What is Sorbic Acid
Sorbic acid (E200) is a natural organic compound, widely used as a preservative in the food industry for absolute harmlessness. Sorbic acid Its antifungal properties are particularly interesting, making it a common use in food products such as cheese (to control the growth of molds and yeast on the rind), yogurt, lemonade, lemon juice, fruit juices, sauces, tomato puree. , ketchup, salad dressings, rye bread, alcoholic and non-alcoholic flavored drinks, gnocchi, polenta, cakes, bakery products, wine, and cider. In fact, sorbic acid is much more effective in slightly acidic foods than neutral ones; its antifungal power is equal to that of benzoates and even higher than pH between 4.0 and 6.0 (the undissociated form is, therefore, more active than the dissociated one). This characteristic reinforces its antifungal properties, since molds, unlike bacteria, develop in an acidic environment and are unlikely to grow on alkaline foods. The sorbic acid, very active on molds and yeasts, therefore shows a synergistic action with benzoic acid, more active on bacteria. To maximize its efficacy, it is important that sorbic acid is added to hygienically flawless products, to prevent the residual microorganisms from metabolizing it by inactivating it.
Despite the moderate antibacterial properties of sorbic acid, especially at pH below 4.5, lactic bacteria are resistant to its action; as we have seen, therefore, this additive is used successfully in yogurts and in all the products that undergo lactic fermentation. Another important advantage of sorbic acid is the absence of significant influences on the taste of food, even if in some sweet white wines it can react to give geraniol, with a taste that is not really inviting. In wine, sorbic acid is used as an antifermentative in partial substitution of sulfur dioxide, which has a strong antibacterial effect but can reveal unpleasant odors and flavors on the palate.
In foods, sorbic acid is generally added as calcium, sodium and potassium salt; they are generally referred to as “sorbates”, respectively indicated with the abbreviations E201 ( Sodium sorbate ), E202 ( Potassium Sorbate ) and E203 ( Sorbato Calcium ). The sorbic acid is only slightly soluble in water (the solubility improves in the hot one) but completely soluble in alcohol; the potassium sorbate, on the other hand, is very soluble in water, but slightly soluble in alcohol; calcium sorbate is mainly used in dairy products.
In nature, sorbic acid is found in apples, plums, and fruits of the rowan ( Sorbus aucuparia ), from which we obtain another interesting additive with a sweetening and anti-aging power, sorbitol. The sorbic acid and sorbates are however industrially synthesized through various and different chemical processes; given the synthetic origin there are no restrictions on food, so the sorbic acid and its salts can be consumed by all religious groups, vegans and vegetarians.
Sorbic acid against Candida
Finally, it should be noted the presence of sorbic acid and/or sorbates also in herbal products and in those intended for personal hygiene, in order to prolong the shelf-life. In some forums, the use of sorbic acid against candida is recommended ; in reality it is basically wrong advice, considering the slightly alkaline pH of the intestinal contents, but above all the body’s ability to absorb and metabolize this substance with extreme ease, preventing it from reaching the colon where its antifungal action is required; theoretically, the use of high concentration sorbic acid in capsules or controlled-release tablets may help. Another solution could be to take sorbic acid together with fiber supplements, such as psyllium seeds ; in this way the substance could be trapped inside the gel of water and fibers, bypassing the absorption in the small intestine ; moreover, soluble fiber tends to acidify the feces, amplifying the antifungal effect of sorbic acid and/or its salts. In this sense, the same argument applies to caprylic acid and its effectiveness against candida.
Sorbic acid side effects
In the body, sorbic acid is metabolized to carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and water (H 2 O) with the same mechanism of fatty acids normally present in food. As a rule, therefore, there are no side effects at the concentrations used; only in a small percentage of individuals sorbic acid can trigger allergic reactions, while its contact with the skin produces an urticaria supported by non-immunological mechanisms, due to a non-specific mastocyte degranulation with histamine release (the same induced by bites of nettle ).