This kind of allergy is very rare and occurs in very few people. Citric acid is found in almost every processed food and found in the market. Citric acid is used as an additive to preserve the food. Processed food needs to be kept on shelf for longer period of time. It would get spoilt unless preserved properly. This approach is appreciated by everyone but the use of a preservative may be questionable especially in a case where the preservative may be the cause of an allergic reaction.
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Origin of citric acid: many people confuse citric acid to be from the same source as the citrus juice with common origin like lemon, oranges etc. But this is not true. Citric acid is not a citrus fruit extract rather it is the byproduct of bacterial action on the carbohydrates. The bacteria Aspergillus Niger, which acts on the corn sugar, produces citric acid. So basically, one of the strong possibilities is that you may be allergic to corn or the Aspergillus Niger rather than citric acid,
The allergic reaction: the allergic reaction of citric acid may range from mild symptoms of simple itching to grave symptoms like anaphylactic shock though these kinds of emergency reactions are rare but may happen. The symptoms include:
- Mouth ulcers: ulcers due to allergic reactions happen in clusters and are painful in nature making simple activities of eating and drinking painful.
- Symptoms related to your gut: ulcers may even occur in the intestines and may cause bleeding inside the intestine which can be a dangerous situation.
- Angioneurotic edema: people who suffer from citric acid allergy must not have citric acid in any form because it may lead to swollen face and lips and this swelling may cause obstructed airways.
- Headaches: headaches that you get on many occasions may not have been due to migraine. The culprit may have been this citric acid allergy. Citric acid allergy is known to be a major cause of headaches as this is found in most of the processed foods.
Diagnosis of citric acid allergy:
Citric acid allergy is a food allergy and its diagnosis is the most difficult as almost everything that is available in the market except for the fresh fruits and vegetables has citric acid as preservative. The exclusion method may be employed by your allergist to see what foods cause you the symptoms of allergy.
Most of the times, you may not be allergic to the citric acid as such, but the allergy is against Aspergillus or the corn content that may have been left in citric acid extract. Even if you are allergic to the mold and the corn traces in citric acid, it will be very difficult to cope as you will then have to depend on fresh food only to avoid the symptoms of allergy
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