Is Fumaric Acid Bad For You?
Also Known As: trans-butenedioic acid
Fumaric acid is safe in food. Kidney failure has been documented when used as a treatment for psoriasis.
View Full Grading System
'N' stands for neutral. Things placed into this category are (a) neither good nor bad for you, or (b) lack the necessary evidence to reach any conclusions.
Very healthy and numerous health benefits. Side effects are rare. Things rated an 'A+' are typically necessary for survival (for example, water).
Very healthy and numerous health benefits. A few harmful qualities may be associated, but only under certain circumstances such as an allergic reaction.
Very healthy and numerous health benefits. Harmful qualities may be associated, but aren't usually serious.
It is important to note that even the best things in life can become bad in immoderate amounts. So, although something may be rated an 'A+', overconsumption/overdoing can bring unwanted effects.
Very beneficial to your health. Things rated a 'B+' may have a few harmful qualities to pay attention to.
Overall beneficial to your health. Things rated a 'B' may have some harmful qualities to pay attention to.
More beneficial to your health than not. However, harmful qualities are most likely associated and shouldn't be overlooked.
The main difference between category 'A' and category 'B' is the harmful qualities typically present in 'B' items. Serious side effects are usually uncommon, but are still possible and should be taken note of.
Both beneficial and harmful qualities associated. Things rated a 'C+' are typically a bit more on the beneficial side. Still, moderation is important.
A fairly even ratio of beneficial and harmful qualities. Moderation is important. Very general topics that can lean towards both sides of the spectrum will be placed here as well. Rice, for example, can be good or bad depending on the type.
More harmful than beneficial. Side effects are common, especially when consumed/done excessively. Moderation is very important.
Category 'C' usually denotes to both good and bad qualities. When it comes to this category, it is important to keep this word in mind: moderation.
Harmful to your health. Although benefits may be associated, the bad most likely outweighs the good. Moderation is very important.
Harmful to your health. A few benefits may be associated, but the bad outweighs the good. Moderation is extremely important.
Harmful to your health. Very few, if any, benefits are present. Things in this category should be avoided as much as possible.
Category 'D' is typically for things that are more harmful than beneficial. While consuming/doing something unhealthy once in a blue moon shouldn't hurt, we definitely recommend eliminating 'D' items as a regular part of your routine/diet.
Category 'F' is for things that fail to bring anything beneficial to the table, and are very harmful to your health. We recommend completely avoiding anything in this category. Long-term side effects of 'F' items are usually very serious.
'N' stands for neutral. Things placed into this category are generally (a) neither good nor bad for you, or (b) lack the necessary evidence to reach any conclusions.
Fumaric acid is a chemical that's naturally produced when human skin is exposed to sunlight. It's used in a number of foods as a flavoring agent; fumaric acid is tart, and it lends a similar sourness when used as a food additive.
The FDA and European Food Safety Agency have declared that fumaric acid is safe for human consumption. So has the World Health Organization's Committee on Food Additives. They've set safe levels of consumption around 500mg a day, which is much less than most foods with added fumaric acid contain.
Studies in animals have demonstrated that fumaric acid has a low toxicity. It doesn't bioaccumulate in tissue and has thus far not been demonstrated to be much of irritant. Fumaric acid is stable - it doesn't break down unexpectedly into other, more dangerous compounds - and doesn't corrode glass.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group that campaigns hard for better protections and restrictions on chemicals they perceive to be dangerous, maintains a database of different food additives and scores them on their safety. That database stands with governmental food safety organizations in declaring that fumaric acid is safe.
Fumaric acid is sometimes found in processed foods such as smoked meats. It's important to remember that eating processed foods increases your risk of developing a range of chronic conditions, including cancers of the stomach and the bowel. While fumaric acid itself may be safe, remember that there's risk associated with eating some of the foods in which it appears.
There's a medical application for fumaric acid as well. It's used as a treatment for psoriasis. One case saw a woman using fumaric acid for treatment experience sudden renal failure. If you're using fumaric acid to treat psoriasis and have a history of kidney problems, you may want to have a discussion with your doctor about potential side effects.
Possible long-term side effects
- kidney problems (when used as a medicine)
Commonly found in
- wheat / corn tortillas
sourdough / rye breads
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