Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate (E481)

Sodium stearoyl lactate, also known as sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate or E481, is a food additive that acts as an emulsifier and stabilizer.

E481 is chemically synthesized by combining stearic acid, lactic acid and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), which is also used in desserts and baked goods. As a result, E481 is a viscous liquid with a white-gray tint and a slight soapy aftertaste, or is available as a yellowish waxy powder.

This class is known as lactylates and includes many different compounds, including another food additive, calcium stearoyl lactylate (or E482).

Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate is slightly hygroscopic (meaning it retains moisture), soluble in hot oil or fat or ethanol, and dispersible in warm water. This compound mixes liquids and oils together, helps firm up dough, and can replace some sugar and fat.

Stearoyl lactylate is considered a non-toxic additive, therefore E481 is approved for direct addition to food for human consumption. In addition, it is an approved dietary supplement according to the EU with E number E 481.

SSL and vegetarians

Stearic acid is a fatty acid that can be obtained from chemical process of hydrogenation of unsaturated vegetable oils or animal fat.

Lactic acid is usually obtained from bacterial fermentation, such as fermented soy products or fermentation of milk. In addition, these ingredients do not contain milk protein.

Although the main use of vegetable oils in the production process of the supplement, the use of animal fat (including pork ) cannot be ruled out. Thus, some groups of people, such as weight loss, healthy lifestyle, vegans, Muslims and Jews, avoid these products.

Only the manufacturer can provide detailed information on the origin of fatty acids. Chemically, fatty acids from plant or animal origin are identical.

Effects on the body

Since this type of substance has a very low resistance to hydrolysis, the main volume is subject to decomposition already in food.

The remaining particles fall directly after entering the human body in the gastrointestinal tract. This breakdown leads to two compounds - stearic and lactic acid.

In turn, these two types of acids are natural participants in the processes of metabolism in the body.

In addition, sodium stearoyl lactate is hypoallergenic and does not cause an immune response for either internal use or external contact.

E481 is used in a wide range of products, such as - pastries (in an amount that should not exceed 0.5 percent of the total mass of flour used), cream liqueurs, various fillings, puddings, cereals, ice cream, canned meats, diet foods, dehydrated potatoes, waffles, chewing gum, pancakes, desserts, pastas, fillings, pet food.

The additive is also used in personal care products (in concentrations of 0.5-10% by formula weight) such as shaving creams or moisturizers for the face, hands and feet.

Culinary applications

Very often, E481 is used in baking, especially as an emulsifier, the most common are chocolate biscuits with berry, yogurt or curd-berry creams. Also during the preparation of creams, ice cream, canned meat, etc.

This food additive helps to process raw materials much better, as a result of which the process of beating some products is greatly simplified.

Among such products are: margarine, airy cream desserts, ice cream, dough.

E481 is often used in the production of cream (dry) which is then added to sauces and coffee.

Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate has a positive effect on the lifespan of yeast cells.

E481 can be used for:

  • test conditioning - makes gluten (vegetable protein) in bread stronger, also increasing the volume of the finished bakery product;
  • extended shelf life - retains its shape;
  • reduced fat used in bread by dispersing fats making bread softer;
  • due to its sweet taste, it can replace sugar;
  • improves the efficiency of fermentation and cutting of the finished bakery product;
  • emulsification - this helps keep the oil and water mixing.

For example, it absorbs water in baked goods, allowing more water to be used.

Usage Limit

Because this dietary supplement is considered safe, there is no official dosage limit for use. However, it is recommended to consult a doctor before using large amounts of E481 for an extended period of time.

Side effects and precautions

There is no evidence that sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate can have an adverse effect on children, including newborns, and pregnant women women.

Don't forget that it's a chemical after all, so it's recommended to avoid it as much as possible.

There is no information on carcinogenicity, toxicity, mutagenicity, developmental teratogenicity in relation to the human body.

E481 may cause mild skin irritation and at elevated temperatures direct contact with this product may cause thermal burns. The additive may also slightly irritate the respiratory tract.

There is a possibility of allergic reactions to sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate. Allergies can be caused by the chemicals used, which stimulate the manifestation of irritation and itching of the skin.

In addition, in case of direct contact with the eyes, rinse immediately with warm water for at least fifteen minutes.

Permission for use

In many countries, such as Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and EU countries, this additive is approved for use in the food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. To date, the situation regarding the authorization of use in Canada and the United States is unknown.