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Artificial sources and uses of citric acid
The citric acid that’s added to food and drinks, medications, personal care products, and cleaning products is artificial.
This type of citric acid is used in:
· The food industry. Citric acid is often added to packaged food and drinks. It helps keep canned and jarred foods fresh over long periods of time. It can prevent some kinds of fresh-cut produce, like sliced apples, from turning brown. Citric acid can also help thicken foods or give them a slightly sour flavor. That's why you might see citric acid listed as an ingredient in some ice creams, sorbets, or sodas.
· Alcohol. Citric acid can balance out the acid in a food or drink. Winemakers sometimes add it to their products to improve the taste.
· Medicines. Some creams include citric acid to help clear up skin infections. Other citric acid drugs that you take by mouth can lower the amount of acid in your urine. This can help prevent kidney stones. You might also take citric acid for metabolic acidosis, a buildup of acid inside your body.
· Supplements. Some people take calcium citrate supplements, which can help prevent kidney stones.
· Personal care products. When manufacturers mix citric acid with other ingredients, they can form a compound called "alpha hydroxy acid" that helps smooth your skin. It's also in some cosmetics and toiletries -- like lipstick, hair spray, and deodorant -- to help them last longer.
· Household cleaners. Because citric acid can eat away at hard water buildup, you'll often see it in dishwasher detergent. Other household cleaners also include it as an ingredient since it can help remove stains and odors.
· Disinfectants. Since citric acid kills some types of bacteria and viruses, you'll find it in insect sprays, products that kill fungus or algae, hand sanitizer, and even some tissues you use to blow your nose.
· Environmental cleanup products. Citric acid can safely remove toxins from polluted soil and even clean up nuclear waste.
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