Citric Acid Intolerance | Allergy

Citric Acid Intolerance

by Allergy Guy

A comment from Heather, about citric acid and yeast (see Even Yeast free bread may still have yeast) put me on to learning that some people have a citric acid intolerance.

That lead me to a bit of research, which lead me to Vicy Clarke’s Citric Acid Intolerance page.

The problem with having a citric acid intolerance is that citric acid is so hard to avoid, at least if you eat prepared foods.

Sounds familiar from avoiding gluten.

Citric acid is used as a flavoring, preservative and catalyst for other preservatives. And probably other uses as well.

As with managing any allergy, reading ingredients is a must.

Also, doing your own cooking makes it much easer to manage a citric acid intolerance. This may seem like a drag if you aren’t much of a cook, but the good news is that (a) this forces you towards a more healthy diet and (b) it really isn’t that hard to learn how to cook.

Vitamin B5 may help reduce reactions should you accidentally eat a citric acid containing food. This is confirmed.

External Links

These links are to a static website that appears unmaintained, although it has very useful information. Please let me know if the links stop working.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Donna March 20, 2015 at 15:54

I too am allergic to Citric Acid. Been dealing with this for 30 years. In the beginning it was just fresh Citric – oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit, and pineapple. If my lips touched it – they would blow up with cold scores. Taking weeks to heal. As things progressed, if I ate Citric Acid – which happens to be in about EVERYTHING, my mouth would become red in the corners – looked like I had clown lips. I did some major cleansing with a Doctor many years ago and things got better. But, I still could not eat citric acid. And, now it has progressed again. I am having reactions to my face. I am now looking for products for cleaning and moisturizing my face. And, I am finding that to be difficult. A lot of Ingredients have it hidden within other ingredients.
Glad to know I am not the only one out here! Welcome to my world.


2 Joyce January 26, 2015 at 11:18

I also have a allergy to citric acid.


3 Donnie March 3, 2013 at 18:21

I am severely allergic to corn, and most all of the citric acid that is added to food products, and non-food products, is made from corn. Most people think it is made from citrus fruits, but it is usually from corn. I have to avoid citric acid in everything, because of my corn allergy. I am not allergic to citrus fruits.


4 Sue May 14, 2012 at 14:13

Citric Acid effects my lips, the craziest thing. Started when I was 18 went to the Dr. to no avail, they could come up with nothing, had to do my own investigation and diagnosis. For several years, I was reduced to water and milk. Oranges was my favorite fruit and orange soda was my favorite drink, haven’t had them in years. I love fruit and hate I have monitor my intake of them. the weird part is – if the fruit or drink doens’t touch my lips i’m good and I have to drink a large cup of water to clean my mouth out and I have to coat my lips with large amounts of Carmex. If anything, I have to eat dry fruits and now I think I am allergic to benzoic acid in certain mouthwashes – it is really frustrating.


5 Lee December 19, 2011 at 20:06

Incase anyone is interested I have found replacing tomatoes with pumpkin works really well believe it or not, we purée pumpkin and freeze it to use in sauces and on pizza bases etc.


6 Lee December 19, 2011 at 19:51

6months ago I realized my son reacts to citric acid after he had constant bouts of eczema and scaly skin particularly on his upper feet, we finally found out what it was after he drank orange juice one day and had such a reaction he got puffy and had trouble breathing and was very lethargic. Previously his skin had wilted where tomato based sauces touched his skin. After investigating on the Internet I realized its citric acid! We’ve had him allergy tested only to come up negative to everything tested but there is no c.a test! Told by the allergist he was run down and probably had a virus my gut instinct went into overdrive and by eliminating c.a and noting all symptoms clearing up within days and finding my bub was actually meant to have baby soft skin I am without doubt that is what it is. I have since tested him and occasionally slipped up on what he eats but I can always trace back to a food with c.a. We have noticed it is a build up in his system and if I’m strict with his diet he can tolerate small quantities if we’re out where it is so hard to avoid and when his system is clear he can have nearly all natural c.a but he can’t tolerate natural if his body has a build up. Thankfully I love cooking but I feel so sorry for all the junk food he will miss or get sick from at parties etc. I will look into b5 and another site listed lysine I will look into that too.


7 Cheyenne August 10, 2011 at 02:15

I’ve always had an intolerance to fruit with a lot of citric acid, but it has gotten worse with age, to the point where i can no longer eat anything with citric acid in it. I’m VERY glad to know that B5 might help! something that always helps me when I eat something that bothers me, is milk. it’s the only thing I’ve found to help me when my symptoms are getting worse.


8 Serene Kay August 6, 2011 at 03:28

It’s starting to make sense now… not only do I have to avoid gluten/wheat (which is in everything), and soy (which is also in everything), but also citric acid (which seems to be in everything else). I though salsa and corn chips were a safe bet… but not really since the bloating, insatiable appetite, skin rash, GI pain, brain fog, etc. all come back with a bit of citric acid. Pretty soon, I’m going to just be eating rice and water b/c everything else hurts. 🙁 I’m not really into relying on one food source… but bring on the vermicelli.


9 restorationgirl March 8, 2011 at 23:30

Have had increasingly worsening chronic fatigue for 12 yrs. When I eat strictly meat (no breading), vegetables with butter and drink water (I’m not kidding you = this is all I eat.) I notice an improvement in my energy to the point last night where I made myself dinner, took a 1-mile walk, vacuumed the whole house, went back around to do the baseboards w/ attachment, dusted, did a load of wash, did a deep sink full of dishes, wiped the kitchen countertops off and had energy to burn last night – had trouble falling asleep! Now, last night I had lemon on my fish, today I ate some Organic plain yogurt & didnt check the ingreds and it contains citric acid! I also had mayo on my burger and it contains soy, wheat and citic acid! I fell into a deep sleep for at least 3 hours, feel groggy, head has slight pounding heartbeat in it, brain is in a deep fog, lethargic, slow-moving, etc. When I try a piece of bread my heartburn comes back in full force. I didn’t even have bread and my heartburn I have today for the first time in 3 weeks must be from the citric acid I consummed. When I’m strict I notice substantial improvement within a relatively short amount of time, when I mess up it comes back with a vengance, but I think I’ll recover well and within 3 days I’ll start to be able to stay awake all day again & then get back to being energized again. I am so grateful I took the time to seek out ‘who is the real God?’ and have Jesus because otherwise I think I’d go insane: in a coma-like sleep every day – no boyfriend, unmarried, losing friendships, not being able wake up or think clearly enought to work, having my 74 yr old dad have to ‘care’ for me (embarassing and won’t last forever!) and seeing that as my future till the day I die. That would be totally hopeless if my hope weren’t in the Lord! He turns my mourning into joy.


10 Tecia September 20, 2010 at 11:14

I started having problems with citric acid almost 20 years ago. It generally doesn’t bother me too much, just have to be careful with fruit flavored candies, Starbursts give me an instant headache, and other high citric acid foods. I made jam this last weekend, and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I felt like my head was separated from my body, my stomach made incredible noise and had all kinds of intestinal reactions, I was irritable and altogether unpleasant to be around, I had a headache and felt incredibly flushed for an entire day. Halfway through the day I realized that the pectin I was using to make the jam is powdered citric acid and I had been breathing it straight for the entire bout of 6 batches of jam. Well, I think I will leave that part of jam making to my daughter from now on. Guess I better start reading packages more carefully.


11 Nancy September 1, 2010 at 10:17

I am very allergic to citric acid and was hospitalized twice this year. Intestinal bleeding and vomiting were very scarey and I was thought to have bacterial infections. Expensive antibiotics were used to no avail – it helped but the pain and bloating kept coming back. It appears as IBS and gastritis too. I tried a limited diet of fibers and yogurts (plain or blueberry) just to feel better – not sure yet what was wrong – and had good success. I then ate a salad and lemon juice and tomatoes and immediately had facial pain, mouth pain, itchy scalp and headaches. Then my arm and elbow started aching and of course my intestinal reactions bagen. It became so clear it was the lemon but I never knew about lettuce too. It is maddening when you are trying to eat “healthy” and feel worse. I was so sick all this year. I am very happy to know I can control this source of pain and bloating with my diet. Now I am mourning the loss of diet pop, salads, and so many other foods. Watermelon makes me feel great though! Ginger tea – hot or cold. Yogurt – careful of flavored ones. Glad I can still eat bleberries and sweet pepprers!


12 jill August 17, 2010 at 07:24

I too have this. Just have to point at bad information on citric free recipes.

In fact, bananas contain much more citric acid than ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). A ripe banana contains 319 mg of citric acid — that’s 29 times the amount of the ascorbic acid in the banana! But the predominant organic acid in a banana is malic acid (425 mg).


13 Guest March 29, 2010 at 18:13

I too have this intolerance!

I too have this intolerance!


14 Guest March 25, 2010 at 20:35

Thank you

I have citric acid intolerance. Thank you for the links and the information about Vitamin B5!


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