Malic acid for food
Malic acid is an organic compound also known by the name of "apple acid" and "fruit acid", and it is contained in many prepared foods. This compound is found naturally in apple, and in particular in the skin, and other fruit. It is a so-called alpha-hydroxy organic acid, and it also present in many plant and animal species. This intermediate is the key element in the main cellular energy production cycle, the Krebs cycle (also known as the citric acid cycle). Malic acid is often present in the label of the food, but it is not dangerous or toxic to human health. Its purpose is to increase the acidity of food, giving more flavour, but it is also used as a flavouring substance and colour stabilizer. It is identified with the acronym E296. This acidifying compound is widely used in the food industry and it is generally obtained through a chemical synthesis. It is normally found in fruit juices - mostly of grape or apple - as well as in jellies, spreadable fruit, jams, wine and in some low calories foods. In nature, the malic acid is contained in foods such as prunes, currants, tomatoes and even bananas, in small quantities. This fruit acid is closely related to acid and it is characterized by a sour, bitter, strong and penetrating taste.

Malic acid in food – advantages

The malic acid in food provides a range of benefits as follows:
  • It supports the body in the release of energy from food;
  • It increases physical endurance of athletes and sportsmen;
  • It provides valuable support during the hypoxic phase of training;
  • It can relieve the symptoms of chronic fibromyalgia reducing pain.
For the reasons above, the consumption of food containing malic acid is highly recommended for people who practice sports at intense, competitive or professional level, since it is believed to increase the physical performance especially in cases of lack of oxygen in the cells.   It can prolong sports performances especially when taken as a dietary supplement, during the hypoxic phases of the training.

Malic acid in food – safety

In terms of safety, we should remember that the malic acid in food can irritate eyes and skin, but it does not cause damage to health. On this point, Europe has not defined the reference values for the daily quantity ingested.