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Malic Acid

What is Malic Acid?

Malic acid plays a crucial role in the production of energy in the body. The mitochondria in our cells are small components of cells which are responsible for creating the energy to fuel our body’s energy. For this reason, mitochondria are referred to as the energy factories of our cells. Malic acid is naturally produced in the process that the mitochondria use to make energy, which is known as the Krebs cycle or the citric acid cycle. It is thought that because malic acid is produced during the energy-making process, that this compound would be useful for helping with energy levels.

What’s more, malic acid helps to convert food into energy by aiding in the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats. Additionally, it helps in the removal of toxins from the body by supporting our liver function, which can also contribute to improved energy levels, and reduce feelings of ‘sluggishness’. Therefore, it is thought that supplementing with malic acid can potentially enhance energy levels, as well as supporting overall health.

When and why was malic acid first discovered?

Malic acid is present in numerous fruits and vegetables, but the most abundant source is apples. In fact, the name 'malic' is derived from the Latin word 'malum,' which means 'apple.' The concentration of malic acid in apples varies, with the more tart or sour apples having a higher content. The German pharmaceutical chemist, Carl Wilhelm Scheele, discovered malic acid in apple juice in 1785[i].

What are the benefits of malic acid?

Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia

Studies have found that malic acid supplements improved symptoms of fatigue and pain in individuals with fibromyalgia, a condition that commonly co-occurs with CFS[ii] [iii].

With all of this considered, malic acid may be of use as a general supplement aimed at ensuring an optimal level of malic acid within the cells, and thus, maintaining an optimal level of energy production[iv].

Recovery from exercise

In animal studies, malic acid supplements have been shown to improve endurance during exercise. Malic acid may also have benefits for athletes looking to improve their performance[v].

Kidney stones

Malic acid is sometimes recommended for individuals who are prone to developing kidney stones because it helps to increase the pH of urine and promote the formation of citrate, which can prevent the growth of kidney stones. Additionally, malic acid can help activate essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium in the body[vi]. However please do check with your healthcare provider prior to use for safety purposes.

Malic acid in skincare

You may recognise malic acid as a popular ingredient in skincare products. Malic acid, a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), is commonly used in skincare products to chemically exfoliate the skin. It works by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells. This helps to remove them from the surface of the skin, resulting in a smoother, brighter complexion. Additionally, malic acid has antioxidant properties that can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, which are known to contribute to premature ageing and skin damage[vii].

However, it is important to note that malic acid can increase skin sensitivity to the sun, so it is recommended to use sunscreen when using products containing malic acid. So, it is important to patch test a small area of skin before using the product all over the face.


While malic acid is generally considered safe for consumption and is found in many foods, taking malic acid supplements may cause some side effects in certain people:

Malic acid may cause digestive issues such as diarrhoea, bloating, and abdominal discomfort in some people.

Some people may find they are allergic to malic acid, which can cause itching, swelling, or even breathing difficulties[viii].

Interactions with medications:

Malic acid supplements may interact with certain medications, such as those used to treat heartburn or high blood pressure. Therefore it's prudent to check with your prescriber before taking malic acid supplements[ix].

Recommended For

Chronic Fatigue , Skin Support , Kidney Support , Energy , Post Exercise Recovery

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