Drugs A - Z
Generic Name: Malic Acid
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Acidum malicum, lactic acid, malolactic fermentation, sodium malate, sour apples.
Note: Maleic acid and malonic acid should not be confused with malic acid.
Malic acid is an organic dicarboxylic acid found in wines, sour apples, and other fruits. Phosphoric acid is an acidulant added to cola drinks. An acidulant is a substance added to food or beverages to lower pH and to impart a tart taste. Malic acid is also used a flavoring agent in the processing of some foods. In addition to food uses, malic acid is sometimes used in cosmetics to adjust the pH.
Preliminary studies indicate that malic acid may reduce injury from ischemic reperfusion injury and reduce blood pressure. However, there is insufficient available evidence in humans to support the use of malic acid for any medical indication.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Appetite stimulant, food uses, hypertension (high blood pressure), ischemia-reperfusion injury prevention.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe of effective dose for malic acid.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe of effective dose for malic acid in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to malic acid.
Side Effects and Warnings
Reports of malic acid related adverse effects are currently lacking. Although not well studied in humans, malic acid may irritate the skin and eyes when applied to the skin (topically). In a homeopathic pathogenetic trial of Acidum malicum 12 cH, no serious adverse reactions occurred. Use cautiously in patients with sensitive skin, eyes, allergy or sensitivity to malic acid.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Interactions with Drugs
Although not well studied in humans, malic acid may reduce blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking blood pressure lowering agents.
Chronic feeding of malic acid may increase weight gain and change eating habits. Although not confirmed in human studies, caution is advised when combining with weight loss agents due to conflicting effects.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Although not well studied in humans, malic acid may reduce blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking blood pressure lowering herbs or supplements.
Chronic feeding of malic acid may increase weight gain and change eating habits. Although not confirmed in human studies, caution is advised when combining with weight loss herbs or supplements due to conflicting effects.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Ethan Basch, MD (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center); Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Falchi M, Bertelli A, Lo Scalzo R, et al. Comparison of cardioprotective abilities between the flesh and skin of grapes. J Agric.Food Chem 9-6-2006;54(18):6613-6622.
Fisher P, Dantas F. Homeopathic pathogenetic trials of Acidum malicum and Acidum ascorbicum. Br Homeopath.J 2001;90(3):118-125.
Fiume Z. Final report on the safety assessment of Malic Acid and Sodium Malate. Int J Toxicol 2001;20 Suppl 1:47-55.
Saleem R, Ahmad M, Naz A, et al. Hypotensive and toxicological study of citric acid and other constituents from Tagetes patula roots. Arch Pharm Res 2004;27(10):1037-1042.