What is citric acid?

Citric acid is often used in food manufacturing, cleaning products, and food supplements. Natural citric acid is widely found in citrus fruits in particular lemons and limes. However most citric acid that is added to products is made using aspergillus niger mould. This black mould feeds on sugar and the resulting product that is returned is citric acid. It’s used in various products and most commonly used to enhance flavour, fight bacteria and preserve products.

Citric acid is a powerful disinfectant and can be used to kill off viral infections and bacterial infections. It’s also used to help preserve and stabilize medical products. Despite being one of the most commonly used food additives in the world, it’s also used in medical and dietary care treatments. It’s a major part of the industry as it can help to keep active ingredients properly preserved. It can also help to make less enjoyable medicines a touch more enjoyable to consume.

Known for its potential to kill off bacteria, citric acid is a great preservative substance. Without its presence, many products that we use on a regular basis would either be unsuitable for use or would go out of date much faster.

It’s also been linked with naturally improving energy levels, and adjusting how well we can absorb nutrients

With citric acid being added to a great deal of products we use on a day to day basis, it is safe to say that regular usage is by no means a bad thing. It’s been shown to be a great product to use in various methods, including for preserving foods and medical items. However, be sure you don’t over-take citric acid into your body: some links show the use of synthetic citric acid can lead to discomfort and stomach pain


Written by Jordan Prichard. Medically reviewed by Dr. Shane Jackson, MBBS. Last modified on 20/05/2020. 


Dr. Shane Jackson a UK based doctor, working within the NHS for 9 years. With experience in both Medicine and Surgery, his time is now spent mainly in Elderly care and Rehabilitation. Outside of his clinical work he has a strong educational presence, teaching undergraduates and foreign doctors wishing to work in the UK. He is passionate about the dissemination of healthcare for all, providing consultancy for health, well-being and biotech startups worldwide. Dr. Jackson is the founder of Acrosophy, which helps school leavers applying to medical, dental and associated courses at the top universities in the country. 

Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.

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