Manufactured citric acid is a powerful inflammatory/allergy agent

I great study, which goes hand-in-hand with another one I recently posted about in regards to silica (ubiquitous in commercially sold food products/drinks). Namely, just as that other study found silica to be a potent inducer of the endotoxin/LPS receptor TLR4 even in minute amounts, this study below describes the powerful inflammatory effects of manufactured/citric acid capable of causing chronic inflammatory disease in the respiratory, digestive, muscular, bone/joint, etc systems. One may wonder how can manufactured/industrial citric acid cause all of these issues yet its natural version is harmless. Well, the answer lies again in the deviousness of the business interests behind this product. Since its discovery and up until the 1950s citric acid was predominantly extracted from natural sources such as lemon (and other citrus) juice. However, subsequently, it was discovered that it can be more cheaply produced through extraction from a mold organism (Aspergillus Niger), which is highly pathogenic and can cause severe infections in humans. As such, the industrially produced citric acid extracted from that mold contains fragments of that mold’s cells, as well as other contaminants. That is the substantive difference between the manufactured and natural citric acid, and it is this contamination in the manufactured version the authors of the study below believe is responsible for a wide range of inflammatory disorders. I wonder how many other GRAS ingredients this cautionary tale applies to as well – i.e. malic acid, salicylic acid, acetic acid, various benzoates, etc are all commonly used preservatives often used as substitutes for citric acid…

IMO, this study also directly corroborates Peat’s repeated claims about vitamin C and pregnenolone. Namely, he claims the production process for those chemicals has also changed over the years and their effects nowadays are incomparable with the effects he experienced when he first used them in the 1960s. He thinks contamination in the manufactured versions of those chemicals (analogous to the ones in manufactured citric acid), are likely responsible for the lack of beneficial effects (or even allergic/inflammatory effects) people report nowadays with when using chemicals.

“…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. Aspergilus niger is a known allergen. The FDA placed MCA under the category of GRAS without any research to substantiate this claim. In 2016, 2.3 million tons of MCA were produced, predominantly in China, and approximately 70% is used as a food or beverage additive. There have been no scientific studies performed to evaluate the safety of MCA when ingested in substantial amounts and with chronic exposure. We present four case reports of patients with a history of significant and repetitive inflammatory reactions including respiratory symptoms, joint pain, irritable bowel symptoms, muscular pain and enervation following ingestion of foods, beverages or vitamins containing MCA. We believe that ingestion of the MCA may lead to a harmful inflammatory cascade which manifests differently in different individuals based on their genetic predisposition and susceptibility, and that the use of MCA as an additive in consumable products warrants further studies to document its safety.”

“…Manufactured citric acid (MCA) is a ubiquitous substance and one of the most common food additives in the world. Approximately 99% of the world production of MCA is through microbial processes using predominantly a mutant strain of the black mold Aspergillus niger []. This method has been the industry standard for production of MCA since 1919, long before the FDA’s involvement in evaluating food additives. When the FDA adopted the Food Additives Amendment in 1958, Congress excluded from the definition of Food Additive the common food ingredients in use before 1958, including MCA. Although the FDA has studied many food additives to ensure that they are within acceptable safety parameters, certain additives were granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status by the FDA due to lack of demonstrated harm over a history of prior use [,]. Thus, MCA was considered GRAS and did not undergo any FDA evaluation. MCA is one of the most common additives used today, with applications ranging from food to non-food industries. It is estimated that 70% is used in foods and beverages, 20% in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, and 10% in cleaning detergents and softening agents []. In foods and beverages, it is used as a flavoring, a preservative, an acidulant, and to provide pH control. The growth of the processed foods industry, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics is currently the driving force behind the rapid growth of the citric acid market globally.”

“…Historically, citric acid was first isolated by William Scheele in England in 1784 from lemon juice imported from Italy []. Subsequently, Italy controlled the industrial production of citric acid from lemon juice and commanded a high price for the next 100 years, with peak production in 1915–1916 at 17,500 tons, after which it started to decline due to cost.2 This led to attempts all over the world to find alternatives to its production with chemical and microbial techniques, including commercial production by sugar fermentation []. Citric acid was first manufactured using the fermentation process in 1919 in Belgium using Cytromices mold (now known as Penicillium), but this method was abandoned due to contamination and duration of fermentation []. In 1917, American food chemist James Currie had begun experimenting with a process of making citric acid from mold. Currie discovered that strains of Aspergillus niger provided high yields of citric acid through a fermentation process using low cost molasses as the raw material []. This system was very cost effective and rapidly adopted. Pfizer started to produce citric acid from Aspergillus niger in 1919, and this method is still used today across the world, particularly in China. The molecular formula of the natural citric acid obtained from lemons and limes and that of MCA is the same, C6H8O7. However, the potential presence of impurities or fragments from the Aspergillus niger in MCA is a significant difference that may trigger deleterious effects when ingested. We have done several literature searches and have been unable to find any research evaluating the safety of long term or repetitive exposure to MCA, which has become ubiquitous in processed and pre-prepared foods, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, fruit drinks, nutritional supplements, pediatric and adult vitamins, confectioneries, processed dairy, common snacks, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, detergents and cleansers. In certain common energy beverages, it is the second leading ingredient following water. We provide evidence with four case reports that ingestion of foods, beverages or supplements containing MCA may lead to increased inflammation, which in susceptible individuals affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological and musculoskeletal systems. Although MCA is an unnatural substance and is produced from Aspergillus niger, there has been a paucity of research to ascertain its safety with repetitive exposure over time. To our knowledge, this is the first scientific report revealing the potential inflammatory reactions related to ingestion of MCA.”

Author: haidut