Initially, sodium citrate was used exclusively in medicine as an anticoagulant used in blood transfusion. And only after a couple of decades it was found that the substance has the characteristics of a stabilizer and emulsifier. From this began the use of sodium citrate in the food industry.
Sodium citrate is better known in the industry as additive E331. The main purpose of the use of this food concentrate is to prevent the appearance of bitterness in products and color stabilization. This supplement does not belong to the category of toxic, does not have a negative effect on the body and does not cause allergic reactions.
But the safety of the additive E331 can only be said in the case of strict adherence to its consumption standards, as well as following the instructions for working with sodium citrate. For example, if small particles of a substance get on the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, local allergic reactions are possible, therefore, in the workplace, all manipulations with E331 are performed using protective equipment.
Appearance of sodium citrate is a white crystalline powder, which dissolves quite well in water. Solubility in alcohol is below average.
In the food industry, in most cases, sodium citrate dihydrate is used. Since the substance is added to food in small doses, it is not necessary to say that the emulsifier harms the human body. To date, there is no clearly established daily intake of this food concentrate, since there is no data on the occurrence of side effects from its use.
Undesirable symptoms may occur with drug therapy based on this substance. This is due to the fact that it is included in the composition of medicines in significantly larger shares.
Once in the blood, sodium citrate penetrates all organs and systems, and can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, and decreased appetite.
In the food industry, sodium citrate of three types is used - 1-, 2- and 3-substituted.
The method of obtaining food additives
By E331 is meant 1-substituted sodium citrate, which is obtained by exclusion of Na from the composition, followed by crystallization.
The resulting substance has a pronounced sour-salty taste and is used to improve the taste of food products.
For example, sodium citrate is widely used in the confectionery sector as a regulator of the acidity of jelly and marmalade.
Effects on the body
In general, products with increased acidity can cause internal foci of inflammation, while alkali acts in the exact opposite way - drowning out inflammatory processes. Therefore, it is very important to consider the pH level of each product in order to take care of their own health.
Under normal conditions, our blood has an alkaline pH. To maintain an optimal balance, you should build your daily diet so that the proportion of alkaline products is 75%.
|The share of alkaline foods in the daily diet||The share of acidic foods in the daily diet|
Sodium citrate, entering the body, reacts with lymph, blood alkali and bile. Subject to the acid-base balance, the body copes with the processing of substances. But in the case of a significant excess of the norm of acidic components, not all of them can be neutralized with alkali. In such a situation, metabolic processes in the body are disturbed, which may be accompanied by such unpleasant symptoms as swelling of the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract, headaches, neuralgic disorders, loss of appetite
Speaking about the issue of the benefits and harms of sodium citrate, it should be remembered that negative consequences arise only in the case of a significant excess of substance consumption compared to alkaline components.
Food industry application
In the food industry, sodium citrate is used as:
- acidity regulator;
- flavor enhancer;
- food seasoning that improves the organoleptic characteristics of the product;
- Cheese lover.
In the food industry, all three main types of sodium citrate are used. The most concentrated is 2-substituted. This substance has the form of a white powder with fairly large crystals, it dissolves well in water.
3-substituted sodium citrate is also called citric acid - due to the pronounced acidic taste. That is why sodium citrate solution is a frequent component of lemon-flavored drinks and soda.
Most often, this food supplement is used in the manufacture of food products with a low dry matter content - these are yogurts, canned fruits, processed cheeses, baby food, confectionery, and more.
In dairy production, it is sodium citrate that is used as a preservative in the pasteurization of milk - since this substance is suitable for prolonged heating and does not harm the body.
Sodium citrate dihydrate is an antioxidant and an acid stabilizer that prevents the onset of oxidation or decomposition. This substance is present in significant proportions in citric and ascorbic acids. It is used not only in the food industry, but also in cooking, confectionery and even in home cooking. For example, a small pinch of sodium citrate at times increases the speed of whipping ice cream or cream. Due to its harmlessness, this component is found not only in sauces, drinks and pastries, but also in baby food and milk powder.
The definition of "food supplement E331" often scares consumers, causing thoughts about the harmful effects on the body. In fact, it is much more beneficial than harm. Once in the body, the substance acts as a powerful antioxidant, freeing blood from free radicals. Moderate use of sodium citrate is indicated for chronic kidney disease, heartburn, and a hangover syndrome.