Citric Acid Vitamin C, And Is It Bad For You?

Food and Nutrition is the imperative necessity of our lives. We all taste a variety of food items each day that includes milk items, sugar, honey, fruits, lemon juice, etc. Citric Acid Vitamin C is significant for your body.

But have you ever noticed that all these stocks of food that we eat, don’t taste the same? Some edible substances taste sour, bitter, sweet, or salty. So, you will have to admit that there is a significant difference in their flavor and aroma. 

The Substances like lemon, curd, vinegar, etc. have a sour taste, but do you know why they have such a zest? The reason is that they contain chemicals that are named ‘Acids.’

Acid available all around you:

You will be amazed to observe that acids are available all around, i.e., in food marts, chemical labs, homes, factories, and in our bodies too.

  1. Hydrochloric acid exists in our body to help indigestion.
  2. Unripen green apples are sour due to malic acid.
  3. Vinegar is utilized as a food preservative due to acetic acid.
  4. Sulphuric acid uses in car batteries.
  5. Tartaric acid is used as an ingredient of baking powder.
  6. Whereas, the sour taste of citrus fruits is due to the presence of Citric Acid.

Here, we will discuss an essential natural acid called ‘Citric Acid.’

What is Citric Acid?

It is an organic acid originates naturally in various citrus fruits. Traces of citric acid are found in veggies too. It acts like a biochemical and natural preservative. This also utilizes to put in an acidic-sour taste to foods, soft drinks, and candies.

 Lemon juice has exceptionally high concentrations of acid. The volume of citric acid in citrus fruits ranges from 0.005 mol/L in grapefruits and oranges to 0.30 mol/L in limes. The concentration level in citrus fruits depends on the cultivator of the species. The conditions depend on where the fruit ripened.

Considering the utility of citric acid, manufacturers led to efforts all over the world to find alternatives in creating citric acid with chemical and microbial techniques. Successfully, citric acid was first manufactured through commercial production by the fermentation process in 1919

However, this synthetic form of citric acid differs from what’s found organic in citrus fruits. So here, a question arises, “Is citric acid Vitamin C terrible for you? ” The manufacturer form of citric acid may sometimes be either good or bad for you.

As a result of this, let’s consider the difference between natural and manufactured citric acid and analyze its benefits, uses, and safety.

Natural vs. Manufactured Citric Acid Vitamin C (MCA)

C6H8O7 is the molecular formula of both natural citric acid and Manufactured citric acid. As a result, the presence of impurities or fragments from the Aspergillus Niger in MCA creates a significant difference between the two.

The average customers in the market believe that the added citric acid listed in the ingredients of prepared foods, beverages, and vitamins derived from natural sources such as lemons and limes. But shockingly, the ingredient list is quite misleading as the added citric acid not obtained from natural sources. They are the manufactured form of citric acid and are commonly termed as MCA.

These Manufactured citric acids (MCA) have been used as a substitute for natural ones. They extensively use as additives nowadays, and also their usage ranges from food to non-food industries.

 Surveys display that 70% used in foods and beverages, 20% in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry. 10% in cleaning detergents and softening agents.

 It is a ubiquitous substance used as a food enhancer, cleaning agent, and nutritional supplement. Nearly 99% of the world’s production of MCA is carried through microbial processes using primarily a mutant strain of the black mold Aspergillus niger.

How citric acid formed by Aspergillus Niger?”

Aspergillus niger is one of the most universal and inexpensive fungi found on foods. It is a ubiquitous substance found in soils, seeds, plant litter, plants, dry fruit, and nuts.

The fungi appear to be an unhealthy black mold that efficiently converts sugars into citric acid by the process of fermentation. Generally, by feeding sucrose or glucose to the black frame, a citric acid solution is created. Citric acid produces per annum 1.6 tons approximately.

 MCA by Aspergillus niger is good or bad?

We have discussed above that MCA (Manufactured citric acid) is generated by Aspergillus niger. But did you know that it can cause serious health risks from spore inhalation?

Researchers have reviewed complaints about citric acid from those people who are allergic or intolerant to citric acid, mold, yeast, or corn. It may  trigger gastrointestinal upsets such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps
  • Boating
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

On the other hand, Aspergillus niger also has a right side

  • It is used to stabilize and preserve medicines.
  • It acts as a disinfectant against viruses and bacteria.

Hence, it can sum up that Citric acid is a compound derived initially from most notably citrus fruits. And they are being reproduced today from a specific type of mold and used for different applications.

Natural Food Sources:

Now let’s make it precise about the natural extracts of citrus fruits containing citric acid. Such different natural food  sources are as follows

Natural fruit resourcesFruitsVegetablesGrains  Other
Azuki Beans
Garbanzo Bean
Soya Beans
Velvet Bean
Black Beans
Ground Nuts


Citric Acid Vitamin C Demand in the Food Industry.

Citric Acid vastly uses as an addictive, taste enhancer, and preservative in the food industry. Common Foods Comprising of Citric Acid available in markets and stores are as follows:

Common Foods Comprising of Citric Acid available in markets and stores
Jarred salsas and pasta sauces
Canned tomatoes
Soups (fresh or canned)
Frozen food including frozen fish/shellfish
Many processed sweets
Pre-cut and packaged fruits and vegetables
Baby food (canned, pouches, etc.)
Powdered beverages
Some dairy products

We commonly purchase these food commodities, but they are not real ones. We should be aware of the fact that Citric acid extracted from fruits are genuine. The manufactured citric acid made from the sulphuric acid produced by feeding sugars to black mold. 

Uses of Citric Acid

Despite being produced and used in abundance in the food market, citric acid has other uses too.

Food Additive

Citric acid is most commonly used as a taste enhancer and a food additive for numerous eatables and beverages. It is also used to make distinct varieties of candies due to its sour taste. Sour candies are often found to be covered with a white powder, which is nothing but citric acid. Various brands of ice cream also use citric acid, as it acts as an emulsifier and helps in keeping fat globules away.

Foods in the Kitchen

Citric Acid effectively breaks down the proteins present in meats and makes the marinated meat more tender and soft. It is highly utilized in the generation of cheese, as it helps in clotting milk faster. Moreover, it also comes into utilization in the preparation of sourdough slices of bread like rye bread.


Citric Acid is used in canning fruits like apples, apricots, pears, and peaches as it can easily mix with water. It is useful in the canning of low-acidic fruits. It is characterized in raising the pH level, which helps stop Botulism from occurring in the canned items. Using citric acid in the canning process is essential as Botulism is a deadly organism. Moreover, it is used to preserve several fruit jams and stock cubes.


Citric acid is widely used in the production of inexpensive alcohol. During the process of winemaking, if the required fruits do not contain high citric acid content, it is artificially added to make it sourer.

Beauty Products

Surprisingly, citric acid is also used in making beauty products. It mixes with sodium bicarbonate to make bath tablets, bath fizzes, body lotions, and skin masks. It acts as a cooling agent that helps in refreshing skin. Thereby preventing the skin from sagging and making you look older. Furthermore, it has traits to destroy free radicals and promote healthy skin growth.

Hair wash

Citric acid is added in the formation of shampoo to wash coloring agents from hair. However, applying citric acid for washing hair is not recommended, as it may be harmful to hair if used in large quantities.

Cleaning Agent

Citric acid is mostly used as a cleaning agent in the kitchen and bathroom. But, If you want a home remedy to clean water stains. You can even opt to use a solution of citric acid. It will make your work easy because the stains would be cleaned up immediately with the citric acid solution.

Industrial Uses

In industries, citric acid is mixed in other substances, animal feed, circuit boards, oil, fertilizer micronutrients, and pet food. Besides, it is also used in large-scale industries such as paint, paper, pharmaceuticals, Dietary Supplements, textiles, etc.


Besides being used for cleaning purposes, citric acid is also a good disinfectant as it kills germs, bacteria, mold, and mildew. It is used for removing soap scum, hard water stains, calcium deposits, lime, and rust. Likewise, it also serves as a preservative in many disinfecting and cleaning solutions.

 The benefits of Citric acid indicate that it is an adaptable additive for food, beverages, medicines, dietary supplements, beauty products as well as cleaning and disinfecting products.

Effect of Citric Acid on Our Health

It is noticed that citric acid is a resourceful acid commonly consumed by us directly or indirectly. Let’s now discuss the benefits and risks associated with the intake of citric acid on our health.

Citric Acid Benefits

Kidney stone

Citric Acid act as the natural protector of the kidneys and prevents the formation of kidney stones. Researchers have proclaimed that the more citric acid in your body or urine, the lesser your organ will be affected. Additionally, citric acid can bind calcium. It is useful in treating other kidney-related issues.

Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant properties

Citric acid has an antioxidant feature that helps to combat oxidative stress or free radical damage. It counteracts the adverse effects of unstable compounds that build up in the body. They even cut down the growth of cancerous cells or tumors.

Alkalizing effect

Citrus fruits retain an acidic pH before they are digested. But, once the body metabolizes them, it forms alkaline by-products. These soluble by-products can make the urine more alkaline and have less effect on the pH of the blood.

Mineral Absorption

Sometimes our body doesn’t absorb all  Vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats present in our eatables. Citric acid enables the absorption of all those vitamins and nutrients that are contained and mixed with food and liquids. It acts as a nutrient supplement.

Healthy Skin

Citric Acid efficiently helps in the regeneration of skin tissues. It helps the skin appear more youthful and keeps skin clear of breakouts. It is commonly used as fruit peels, toners, scrubs, or masks that can be applied on the skin directly. Moreover, it can treat several skin problems like mild acne, pigmentation, clogged pores, sun tanning, wrinkles, and dark spots.

Sore Throat

Citric Acid is quite helpful in curing sore throat by a pure and natural home remedy. You can feel relieved from throat infection or irritation if you rinse with a mix of citric acid and water or with Honey and Ginger. Further, It kills the germs across the throat and can control the soreness caused by tonsillitis.

Healthy Hair

Citric acid improves the scalp covering by getting rid of dandruff. It enhances the flow of blood, which in turn, strengthens and mends the follicles of the hair necessary for healthy hair growth. Citric acid also helps in comforting and soothing the itchy scalp.

Metabolize Energy

When the citric acid cycle processes in our body, citrate is formed along with other chemical reactions. It helps to improve metabolism, and subsequently, it transforms food into usable energy.

Citric Acid seems to be quite beneficial, but now let’s discuss that, “Is citric acid bad for you?”

Side effects of Citric Acid


Some people are allergic to citrus fruits, and researchers disclose some common symptoms of citric allergy. Such as

  • Severe tingling and itching of the lips, tongue, and throat.
  • Reddening and mild swelling of the lips and gums.

Stomach Upset

Consuming an excessive amount of Citric Acid can cause Diarrhoea, Vomiting, Abdominal Pain, Nausea, Loss of Appetite, and Uneasiness.

Low Blood Pressure

Excessive intake of citric acid may cause a decline in blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, or loss of fructose absorption.

Infants Health

Citric acid can eat up naturally, but it should note that supplements not recommended for babies and children. It is because acid restricts the absorption of metal like cadmium into the blood.

Inconstancy in urine/stools

 Sometimes, the intake of surplus citric acid may cause side effects like less or more urination, bleeding while urinating, discolored stools, headache, etc.

Hair Damage

Citric Acid can nourish the hair, but simultaneously, it can sometimes damage your hair too. It may result in hair fall, weak hair, hair cuticle, and removes minerals from hair. Direct application of Citric acid not recommended to people having dry hair. However, they can apply a small amount of citric added to curd for hair conditioning.

Although citric acid exhibits side effects, it has been widely used because of its antimicrobial properties. The (FDA) Food and Drug Administration recognizes Manufactured citric acid as a safe substance. In market food marts, it is available in capsules or powdered form.

In market stores, it should note that Citric Acid is generally confused with Ascorbic acid.

Let’s make it clear that though both, citric acid and ascorbic acid, have similar features, still they have a fundamental difference.

What is ascorbic acid?

Ascorbic acid is another name of Vitamin C, which is needed by our body to maintain healthy skin, teeth, cartilage, bone, and blood vessels. It is an essential nutrient and antioxidant used to repair our body’s tissues.

Ascorbic acid vs. Citric acid preservative

Both ascorbic and citric acids are preservatives, and they both preserve foods by reducing pH to safeguard food from microbes. However, both acids are used differently as preservatives.

  • Ascorbic acid works as a preservative with no change in flavor.
  • Citric acid makes food more acidic by modifying its flavor and giving a sour taste.

Ascorbic acid vs. Citric acid ph.

pH is a figure that illustrates the concentration of hydrogen ions in a specific solution. A chemical substance comprising of a pH less than seven is considered acidic.

Citrus fruits comprise of both acids.

  • Lime juice has a pH of around 2.40, ranging between 2 and 3.
  • Tangerine has a pH of about 3.90
  • Grapefruit has a pH of around 3.38
  • Mandarin is the lowest acidic with a pH 11.50
  • Oranges have a higher pH leveling of about 4.35

On the other hand, the pH value of an Ascorbic Acid ranges between 1.0 – 2.5. It is a natural water-soluble vitamin but a weak acid.

Citric acid vs. Ascorbic acid for skin

Citric acid vitamin C serum acts as a skin moisturizer and gives a supple and glowing look to the face.

Dermatologists have certified that Ascorbic acid is a synthetic version of vitamin C that has antioxidant benefits that help obtain brighter skin. Similarly, citric acid, derived from citrus fruits, is an antioxidant-rich acid that is favorable for avoiding premature aging.

People found confused about the difference between citric acid and vitamin C. Many queries and dilemmas related to both are as follows:

Is citric acid vitamin c?
Is vitamin C citric acid?
Does vitamin C contain citric acid?
Is citric acid the same as vitamin C?
Does citric acid contain vitamin C?
Are vitamin C and citric acid the same?
Is there vitamin C in citric acid?

Citric Acid vs. Vitamin c

Natural Citric Acid is obtained from Citrus fruits, which grow on flowering trees and shrubs. Citrus fruits are an excellent source of both Vitamin C and citric acid. Both have a separate identity, and it should note that citric acid is not Vitamin C.

Citric Acid is an organic acid and is sometimes known as sour salt, whereas Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient. Both are found in citrus fruits. Afterward, you may say that citric acid and vitamin c are the same thing. But in some food items, vitamin C vs. citric acid differentiation arises. They discussed as follows:

Foods Containing Vitamin C without Citric Acid

Some non-citrus sources of Vitamin C are:

  • Bell peppers
  • Kiwi
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberry
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Potatoes

Some useful tips to ensure a daily intake of citrus fruits having vitamin C citric acid

Researchers also suggest a daily intake of citrus fruits, i.e., vitamin c citric acid.

  1. Make a daily habit of consuming 2-3 citrus fruits.
  2. Squeeze fresh lemon into ice cube trays along with water and also use these cubes for sprucing up drinking water or other beverages.
  3. Squeeze lemon directly into soda, fruit juice, cocktail, or water.
  4. Drink daily lemonade or lime spritzer.
  5. Use fresh lemon on salads, fish, or grilled meat or paneer.

Other Home Remedies of Citric Acid and Vitamin C

For Sore Throat

Gargle with a combination of citric acid and water can clear infections from the throat and kill bacteria.

For pedicure

  • Add Citric Acid and half tsp of baking soda in a bucket of lukewarm water.
  • Soak your legs and rub your foot with a brush slowly.

For mouth freshener

Rinse your mouth with a small quantity of Citric Acid. But it should be noted that rinsing with citric acid in large volumes may lead to tooth decay.

For cleansing of enamel

Drinking lemonade as a routine or even rubbing the rind upon your teeth, will not cause the paint to scrape from your teeth. It will act as a cleanser.

Substitute for Citric Acid

Researchers suggest for every ½ teaspoon of citric acid, either of the following can substitute it:

  • One tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Or White distilled vinegar


Citric Acid that we eat naturally obtained from fruits and vegetables, but depending on the soil and climatic conditions. The amount of citric acid in fruits and vegetables varies. Besides, it is said to be existent in our human body as body fluids and is alkaline. It possesses a sour aroma and flavor due to which it commonly used as a food preservative.

Citric Acid subsists with increased antioxidants and flushes out toxins from our body to fights against illness. Originally its appearance is anticipated to be of crystalline white solid. Citric Acid is an essential acid for everyone’s collection. It’s healthy, rich in natural antioxidants, improves metabolism, maintains a healthy lifestyle, burns fat, and inexpensive.

However, those people should avoid the intake of citric acid, who are allergic to it. Citric Acid is readily available in many local grocery stores, chain stores, or craft stores.

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