Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements
What is malic acid? Why do we need it?
Malic acid is a naturally forming type of acid, which is produced both in the human body and in some foods. It plays an important role in the way the body produces adenosine triphosphate, a vital source of energy.
Malic acid is also used as a flavoring, and is often blended with other acids, sugars and seasonings to create new tastes in foods and beverages.
Research has suggested that malic acid helps to improve the body's energy production. Some studies have shown that a combination of malic acid supplements and magnesium may help people with fibromyalgia by reducing pain levels and increasing endurance levels. Researchers also believe that malic acid supplements can treat many hypoxia (oxygen-deficient) related conditions, such as respiratory and circulatory problems, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Few studies have been conducted in these areas, however.
How much malic acid should I take?
Because malic acid is produced naturally in the body, most people do not need to take malic acid supplements. Most studies of malic acid have used supplements ranging from 1,200 to 2,400 milligrams, usually in combination with magnesium.
What forms of malic acid are available?
Malic acid is found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The highest amounts of malic acid are found in applies. As a result, malic acid is sometimes referred to as "apple acid." Malic acid is also available as a dietary supplement.
What can happen if I take too much malic acid? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?
As of this writing, there are no known side-effects or drug interactions that result from taking malic acid. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking malic acid or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.
- A followup on malic acid. CFIDS Buyers Club. Health Watch, Spring 1993;3(1):1-3.
- Malic acid, energy, and fibromyalgia. VRP Nutritional News, December 1995. Published by Vitamin Research Products, Inc.
- Abraham G, Flechas J. Management of fibromyalgia: rationale for the use of magnesium and malic acid. J Nutr Med 1992;3:49-59.
- Domingo JL, et al. Citric, malic and succinic acids as possible alternatives to deferoxamine in aluminum toxicity. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1998.
- Russell J, Michalek J, Flechas J, et al. Treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome with SuperMalic: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover pilot study. Journal of Rheumatology 1995;22:953-7.