Malic acid is a natural substance found in fruit and vegetables – one of the richest sources being apples. It is also naturally present in your body’s cells and large amounts of it are formed and then eventually broken down again on a daily basis. It possesses many health-related benefits such as boosting immunity, maintaining oral health, reducing the risk of poisoning from a build-up of toxic metals and promoting smoother and firmer skin.
Malic Acid: The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia connection
One of its most significant benefits lies in its ability to stimulate metabolism and increase energy production. This action is linked to the important role it plays in a process known as the Krebs cycle – named after Sir Hans Krebs, a German-born British biochemist.
Krebs won the Nobel price for physiology in 1953 for describing how a complex series of biochemical reactions takes place within the body’s cells to transform proteins, fat and carbohydrates into water and energy. This process requires a constant supply of vitamins, enzymes and chemical agents such as malic acid, in order to keep it functioning properly 24 hours a day.
The Krebs cycle is vital to our very existence and without it energy production would literally grind to a halt. Therefore it is essential that you have adequate supplies of malic acid in order to promote the efficient functioning of this cycle.
Malic acid plays a vital role in improving overall muscle performance, reversing muscle fatigue following exercise, reducing tiredness and poor energy levels, as well as improving mental clarity. These actions can make it a beneficial treatment for sufferers of fibromyalgia and CFS (both these conditions involve muscle pain, joint tenderness and low energy levels).
According to Dr Jay Goldstein, Director of the CFS Institute in the US: ‘Malic acid is safe, inexpensive and it should be considered a valid therapeutic approach for patients with CFS’.
A six-month study was conducted by scientists working at the Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Centre in the US, to examine the efficacy of 1,200mg of malic acid plus 300mg of magnesium a day on 24 fibromyalgia sufferers. Half of the patients were given the active treatment, while the other half only received placebo.
At the end of the study, all of the patients treated with malic acid and magnesium experienced significant improvements in their symptoms – including less pain, reduced muscle stiffness and a more positive mental outlook – without any side effects.
Dr Russell, who led the team of scientists, concluded: ‘The data suggest that malic acid and magnesium are safe and may be beneficial in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia. Future studies should use malic acid at this dose and continue the therapy for at least two months’.
Malic Acid: A diverse range of benefits
In addition to increasing energy levels, malic acid is also an effective metal chelator. This means it is able to bind to potentially toxic metals that may have accumulated in the body, such as aluminium or lead, and inactivate them. As a result, the risk of toxicity is considerably reduced. Heavy metal overload has been linked to serious problems like liver disease and brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
Malic acid also helps maintain oral hygiene. It stimulates the production of saliva, which reduces the number of harmful bacteria circulating in your mouth, teeth and gums. It acts as an antiseptic too, which also helps to ensure that germs in the mouth are kept to a minimum and considerably reduces the risk of infection. This explains why malic acid is commonly used as an ingredient in mouthwashes and toothpastes.
To add to the list of benefits, malic acid also helps to maintain good, healthy skin. It is classified as an ‘alpha hydroxy acid’ – a chemical term used to describe fruit acids that are used in many cosmetics because of their ability to help exfoliate the skin and act as mild chemical face peels. This helps your skin to look healthier, younger and firmer. For a natural face peel you can apply thin slices of apple (which is a rich natural source) directly onto your skin for 20 minutes and then wash off with rose water.
Malic Acid: What to take for best results
The recommended dosage for malic acid is 600mg capsules taken one to three times a day before food. There are no known contraindications or toxicity linked to malic acid.
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