Fumaric acid sources, health risks

Saturday, October 28, 2017 by

Fumaric acid is a white, odorless crystalline powder or granules. It is a natural acid present in a lot of fruits and vegetables. It naturally occurs in fumitory, bolete mushrooms, lichen, and Iceland moss. However, as an additive it is produced synthetically, mainly from malic acid from apples. Commercial production of fumaric acid is done by the fermentation of sugar by fungi or by chemical synthesis. This compound is soluble in alcohol, slightly soluble in water and in ether, and very slightly soluble in chloroform.

An article by LiveStrong.com listed the products in which fumaric acid is commonly used. Fumaric acid is a widely known food additive commonly used in processed foods to keep them stable and to add tartness. This acid is more sour than citric acid. Fumaric acid can be found in a lot of dairy products, such as chocolate milk, cocoa, eggnog, condensed milk, whey protein drinks, pudding, flavored yogurt, sherbet, dairy fat spreads and blended spreads. Moreover, it may be added to clotted cream and milk and cream powders. It is also added to cheese products, such as processed cheese and cheese substitutes. Fumaric acid is used to preserve fruits and vegetables, like those that were dried, canned, frozen, and cooked. Furthermore, it is used in baked foods, candies, snacks, breakfast cereals, pre-cooked pasta and noodles, processed meats, salads, alcoholic beverages, and condiments such as mustard, vinegar, sauces, and sweeteners.

Fumaric acid is often used as an acidulant. It is also used as an acidity regulator, acidifier, thermal-oxidative resist auxiliary, curing accelerant, and spice. It can produce extended and exquisite bubbles when used as an acidic substance of effervescent agent. It is also used as a pharmaceutical intermediate and optical bleaching agent. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is used in the production of alexipharmic sodium dimercaptosuccinate and ferrous fumarate. It contains bacterostatic and antiseptic properties.

Fumaric acid has a chemical name of C4H4O4 and an E number of E297.

Other names for fumaric acid include 2-Butenedioic acid, trans-1,2-Ethylenedicarboxylic acid, allomaleic acid, and boletic acid.

Harmful effects that can be caused by fumaric acid

There is not much information on the harmful effects of fumaric acid as it has been generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration. However, a possible long-term side effect of fumaric acid is it can cause kidney problems when used as a medicine. Also, fumaric acid has recently been identified as an oncometabolite or an endogenous, cancer-causing metabolite, according to HMDB.ca. High levels of this acid can be seen in tumors or biofluids around the tumors. It causes tumors because of its ability to hinder prolyl hydroxylase-containing enzymes.

Body systems harmed by fumaric acid

There are a few body systems harmed by fumaric acid. Fumaric acid is harmful for the respiratory system. If inhaled, it can cause respiratory tract irritation, cough, and sore throat. The substance is also bad for the integumentary system. It can cause redness and irritation on the skin. Moreover, fumaric acid can also be harmful to the ocular system, specifically the eyes. When particles of the substance come in contact with the eyes, it may cause irritation, redness, and pain in the affected eye. Lastly, fumaric acid is bad for the digestive system. It can cause irritation in the gastrointestinal tract, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and nausea.

Where to learn more

Summary

Fumaric acid is a white, odorless crystalline powder or granules. It naturally occurs in fumitory, bolete mushrooms, lichen, and Iceland moss. On the other hand, when used as an additive it is produced synthetically, mainly from malic acid from apples. Fumaric acid is used as a food additive in products such as dairy products, processed fruits, vegetables, and meat, baked foods, grains, salads, beverages, and condiments. It is also used in non-food products as an acidity regulator and in the pharmaceutical industry in making alexipharmic sodium dimercaptosuccinate and ferrous fumarate.

Fumaric acid can cause kidney problems and cancer.

Fumaric acid can cause irritation in the respiratory, integumentary, ocular, and digestive systems.

Sources include:

Food-Info.net

FoodSweeteners.com

HMDB.ca

LiveStrong.com

CDC.gov



Comments

comments powered by Disqus