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Malic acid is a weak carboxylic acid. It is an important intermediate in many biochemical cycles and is also involved in energy production. Supplementation of malic acid has been reported to reduce the symptoms of persistent fatigue and arthritis-like pains as well as aid in exercise recovery.

Introduction

Malic acid is an acid made by all living organisms and is commonly found in apples, grapes, and rhubarb. It is typically the source of “sour” tastes in fruits and vegetables and is also added to processed foods.

Malic acid has often been contributed as a pain reliever, an energy booster, and saliva producer (R) .

Health Effects of Malic Acid

Pros

1) Malic Acid Helps Increase Strength and Improves Excercise Performance in Athletes

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In female athletes, citrulline malate supplementation increased upper- and lower-body resistance exercise performance.

It also decreases the rating of perceived exertion during upper-body exercise (R).

Citrulline malate supplementation increased the amount of repetitions for each exercise in male athletes (R).

In male athletes, citrulline malate supplementation improves exercise performance in lower-body multiple-bout resistance exercise (R).

Using citrulline malate may increase performance in the high-intensity anaerobic exercise in athletes, and may also relieve postexercise muscle soreness (R).

In male cyclists, L-citrulline malate supplementation can enhance amino acid use during exercise and increased insulin and growth hormone levels (R).

Citrulline malate supplementation increases muscle efficiency in rat skeletal muscles (R).

2) Malic Acid Helps Protect the Kidney

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In healthy patients, malic acid supplementation led to reduced kidney reabsorption and reduced citrate metabolism.

It may be helpful in treating calcium renal stone disease (R).

3) Malic Acid May Help in Digestion

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In Holstein cows, malic acid increased ruminal pH after eating (R).

It also increases digestive bacteria and enzyme activity and may improve rumen (food) fermentation and digestion in cattle (R).

In the bacteria lactococcus lactis, GABA production is increased when supplemented with arginine and malate (R).

4) Malic Acid May Help With Liver Function

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In rats with type 2 diabetes, chromium malate supplementation improved short chain fatty acid content (R).

Increased intake was correlated with increased hepatic fat accumulation in rats (R).

In aged rats, L-malate improved electron transport chain enzyme activities (R).

Cons 

Organic acid supplementation did not have significant effects to prevent acidosis in cattle with high-grain diets (R).

In dairy cows, it had non-significant results in milk yield or weight gain (R).

Malate did not show any significant beneficial effects in bull calves (R).

Citrulline malate supplementation did not provide significant benefits in the exercise in male athletes (R).

In rats, chromium malate does not cause any toxicity and does not affect metabolic enzymes, learning or memory, or lipid metabolism (R).

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