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Citric Acid Uses And Health Benefits

Citric Acid Uses And Health Benefits

Posted by Suryamasale on 28th Mar 2024

Citric acid is a weak organic, colorless and odorless acid. It has its natural occurrence in lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits and tangerines. Citric acid is what gives these fruits a distinctive sour taste. The history of citric acid dates back to 1784, when a Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele crystallised it from lemon juice. Citric acid has found its multiple uses in food, cosmetic, healthcare and cleaning industries.

While citric fruits and juices are the natural source of highest amount of citric acid, or lemon salt, figs, strawberries, pineapples, lettuce and potatoes also provide citric acid in smaller quantities. Many manufacturers add citric acid to packaged foods and beverages to keep them fresh. However, this citric acid is synthetic, unlike naturally occurring citric acid in fruits.

It is also important to note, that citric acid is not a source of Vitamin C, which is a common misunderstanding, Vitamin C refers to ascorbic acid which is also found in many citric fruits.

Citric acid is available on our website as lemon salt or Nimbu ka Saat, Surya Lemon Salt.

Benefits of Citric Acid

Citric acid offers a range of benefits across various industries and applications, including the food and beverage industry, cleaning products, personal care items, healthcare, and more. Here are some key benefits of citric acid:

  • Enhances Flavour:

Citric acid is widely used as a natural acidulant in the food and beverage industry to provide a tart or sour flavor, enhancing the overall taste of products.

  • Extends Shelf Life (Preservative):

Citric acid acts as a preservative by lowering the pH of foods and beverages, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and molds. This helps extend the shelf life of various products.

  • Maintains pH Balance:

In personal care products like cosmetics, skincare items, shampoos, and conditioners, citric acid acts as a pH adjuster. It helps maintain the desired acidity or alkalinity of formulations, ensuring product stability and skin compatibility.

  • Antioxidant Properties:

Citric acid possesses antioxidant properties, helping to neutralize free radicals in the body. This can contribute to reducing oxidative stress and supporting overall health.

  • Kidney Stone Prevention:

Citric acid, when naturally present in urine or consumed as a supplement, may aid in preventing certain types of kidney stones. It binds with calcium in the urine, reducing the risk of stone formation.

  • Biodegradable:

Citric acid is biodegradable, making it an environmentally friendly option compared to some synthetic alternatives in cleaning products.

  • Medical Benefits:

In healthcare, citric acid is utilized in anticoagulant tubes for the preparation of blood samples, maintaining the integrity of the samples.

  • Chelating Properties:

Citric acid's chelating properties make it valuable in water treatment processes. It binds to metal ions, preventing their adverse effects and contributing to water softening, particularly in regions with hard water.

While citric acid offers numerous benefits, it's important to use it in moderation and be mindful of individual sensitivities.

Uses of Citric Acid

Citric acid finds application in various industries and everyday products due to its acidic properties and ability to perform different functions. Here are some common uses of citric acid:

  • Food and Beverage Industry:
  1. Citric acid is widely used as a natural acidulant in the food and beverage industry. It provides a sour or acidic taste to products such as soft drinks, candies, jams, jellies, and fruit-flavored products.
  2. It is added to food products to intensify and brighten flavors, making it a common ingredient in sauces, dressings, and certain desserts.
  3. Citric acid acts as a preservative by lowering the pH of foods, creating an environment that inhibits the growth of bacteria and molds. This helps extend the shelf life of various food products. This is beneficial for canned product packaging.
  • Personal Care Products:
  1. In personal care items like cosmetics, skincare products, shampoos, and conditioners, citric acid acts as a pH adjuster. It helps maintain the desired acidity or alkalinity of formulations, ensuring product stability.
  2. Citric acid is employed in cosmetic products to balance the pH level. It ensures that the product is within the desired pH range for skin compatibility.
  • Medical Industry:
  1. Citric acid is utilized in the pharmaceutical industry for pH adjustment in various medications, contributing to the stability and efficacy of the formulations.
  2. In healthcare, citric acid is used in the preparation of anticoagulant tubes for blood samples. It helps prevent coagulation, maintaining the integrity of the samples for testing.
  • Cleaning industry:
  1. Citric acid is a powerful descaling agent, breaking down mineral deposits and scale in appliances like coffee makers, kettles, and dishwashers. It is often used in household cleaning products to remove limescale.
  2. As a chelating agent, citric acid binds to metal ions in hard water, preventing them from interfering with the cleaning action of detergents. It improves the effectiveness of laundry detergents.
  3. In colder climates, citric acid is sometimes used as an environmentally friendly alternative in deicing solutions for sidewalks and roads..
  • Photography:

Citric acid is used in photography as a component of stop bath solutions to halt the development process.

Risks of Citric Acid Use

While citric acid is generally recognized as safe when used in appropriate amounts, there are some potential risks and considerations associated with its usage. It's important to be aware of these factors, especially for individuals who may have certain health conditions or sensitivities.

  • Dental Erosion:

Citric acid is acidic, and frequent exposure to high-acid foods or beverages can contribute to dental erosion. It's advisable to practice good oral hygiene and limit the intake of acidic foods to protect dental health.

  • Stomach Upset:

In some individuals, excessive consumption of citric acid or products containing high levels of citric acid may lead to gastrointestinal upset, including stomach cramps, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.

  • Citrus allergy/ Sensitivity:
  • Some people may be allergic to citrus fruits or have sensitivities to citric acid. Allergic reactions can manifest as itching, hives, swelling, or, in severe cases, anaphylaxis. Individuals with known citrus allergies should avoid products containing citric acid.
  • In concentrated forms, citric acid can cause skin and eye irritation. Proper precautions should be taken when handling concentrated citric acid solutions, and protective measures such as gloves and goggles should be used
  • Drug Interaction:

Citric acid may interact with certain medications. It's important for individuals on medication regimens to consult with healthcare professionals about potential interactions.


The diverse applications of citric acid across multiple industries highlight its importance and versatility in different processes and products. However, it's crucial to use citric acid responsibly and be mindful of potential sensitivities or adverse reactions.

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