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Malic Acid

Dicarboxylic acid

Malic acid is found in various plant juices and is formed as an intermediate in the Krebs cycle, where it plays a role in the complex process of producing ATP - the energy currency, within the mitochondria. Malic acid is found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, but the richest source is apples, which is why malic acid is sometimes referred to as "apple acid."


500mg one to three times daily. Up to 1200mg twice a day have shown significant reductions in the pain and tenderness of chronic Fibromyalgia symptoms.

Potential applications

Malic Acid has traditionally been used for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), stress, tender points, pain, persistent fatigue, muscular pain, arthritic-like symptoms, and for performance and recovery from exercise. Studies have shown that malic acid, when given with magnesium, resulted in a 41% reduction in tender points after four weeks and 76% after eight weeks. In some cases, noticeable improvement was evident in as little as forty-eight hours.

Effective Mineral Chelation

The absorption of calcium is dependent first on its being ionised in the intestines. In order for calcium carbonate, the most widely used form of calcium used for supplementation, and other insoluble calcium salts to be absorbed, they must first be solubilised and ionised by stomach acid. Problems arise at this point for many individuals.

In studies with post-menopausal women, it has been shown that about 40 per cent are severely deficient in stomach acid. It has been shown that patients with insufficient stomach acid output can only absorb about 4 per cent of an oral dose of calcium as calcium carbonate, while a person with normal stomach acid can typically absorb about 22 per cent. Patients with low stomach acid need a form of calcium already in a soluble and ionised state.

To understand how malic acid enhances the absorption of minerals, you need first to understand the chelation process. To chelate, means to claw, it is how a mineral attaches to another element to transport it through into the bloodstream. Each chelation agent (or transporting agent) has a different absorbability.

Malic acid is a very effective chelation agent. Malic acid creates a reaction in the stomach to enhance absorption of minerals. The acid reacts with the mineral to break the bonds with its original inorganic chelation agent. This frees the mineral to bond with the malic acid to create a malate or allows the free mineral to chelate to other organic bonds available in the stomach, i.e. citric acid (citrate), proteins (amino acid chelate) and so on. These more effective chelation agents allow for better absorption.

As we have seen, calcium carbonate can have a 4-5% absorption rate, adding malic acid can increase the absorption to around 30-40%.

Known contraindications

None known.


Current research does not indicate any adverse effects from the use of malic acid in moderate amounts. At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with malic acid.

Use in conjunction with

  • Fibromyalgia - Co Enzyme Q10, pycnogenol/grape seed, B complex, Cal/Mag/Zn


Citrate forms of minerals are an organic presentation to ensure effective delivery utilisation in the body. Citrates are actual components of the krebs cycle. Evidence suggests that minerals chelated to krebs cycle intermediates are far better absorbed, utilised, and tolerated than inorganic mineral forms such as carbonates, oxides, and chlorides.


© Cheryl Thallon at Viridian

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