organic acids

Organic acids are decomposition products of substances formed during metabolic reactions. The molecule contains a carboxyl group.

These compounds are intermediates and essential components of metabolic energy conversion based on the production of adenosine triphosphate, the Krebs cycle.

The concentration of organic acids in the human body reflects the level of functioning of mitochondria, oxidation of fatty acids and metabolism of carbohydrates. In addition, the compounds contribute to the restoration of the acid-base balance of the blood. Defects in mitochondrial metabolism cause deviations in metabolic reactions, the development of neuromuscular pathologies and changes in the concentration of glucose. Moreover, they can lead to cell death, which is associated with the aging process and the appearance of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's.


The highest content of organic acids in products of plant origin, because of this they are often called "fruit". They give a characteristic taste to fruits: sour, tart, astringent, therefore they are often used in the food industry as preservatives, water-retaining agents, acidity regulators, antioxidants. Consider the common organic acids and the numbers of food additives under which they are recorded: formic (E236); apple (E296); wine (E335 - 337, E354); dairy (E326 - 327); oxalic; benzoic (E210); sorbic (E200); lemon (E331 - 333, E380); acetic (E261 - 262); propionic (E280); fumaric (E297); ascorbic (E301, E304); amber (E363).

Organic acids the human body receives not only from food in the process of digestion of food, but also produces on its own. Such compounds are soluble in alcohol, water, perform a disinfecting function, improve well-being, and restore health.

The role of organic acids

The main function of carboxylic compounds is to maintain the acid-base balance in the body.

Organic substances increase the pH level of the environment, which improves the absorption of nutrients by internal organs and the removal of toxins. The fact is that the immune system, beneficial bacteria in the intestines, chemical reactions, cells function better in an alkaline environment.

Acidification of the body, on the contrary, is ideal conditions for the flourishing of diseases, which are based on the following reasons: aggressive effects of acids that disrupt cell function, demineralization, enzymatic deficiency. As a result, a person experiences malaise, constant fatigue, increased emotionality; acidic saliva, belching, spasms, gastritis, cracks in the enamel, hypotension, insomnia, neuritis appear. As a result, tissues try to neutralize excess acid due to internal reserves. A person loses muscle mass, feels a lack of vitality.

Organic acids are involved in the following digestive processes, alkalizing the body:

  • activate intestinal peristalsis;
  • normalize daily stools;
  • slow down the growth of putrefactive bacteria, fermentation in the large intestine;
  • stimulate the secretion of gastric juice.

Functions of some organic compounds:

  1. Formic acid. It has an aseptic effect, slows down the processes of decay, decay, therefore it is used as an antibacterial preservative agent in the preparation of feed. It can be used in beekeeping to control parasites, as a bleach in leather tanning, in stain dyeing of wool, in canning fruits, fermenting vegetables, in the production of juices, soft drinks. In nature, it is found in apples, raspberries, cherries, nettles, and bee honey.
  2. Malic acid. As a food additive, it is used in the manufacture of confectionery products, fruit waters. In medicine, it is used to create drugs for constipation, in cosmetology - to soften and disinfect products. Contained in mountain ash, barberry, raspberries, unripe apples, grapes.
  3. Tartaric acid. It is used in analytical chemistry, medicine, food industry for the detection of sugars, aldehydes, in the manufacture of soft drinks, juices. Acts as an antioxidant. The largest amount is found in grapes.
  4. Lactic acid. It has a bactericidal effect, it is used in the food industry for acidifying confectionery and soft drinks. It is formed during lactic acid fermentation, accumulates in fermented milk products, pickled, salted, soaked fruits and vegetables.
  5. Oxalic acid. Stimulates the work of muscles, nerves, improves the absorption of calcium. If during processing it becomes inorganic, its salts (oxalates) formed cause the formation of stones, destroy bone tissue. As a result, a person develops arthritis, arthrosis, and impotence. In addition, oxalic acid is used in the chemical industry (for the production of ink, plastics), metallurgy (for cleaning boilers from oxides, rust, scale), in agriculture (as an insecticide), cosmetology (for skin whitening). In nature, it is found in beans, nuts, rhubarb, sorrel, spinach, beets, bananas, sweet potatoes, asparagus.
  6. Citric acid. Activates the Krebs cycle, accelerates metabolism, exhibits detoxification properties. It is used in medicine to improve energy metabolism, in cosmetology - to regulate pH, exfoliate dead epidermal cells, smooth wrinkles. Serves as a preservative for creams, foams, gels and other products. In the food industry (in bakery, for the production of fizzy drinks, alcoholic beverages, confectionery, jelly, ketchup, mayonnaise, jam, melted cheese, cold tonic tea, canned fish) it is used as an acidity regulator to protect against fermentation, souring, spoilage, gives products characteristic sour taste. Sources of the compound: Chinese magnolia vine, unripe oranges, lemons, grapefruits, sweets.
  7. Benzoic acid. It has antiseptic properties, so it is used as an antifungal, antimicrobial agent for skin diseases. Salt of benzoic acid (sodium) is an expectorant. In addition, the organic compound is used for food preservation, the synthesis of dyes, and the creation of perfumery water. To extend the shelf life, E210 is included in chewing gum, jam, jam, marmalade, sweets, beer, liquor, ice cream, fruit purees, margarine, dairy products. Natural sources: cranberries, lingonberries, blueberries, yogurt, curdled milk, honey, clove oil.
  8. Sorbic acid. It is a natural preservative, has an antimicrobial effect, therefore it is used in the food industry for the disinfection of products. In addition, it prevents the darkening of condensed milk, molding of soft drinks, bakery, confectionery, fruit juices, semi-smoked sausages, granular caviar. Sorbic acid shows useful properties only in an acidic environment (at pH below 6.5). The largest amount of organic compounds found in the fruits of mountain ash.
  9. Acetic acid. Participates in metabolism, is used for the preparation of marinade, preservation. Found in salted/pickled vegetables, beer, wine, juices.
  10. Ursolic, oleic acids dilate the venous vessels of the heart, prevent skeletal muscle atrophy, and reduce the amount of glucose in the blood. Tartron slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into triglycerides, preventing atherosclerosis and obesity, uronic removes radionuclides and heavy metal salts from the body, and gallic has an antiviral, antifungal effect.

Organic acids are flavor components that, in the free state or in the form of salts, are part of food products, determining their taste. These substances increase the shelf life of products, improve digestibility and digestion of food. The energy value of organic acids is three kilocalories of energy per gram. Carboxylic and sulfonic compounds can be formed during the production of processed products or be a natural part of the raw material. To improve the taste, smell, organic acids are added to dishes during the cooking process (in pastries, jams). In addition, they reduce the pH of the environment, inhibit the processes of decay in the gastrointestinal tract, activate intestinal motility, stimulate the secretion of juice in the stomach, and have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.

Daily Value, Sources

To maintain the acid-base balance within the normal range (pH 7.36-7.42), it is important to consume foods containing organic acids daily.

For most vegetables (cucumbers, bell peppers, cabbage, onions), the amount of the compound per 100 grams of the edible part is 0.1-0.3 grams. The increased content of useful acids in rhubarb (1 gram), ground tomatoes (0.8 grams), sorrel (0.7 grams), fruit juices, kvass, curd whey, koumiss, sour wines (up to 0.6 grams). The leaders in terms of organic matter are berries and fruits:

  • lemon - 5.7 grams per 100 grams of product;
  • cranberries - 3.1 grams;
  • redcurrant - 2.5 grams;
  • black currant - 2.3 grams;
  • rowan garden - 2.2 grams;
  • cherries, pomegranates, tangerines, grapefruit, wild strawberries, chokeberry - up to 1.9 grams;
  • pineapple, peaches, grapes, quince, cherry plum - up to 1.0 grams.

Up to 0.5 grams of organic acids contain milk, fermented milk products. Their quantity depends on the freshness and type of product. During long-term storage, acidification of such products occurs, as a result, it becomes unsuitable for use in dietary nutrition.

Given that each type of organic acid has a special effect, the daily need of the body for many of them varies from 0.3 to 70 grams. With chronic fatigue, reduced secretion of gastric juice, beriberi, the need increases. In diseases of the liver, kidneys, increased acidity of gastric juice, on the contrary, it decreases. Indications for the additional intake of natural organic acids: low body endurance, chronic malaise, decreased skeletal muscle tone, headaches, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms.


Organic acids are a group of compounds that alkalize the body, participate in energy metabolism and are found in plant products (root crops, herbs, berries, fruits, vegetables). The lack of these substances leads to serious diseases. Acidity increases, absorption of vital minerals (calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium) decreases. There are painful sensations in the muscles, joints; osteoporosis, diseases of the bladder, cardiovascular system develop, immunity falls, metabolism is disturbed.

With increased acidity (acidosis), lactic acid accumulates in the muscle tissue, the risk of diabetes and the formation of a malignant tumor increases. An excess of fruit compounds leads to problems with joints, digestion, disrupts the functioning of the kidneys.

Organic acids normalize the acid-base balance of the body, preserve the health and beauty of a person, having a beneficial effect on the skin, hair, nails, and internal organs. Therefore, in their natural form, they should be present in your diet every day.