Citric Acid Intolerance

Citric acid is a weak, naturally occurring acid that has a variety of uses. It is used as a additive to preserve foods and drinks. It has a natural sour taste that can enrich the flavor of several food items. It is found in citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. Also, it is generally considered safe for the use of humans as well as animals. However, some people suffer from a condition known as citric acid intolerance.

It is a condition where the body is unable to digest citric acid. The term is often confused with citric acid allergy. However, it is to be noted that both are different. An allergy is characterized by the auto response given by the immune system to certain foods. Food intolerance, simply occurs when a person’s body lacks a certain enzyme or chemical needed to properly digest a particular substance. The body of a person suffering from citric acid intolerance is unable to digest citric acid present in any form. The substance gets accumulated in the body and can cause intolerance symptoms. The immune system fails to identify the proteins from citrus fruits and releases histamine to attack the proteins, which in turn leads to intolerance. The body has an adverse reaction to all foods containing it.

The nature and severity of this disorder vary from person to person. It also depends on tolerance level which differs from person to person. The symptoms often mimic those of allergy. Hence, it becomes difficult to identify if the person is suffering from intolerance or allergy.

  • Skin dryness
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Eczema
  • Itching
  • Skin crusting
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth ulcers

Red, blotchy rash all over the body is often seen in people with this condition. Unlike the allergy, which happens immediately when the person comes in contact with citric acid, intolerance, can take time to show the symptoms. These symptoms depend on the quantity consumed, and the level of tolerance.

It involves treating the various symptoms associated with this reaction. Medication or remedies that aid digestion are the ones needed to manage the tolerance. However, these medications are not guaranteed to work well with everyone. Hence, it is very important to avoid consuming it in any form if a person is intolerant. Injecting epinephrine can control anaphylaxis to some extent, which can be a life-threatening condition that arises due to this disorder. Hence, those with a citric acid intolerance should always carry epinephrine with them.

Managing citric acid is very important, as its consumption by a person who is intolerant to it can damage the inner lining of his gut, resulting in serious complications.

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