Malic acid is a dicarboxylic acid with the chemical formula C4H6O5, which has two structures known as enantiomers. L-malic acid occurs naturally in all organisms, while D-malic acid must be synthesized in the laboratory. A mixture of D-malic acid and L-malic acid is called a racemic mixture, which is commonly known as DL-malic acid.
The Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele first isolated malic acid from apple juice in 1785. Its name comes from “malum,” which is the Latin word for apple. Malic acid is a major contributor to the sourness in apples, although its concentration decreases as the apple ripens. It is also the primary flavor in rhubarb and is used to flavor “salt and vinegar” potato chips.
L-malic acid is often formed in organisms as an intermediate product of metabolic reactions involving pyruvate. It also has many esters and salts known as malates that play critical biological roles. Malates are a source of carbon dioxide in the Calvin cycle, and they are also an intermediate product in the citric acid cycle. D-malic acid is primarily used in health supplements, typically in the form of DL-malic acid.
L-malic acid may be produced commercially by fermenting fumaric acid. Racemic malic acid is typically synthesized by double hydrating maleic anhydride.
The uses of DL-malic acid generally relate to the role of malic acid in the production of chemical energy for both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. These uses include the management of discomfort, energy production, oral hygiene, and general detoxification.
DL-malic acid may have antiseptic properties that make it useful for maintaining oral hygiene.
DL-malic acid may help to maintain normal energy levels, especially for chronic conditions characterized by fatigue.
DL-malic acid can bind metal ions such as aluminum and lead. This effect can help to support general health, especially for the brain and liver.
DL-malic acid may help to manage muscular discomfort due to chronic conditions. This use is most applicable for conditions characterized by low oxygen levels.
Chronic conditions characterized by discomfort and fatigue are some of the most common indications that you may need DL-malic acid, especially fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. DL-malic acid may also help with other conditions that cause discomfort in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The presence of metal-based toxins is another condition that may mean you need DL-malic acid. You may also benefit from DL-malic acid if you have infections in the mouth due to low saliva production.
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