Where is sorbic acid used and what is the harm from it? Preservative E200
Often on the labels of products, cosmetics or medicines that we buy in supermarkets and pharmacies, you can see the mysterious inscription “sorbic acid” (E200). As a rule, the presence of any extraneous additives in the products is alarming. But is it all clear? Sorbic acid is a preservative that is widely used in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. This demand for this chemical compound is due to its strong antimicrobial effects, which prevent premature product spoilage.
Physical properties of sorbic acid
According to the description, sorbic acid is a white crystalline powder with a weak specific smell, it is practically insoluble in water without heating, it is well soluble in organic and mineral acids, it has a weak sour taste.
For the first time this substance was obtained in the middle of the nineteenth century by the German chemist Augustus Hoffmann distilling rowan juice. However, at present this compound on an industrial scale is obtained exclusively from non-natural components by chemical synthesis, but this has no effect on its quality. For the first time a synthetic production method was tested in the early twentieth century. Subsequently, the disinfecting properties of sorbic acid were established and, in the twentieth century, it was actively used, especially in the food industry.
Safe synthetic preservative - sorbic acid
Without exception, all preservatives are infamous of potential carcinogens, mutagens, etc. In this case, the fault is the lack of information from the average man in the street. The fact is that even ordinary table salt, vinegar, honey are natural preservatives and have been used by people for a long time to prevent food spoilage, because at that time they did not even think about refrigerators! At the moment, when the population of the planet has increased significantly, as well as its need for food,manufacturers are forced to resort to the help of modern developments in the field of chemistry in order to prolong the shelf life of products for a long time.
It is absolutely wrong that natural substances are considered extremely safe - it is enough to recall the fact that the most powerful poisons are of plant or animal origin. Modern manufacturers tend to use high-quality preservatives that are effective even when used in minimal quantities. Sorbic acid can be attributed to those, because it meets all the requirements that apply to this kind of products. So, this substance does not violate the taste of the course of the product, does not enter into chemical interaction with packaging materials and, of course, almost harmless to the human body. Although it was first used on an industrial scale in the mid-twentieth century, sorbic acid has not lost its relevance to this day.
So, most often sorbic acid is used in the production of bakery products, margarine, in the confectionery industry, with the release of fish, meat,canned milk, condensed milk, sausages, hard cheeses, juices, nectars, dried fruits, in various jams and compotes of industrial production. Such an extensive field of use is related to the ability of sorbic acid to inhibit the reproduction of mold, which leads to premature spoilage of products. It is important to note that this preservative specifically blocks the division of microorganisms, while not destroying them completely, so manufacturers are trying to use sorbic acid in the complete absence of microorganisms in the product.
Harm or benefit?
Is sorbic acid harmful? Any substance can become a poison in inept hands, it all depends on the dosing. So, sorbic acid when used in unacceptably large quantities can cause serious allergic reactions, which are accompanied by itching, rashes and redness of the skin. Also, when ingested into the human body, sorbic acid destroys vitamin B12. However, this can not be called a serious risk, if the amount of preservative is very small, if it is eaten regularly and in large doses, it can lead to a lack of vitamin B12.The following symptoms are characteristic of this disease: deterioration of memory and brain function, disturbances in the hematopoietic system, which lead to a decrease in red blood cells, a decrease in the body's resistance to infections. Without exaggeration, we can say that such a state is a threat to human life and health.
Sorbic acid. Dosage
Eating sorbic acid can be considered completely safe, while respecting the following dosage for adults - it should not exceed 25 mg per 1 kilogram of human weight. For children under fourteen years old, pregnant and lactating women, eating foods containing preservatives is highly undesirable, since the potential harm to growing and developing organisms of sorbic acid has not been studied until the end, because no one will experiment on a pregnant woman or child.
However, scientific studies also prove that sorbic acid is not capable of causing cancer or any gene mutations. In small doses, it even activates the human immune system and helps cleanse the body of toxins.Although these properties and little pronounced, because sorbic acid in the acidic environment of the stomach is almost completely neutralized and subsequently removed without residue.