awful Kidney Stones with Citric Acid

Dissolves Kidney Stones

One of the incredible health benefits of citric acid is the role that it plays in the elimination of painful kidney stones.

  • Citric acid helps in slowing down the formation of kidney stones and also aids in preventing the clumping together of the crystals.
  • An increase in the concentration of citric acid in urine is a sign of prevention of formation of calcium stones(2) in the kidneys.
  • You can drink half a cup of pure and freshly extracted lemon juice daily to acquire the citric acid and fight against kidney stones.

[Read: Home Remedies for Kidney Stones]

2. Maintains a Healthy Body PH Value with Citric Acid

Maintenance of pH value is one of the most significant health benefits of citric acid.

  • It is of utmost importance to maintain a balance between the alkaline and acidic value of blood. The maintenance of pH value is essential for the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, fatigue, excess gain in body weight, and other health complications.
  • Extensive medical research is still going on to prove the efficiency and success of alkaline-based diets. However, there is no doubt that citric acid is of immense help in the maintenance of body pH value.
  • Drink lemon water every day to embrace the goodness of citric acid.

3. Fire up Your Energy Levels with Citric Acid

Boosts Energy

Physical energy and fitness are the two most valuable health benefits of citric acid.

  • Upon ingestion, citrate is the first molecule that is formed as a part of the process of the citric acid cycle.
  • Citric acid is an essential component of the Krebs Cycle or Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle, which are biochemical reactions that occur in the body for the generation of physical energy. Human beings and other animals derive physical power from these cycles that occur with citric acid.

4. Absorb More Nutrients with Citric Acid

Why take supplements and drugs when you can rely on citric acid for nutrients? That’s right! There is nothing like a good dose of citric acid to make the nutrients get absorbed more quickly and efficiently into the digestive system.

  • The consumption of citric acid helps in the enhancement of the bio-availability of vitamins and minerals. This helps in absorbing more nutrients from the food.
  • For instance, calcium citrate does not need stomachic acids for absorption into the digestive system. The incorporation of calcium as calcium citrate does not cause flatulence, constipation, and bloating.
  • Similarly, magnesium gets absorbed more quickly and ultimately in the citrate form rather than in the form of sulfates and oxides.
  • Citric acid is also suitable for the absorption of zinc from food and supplements as well.

5. Revitalize Your Skin with Citric Acid

Did you know that citric acid can make your skin glow? It is one of the primary ingredients of a variety of homemade and industrially manufactured face masks and face packs.

  • Citric acid helps in the regeneration and repair of broken skin tissues. It rejuvenates the skin by making it soft and supple.
  • The administration of citric acid helps in doing away with fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps to delay the aging process of the skin.
  • Creams and lotions that contain citric acid help in curing hyper-pigmentation of the skin and can make freckles and acne disappear as well.

6. Make the Sore Throat Go Away with Citric Acid

sore throat

One of the significant health benefits of citric acid is the cure of soreness and congestion of throat.

  • Citric acid helps in the cure of tonsillitis by doing away with pain and inflammation in the throat.
  • Gargle with a warm solution of water and citric acid to get rid of the germs that cause the infection.

7. Drive out the Feeling of Nausea with Citric Acid

Ever felt dead nauseous while traveling in a bus or while flying across cities in airplanes? Well, citric acid can come to your rescue.

  • Sniff at a handkerchief dipped in citric acid to let the citrus fragrance drive out the feeling of nausea.
  • Citric acid also helps in curbing nausea by curing gastric acidity.

[Read: Home Remedies For Nausea]

With all said and done, there now remains not an inkling of doubt that citric acid is excellent for health. It is not only indispensable in the culinary department and a handful of industries, but is incredible for the cure of a variety of ailments.

While manufactured citric acid is good for health, it is always preferable to opt for the natural type. Take a teaspoon or two of freshly squeezed lemon juice every day and apply lemon juice to your skin as well to implement the innumerable health benefits of citric acid.


1. Is citric acid safe for skin?

Yes, however, you should be very cautious whilst using it, especially for people having sensitive skin as the acid could be intense on the skin.

2. What vegetables have citric acid?

To name a few beans, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, rhubarb, and tomatoes, tend to contain high amounts of vitamin C/Citric acid in them.

3. What fruits are high in citric acid?

Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and pomelos are few of the fruits that tend to contain citric acid in them.

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