Citric acid is what makes fruit have that sour taste, and it was first derived from lemon juice in 1784 by a Swedish researcher. Some examples of these fruits include grapefruits, lemons, tangerines, oranges, and tomatoes. All the ones that make your mouth pucker when you eat them. Citric acid is predominately used as a flavoring and preserving agent for food and drinks. It can also be used to preserve medicines to protect them from viruses and bacteria.

Did you know these sour-tasting foods have significant benefits for your immune system? Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits this compound provides.

Health benefits of citric acid:


Antioxidants are what help protect your body from free radicals. They are a defense system that your body uses to maintain healthy cells. If you want all of the benefits from this fruit, try zesting the peels into your yogurt or smoothie. That’s right; the peel is the best part! Citrus peels are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, bone-building calcium and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant bioflavonoids. They also provide potassium, which helps keep blood pressure in check, and limonene, a phytochemical that may have anti-cancer effects. Impress your friends by adding a little zest to their drinks.


Citric acid is also known to have anti-inflammatory characteristics, and one way to ward off disease is to keep the inflammation low in your body. Generally, this benefit is found within vitamin C and the same citrus fruits we mention further in this article. By adding fruits like oranges and grapefruit to your diet, you can increase your daily intake of vitamins to fight pain and inflammation.

May prevent kidney stones

Another pro is preventing kidney stones. We can’t think of a better reason than to potentially keep kidney stones at bay. They are painful, and if you can avoid them by eating fruit, it would be a huge benefit to your health. Citric acid protects against this illness by making your urine less favorable for stones and also breaks apart those already formed.

Improves skin health

Good for your skin? That’s correct, eat this fruit, and you’ll be practically glowing. Citric acid is an excellent supplement for treating skin conditions like acne, pigmentation, clogged pores, wrinkles, and dark spots. Because of its known skin healing properties, you will often find this ingredient in beauty products like scrubs, masks, and peels. Vitamin c is a well-known aid in skin health and anti-aging, which is why you will see it in most ingredient lists for natural beauty supplements and creams. Our premium hair, skin, and nails supplement AgelessHAIR contains 300% of the daily value to create younger and healthier skin.

With pros, there are always a few cons to all things.

Side effects of citric acid:

  • Side effects from consuming too much (joint pain, stomach pain, sore mouth)
  • Can wear off enamel on teeth
  • Manufactured citric is found in most foods you buy, and this can have adverse effects

There aren’t too many cons to citric acid. The side effects of eating to much fruit could result in stomach pains. Also, the citric acid in large amounts can start to erode your tooth enamel over time. Companies usually put manufactured citric acid in our food to add taste to allow for longer shelf life.  Citric acid naturally exists in fruits and vegetables. However, it is not the naturally occurring citric acid, but the manufactured citric acid (MCA) that is used extensively as a food and beverage additive. Approximately 99% of the world’s production of MCA is carried out using the fungus Aspergillus niger since 1919.

ripe tangerines

Natural food sources

You can find large amounts of citric acid in most popular citrus fruits such as:

  • limes
  • lemons
  • oranges
  • grapefruits
  • tangerines

Or fruits with fewer amounts such as:

  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • cherries
  • cranberries

Citric acid is often manufactured and added to a lot of items you will find in the grocery store, but we always recommend natural methods of getting your dosage. Fresh fruit should always be a part of your nutrition, so why not choose some of the fruit above and include it into your diet?

Is it bad for you?

The answer is no; it isn’t. If you are allergic to the manufactured citric acid, then you might get some uncomfortable side effects such as digestive issues and stomach pains.

Tooth enamel erosion over time is also a possible side effect of citric acid. It would make sense to use mouthwash or brush after eating fruit with citric acid. It is generally deemed safe by the FDA. Improve your health by consuming sour fruits and zest away.

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