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Did You Know These Health Benefits Of Malic Acid?

Malic acid is a chemical found in certain fruits and vegetables. The organic compound, naturally found in apples are used as a supplement for treating various health problems. For a clearer understanding, malic acid is responsible for the bitter or the sour taste of fruits and vegetables, which scientists discovered in 1785.

Apart from being naturally found in certain fruits and vegetables, malic acid is also produced in our bodies when carbohydrates get converted into energy. The natural form of the organic compound is called L-malic acid, and the one synthesized in the laboratory is called D-malic acid [1] .

Malic acid supplements are typically available as capsules or tablets and are sometimes combined with other nutrients like magnesium. Certain mouth sprays for dry mouth can contain a small amount of malic acid.

Malic acid aids in the production of the energy required by your body to function normally, amongst its various health benefits. It belongs to a family of compounds called alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), a group of acids commonly used in cosmetic products which are used for treating wrinkles, dry skin and acne. Malic acid is also used as a food additive to add a sour taste to foods and drinks [2] [3] .

Read on to know the uses, health benefits and side effects of the organic compound.

Uses Of Malic Acid

The organic compound has various uses, spanning from cosmetic, culinary to medicinal [4] and they are as follows:

  • In skincare, malic acid is used for treating pigmentation, acne and ageing.
  • It is used in foods to acidify or flavour foods or prevent food discolouration.
  • Malic acid is used in various cosmetics.
  • It is used as a supplement for various health issues.

Health Benefits Of Malic Acid

1. Treats fibromyalgia

One of the major benefits of malic acid is that it can help manage the pain associated with fibromyalgia. According to studies, malic acid when combined with magnesium has aided in reducing the pain and tenderness associated with the condition [5] .

2. Eases chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

Regular consumption of malic acid supplements helps improve overall muscle performance, thereby easing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). It is also beneficial in boosting your energy levels, thereby easing the fatigue and improving the condition [6] .

3. Improves oral health

According to various studies, malic acid has been proven to benefit one's oral health. Malic acid is asserted to improve xerostomia or dry mouth, by stimulating the production of saliva and thereby treating the condition. In addition to that, the stimulation of saliva aids in reducing the levels of harmful bacteria in your mouth, acting as an oral detox [7] .

Malic acid is a common ingredient in mouthwashes and toothpaste. It is also used to whiten teeth as it acts as an astringent and removes surface discolouration.

4. Boosts liver health

Malic acid is beneficial for your liver health because of its toxic-binding nature. The organic compound binds to the toxic metals accumulated in the liver and diffuses them, protecting your liver. It is also beneficial in removing gallstones because it promotes the excretion of the stones easily through the urine [8] .

5. Aids weight loss

Some studies have pointed out that malic acid can aid in the breaking down of fat in your body. Regular and controlled consumption of the organic compound in supplement form can promote your muscles to function in a way that it promotes the fat break down [9] .

6. Boosts energy levels

One of the major health benefits of malic acid is that it helps boost energy levels. An essential component in the Krebs cycle, a process that turns carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy and water in the body, the organic compound improves your physical and mental performance by boosting your energy levels [10] .

7. Reduces pain

Malic acid is widely used for its pain releiving property. According to studies, continuous and regular consumption of malic acid can help reduce pain as quickly as 48 hours after the first supplement.

8. Improves skin health

Asserted to be one of the best benefits of malic acid, the organic compound can be used to treat skin problems and to improve your skin health and quality. Widely used in anti-ageing creams and skincare products, it helps in retaining moisture, keeping the skin hydrated [7] .

Apart from the above-mentioned, malic acid is also said to possess the following health benefits, although more studies are required [11] [12] :

  • Beneficial during pregnancy, as it is said to improve the absorption of iron - a mineral that is very important during pregnancy.
  • Improves hair health by eliminating dandruff and bacteria.
  • Can fight gout, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • May improve cognition.
  • May help in removing kidney stones.

Side Effects Of Malic Acid

Some of the common health issues reported on malic acid consumption are as follows [13] :

  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Allergic reactions

While applied on the skin, it was reported to cause irritation, itching, redness, and other side effects. Being an alpha-hydroxy acid, malic acid has the potential to increase your skin's sensitivity to sunlight.

Malic acid is considered only possibly safe when taken as an oral supplement due to a lack of safety research on the high doses contained in supplements.

Note: Consult with your doctor before incorporating malic acid into your routine.

View Article References
  1. [1] MEURMAN, J. H., HÄRKÖNEN, M., NÄVERI, H., KOSKINEN, J., TORKKO, H., RYTÖMAA, I., ... & TURUNEN, R. (1990). Experimental sports drinks with minimal dental erosion effect. European journal of oral sciences, 98(2), 120-128.
  2. [2] STECKSÉN‐BLICKS, C. H. R. I. S. T. I. N. A., Holgerson, P. L., & Twetman, S. (2008). Effect of xylitol and xylitol–fluoride lozenges on approximal caries development in high‐caries‐risk children. International journal of paediatric dentistry, 18(3), 170-177.
  3. [3] Tezcan, F., Gültekin-Özgüven, M., Diken, T., Özçelik, B., & Erim, F. B. (2009). Antioxidant activity and total phenolic, organic acid and sugar content in commercial pomegranate juices. Food Chemistry, 115(3), 873-877.
  4. [4] Hossain, M. F., Akhtar, S., & Anwar, M. (2015). Nutritional value and medicinal benefits of pineapple. International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, 4(1), 84-88.
  5. [5] Liu, Q., Tang, G. Y., Zhao, C. N., Gan, R. Y., & Li, H. B. (2019). Antioxidant Activities, Phenolic Profiles, and Organic Acid Contents of Fruit Vinegars. Antioxidants, 8(4), 78.
  6. [6] Pallotta, M. L. (2019). Annurca Apple Nutraceutical Setting Up for Possible Multiple Human Health Benefits. EC Nutrition, 14, 395-397.
  7. [7] Shi, M., Gao, Q., & Liu, Y. (2018). Changes in the Structure and Digestibility of Wrinkled Pea Starch with Malic Acid Treatment. Polymers, 10(12), 1359.
  8. [8] Blando, F., & Oomah, B. D. (2019). Sweet and sour cherries: Origin, distribution, nutritional composition and health benefits. Trends in food science & technology.
  9. [9] Tian, S. Q., Wang, Z. L., Wang, X. W., & Zhao, R. Y. (2016). Development and digestion of resistant malate starch produced by L-malic acid treatment. RSC Advances, 6(98), 96182-96189.
  10. [10] Touyz, L. Z. G. (2016). Demystifying apples in health and dentistry. Dent Health Curr Res 2, 1.
  11. [11] Tietel, Z., & Masaphy, S. (2018). True morels (Morchella)—Nutritional and phytochemical composition, health benefits and flavor: A review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 58(11), 1888-1901.
  12. [12] Saleh, A. M., Selim, S., Al Jaouni, S., & AbdElgawad, H. (2018). CO2 enrichment can enhance the nutritional and health benefits of parsley (Petroselinum crispum L.) and dill (Anethum graveolens L.). Food chemistry, 269, 519-526.
  13. [13] Di Cagno, R., Filannino, P., & Gobbetti, M. (2015). Vegetable and fruit fermentation by lactic acid bacteria. Biotechnology of lactic acid bacteria: novel applications, 216.

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Story first published: Monday, December 2, 2019, 18:30 [IST]
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