All about Malic Acid
Malic acid is a natural compound found in all living cells, and also found in high concentrations in fruits such as apples. Malic acid is a key intermediate in the major biochemical energy-producing cycle in cells known as the citric acid or Krebs cycle that takes place in the cells’ mitochondria in most living organisms. It is utilized in the Kreb’s Cycle or the energy cycle that converts carbohydrates into carbon dioxide, water and energy, to fuel the body’s cells. However, this energy production process can create by-products such as lactic acid, which can build up in muscle tissue and cause muscle fatigue and reduced energy levels. Maintaining optimum levels of malic acid can help promote efficient energy production under anaerobic conditions.
Malic acid helps the body:
* Optimize cellular energy production
* Protect the muscles from fatigue
* Promote the proper function of nerves, muscles and the heart
Malic acid is an alpha-hydroxy organic acid that is sometimes referred to as a fruit acid. It is referred to as a fruit acid because it is commonly found in apples as well a variety of other fruits. However, it is also found in plants and animals and human beings.
Malic acid is a chiral molecule. The L-form is the naturally occurring stereoisomer and also the biologically active one. There is some preliminary evidence that malic acid, in combination with magnesium, may be helpful for some with fibromyalgia. Malic acid sold as a supplement is mainly derived from apples and, therefore, is the L-form. Malic acid is a naturally occurring compound that plays a role in the complex process of deriving adenosine triphosphate (ATP); the energy currency that runs the body) from food. Although uncontrolled research had suggested that the combination of 1,200–2,400 mg per day of malic acid and 300–600 mg of magnesium for eight weeks reduced symptoms of fibromyalgia, 1 double-blind evidence has shown that malic acid plus magnesium fails to help people with this condition.
However, results have been mixed in studies of malic acid’s possible effects in those with fibromyalgia. In one study, fibromyalgia patients were randomized to receive a combination of 200 milligrams of malic acid and 50 milligrams of magnesium per tablet (three tablets twice a day) or placebo for four weeks. This was later on followed by a six-month trial with dose escalating up to six tablets twice a day. Outcome variables were measures of pain and tenderness, as well as functional and psychological measures.
The importance of malic acid to the production of energy in the body during both aerobic and anaerobic conditions is well established. Under aerobic conditions, the oxidation of malate to oxaloacetate provides reducing equivalents to the mitochondria through the malate-aspartate redox shuttle. During anaerobic conditions, where a buildup of excess of reducing equivalents inhibits glycolysis, malic acid’s simultaneous reduction to succinate and oxidation to oxaloacetate is capable of removing the accumulating reducing equivalents. This allows malic acid to reverse hypoxia’s inhibition of glycolysis
and energy production. This may allow malic acid to improve energy production in Primary fibromyalgia (FM), reversing the negative effect of the relative hypoxia that has been found in these patients.