Citric Acid Intolerance and possible remedy for those with similar symptoms

I may have identified the root cause and discovered a remedy to a medically unidentified disease known on the web as Citric Acid Intolerance. Here’s the story and the remedy. I hope it helps you.

Discussed in this post:

My initial symptoms and diagnosis of Citric Acid Intolerance

In my mid-twenties I began suffering terrible, painful gastrointestinal problems that I soon attributed to acidic foods. That theory mostly held but not always. I could only live my life, get out the door, and not constantly worry about finding the nearest bathroom by keeping a strict diet of completely plain foods.

Plain, as in baked or grilled or steamed; no seasoning but salt; no complicated ingredients;  water or seltzer to wash it down. That could mean a burger with lettuce, no sauces, no tomatoes and no onions. It meant a salad of lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers with oil but no vinegar. It’s harder than it sounds and eating was difficult. Eating at a restaurant was nerve-racking. I ate like this for years but at least I got some of my life back.

All the while I disagreed with doctors who diagnosed me with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and were lobbing random medicines to see what worked, including prescription medications with side-effects and even antacids. One doctor told me IBS was “a wastebasket diagnosis,” meaning if they did not know what the digestive problem was, it was IBS. I was not content with this hopeless life sentence. Since I had some control over the symptoms through diet, I had reason to believe there was a pattern that hadn’t been identified.

Isolating Citric Acid (and Acetic Acid)

I was Buddha-like in my dietary vigilance and therefore was able to test methodically. Since my plain diet left me symptomless, I was able to use this to determine what specifically was affecting me by adding on occasion a questionable ingredient to my food and assessing the outcome. A few key things became clear:

  • Upon ingestion of problem foods and ingredients, symptoms did not manifest for at least a day, usually two. This happened consistently suggesting that my problem was not a digestive problem. If it was, the pains would have come within hours not days.
  • There were ingredients and foods that were affecting me that at the time I did not consider acidic included sushi (not sashimi), mayonnaise, and canned foods like artichokes hearts and beans (but not all brands, surprisingly).
  • There were ingredients and foods that I thought would affect me but didn’t such as coffee, apples, grapes, black pepper, and soy sauce (without naturally occurring alcohol).
  • Foods and ingredients previously suspected were confirmed to be problems, such as tomatoes (especially cooked or canned), onions, mustard, sodas, and salad dressings.

Since initially this did not entirely make sense, I kept track of every ingredient in every can or jar of whatever I was eating. I also researched fruits and vegetables to determine what exactly was inside them. Eventually this led me to my first discovery: there were only three things affecting me: citric acid, acetic acid (vinegar), and alcohol.

At first I thought citric acid was specifically the issue, so I began my internet search to figure out if anything had been written about such a problem, what could be done, and who else is suffering from it. There was not a lot out there but what I found was:

  • The citric acid cycle is a critical metabolic process for energy production in organisms and occurs at the cellular level. Says Wikipedia’s Citric Acid Cycle page, “This series of chemical reactions is central to nearly all metabolic reactions, and is the source of two-thirds of the food-derived energy in higher organisms.”
  • There is a lot of talk about citric acid allergies, which is not the same thing. Allergic reactions are an immune response that usually manifest immediately, not a day later.
  • Eventually I discovered Vicky Clarke’s page on what she calls Citric Acid Intolerance, a brave woman from England – the one person that corroborated my suspicions and documented her very similar (albeit more severe) plight in great detail. To find someone else who had been on this journey made me realize I was not imagining things – I was right! I wish I knew how to reach out to her to say thank you.

The Citric Acid Cycle, the metabolic connection

Note the Acetyl and Citrate, resulting from Acetic Acid and Citric Acid, respectively, and their relation to Coenzyme A (CoA). This might be where Citric Acid Intolerance is rooted. Credit Wikipedia, authored by Narayanese, WikiUserPedia, YassineMrabet, TotoBaggins Note the Acetyl and Citrate, from Acetic Acid and Citric Acid, respectively, and their relation to Coenzyme A (CoA).
Credit Wikipedia, authored by Narayanese, WikiUserPedia, YassineMrabet, TotoBaggins

Eventually I deduced that the problem was dysfunctional metabolization related to the Citric Acid Cycle. Continued research showed that alcohol broke down into acetic acid, and both citric acid and acetic acid are integral to the Citric Acid Cycle (Krebs Cycle), specifically with relation to interactions with Coenzyme-A, a critical component of the the cycle. I surmised that this process was malfunctioning within me.

Of course, I was not entirely sure and this line of thinking was probably a stretch considering my limited medical knowledge. However, it is a hypothesis that I feel I have since adequately proven.

(Furthermore, I believe the outcome of this Citric Acid Cycle malfunction is the production of an irritant that was causing the pain. I later found a research paper linking elevated levels of pyruvate from the citric acid cycle in stool samples from patients with IBD (inflammatory bowel disorder), so this part of the hypothesis is not without reason but not proven.)

With the confidence that the Citric Acid Cycle was the issue I turned to another part of the puzzle I had discovered, that vitamin B5 had beneficial effects that eased my symptoms. Regular intake offered some flexibility in my food consumption but not much.

Vitamin B5 and Coenzyme A alleviate Citric Acid Intolerance

At around the same time I was discovering the benefits of vitamin B5, Vicky Clarke updated her page to include mention of the same. More vindication; I was on the right path!

Research into vitamin B5 revealed something that gave me further confidence in this direction. Vitamin B5, known as pantothenic acid, is also a critical component of Coenzyme A synthesization. One more thing pointing to the Citric Acid Cycle.

Coenzyme A is not like the lactose enzyme; you can’t just ingest coenzyme A, your body has to make it. So I needed to determine what supplements were necessary to help my body create more coenzyme A. I was fortunate to find that there was one lab that creates an over-the-counter supplement engineered for this, called Pure Coenzyme A. Although marketed as an energy boosting aid (and obviously not containing pure coenzyme A), it had the combination of supplements needed including pantothenic acid, pyruvate, and amino acids. I had nothing to lose by trying.

Testing the theoretical remedy

I took one pill daily for three months before I experimented with eating citric acid- and acetic acid-rich foods. I still remember the terror of eating that first pizza slice. At that point I had not eaten pizza in years and so savored it, all the while dreading what may happen in a day or two. But the pain never came. It never came!

As an extension of my food testing, for the next few weeks I experimented with one problem ingredient or food every few days. Eventually I hit a limit of how much I could eat but even then the pain wasn’t so bad. So I started taking two pills a day. And then even that limit broke.

After a while two pills a day was too much and I moved back to one a day. There are days now that I skip the supplement intake entirely. I still need to take it but I have no dietary restrictions anymore. I eat everything without concern. There is no more pain.

(One point of clarification I want to make in my thinking here: I assumed when I was testing that the number of supplements I took would have a direct correlation to the amount of citric acid I could consume. However, I eventually realized that there wasn’t a one-to-one correlation between the pills and the food. It seems that maintaining adequate levels of these substances within me is necessary to promote proper metabolization and has little to do with the number of pills and the amount of CA ingested.

The initial limits I faced with just the one pill were probably due to the fact that my body still didn’t have enough of the supplements. Moving to two pill most likely rectified that. I then had to reduce when I felt like I was probably taking too much. My body is probably at a comfortable level now as long as I take the supplements regularly.)


I repeat: I have no dietary restrictions at all. None at all!

Ten years after I first experienced symptoms, I got my life back. I’m several years in from that point and still doing great.

And I want you to have your life back too. So here are my suggestions if you think you’re suffering from the same thing.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. While none of what I discuss involves prescription medications or medical procedures, please don’t take my assumptions as doctrine and do contact a doctor if you have concerns. While doctors have never heard of this problem, they can at least tell you if the supplements I’m suggesting are okay for you to take. Also, if there are errors in my thinking, I would appreciate clarification to refine the theory. While I did confer with a biologist who agreed with some of my assumptions, I’ve only tested this on me.

How to determine that Citric Acid Intolerance is your problem

Testing and identifying whether you have problems with the Citric Acid Cycle is the first step. It might also be the hardest. As mentioned, problem ingredients are found in many, many foods so isolating requires significant determination but it is possible to do.

Know the foods and ingredients with citric acid and acetic acid

  • Many canned foods use citric acid as a preservative and it’s usually, but not always, listed in the ingredients. Example: artichoke hearts or canned beans.
  • Vinegar is mostly acetic acid. Anything containing vinegar is going to be a problem, including sushi which contains rice wine vinegar in the rice.
  • Alcohol breaks down into acetic acid, as mentioned previously.
  • Many vegetables, especially when cooked, have high concentrations of citric acid, such as tomatoes and onions.
  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and pineapples have high concentrations of citric acid.
  • Most condiments have any one or more of the following: citric acid, vinegar, tomato, onion (or onion powder), or citric fruit juices.
  • Powders derived from onions, celery, or the any substances derived from ingredients that are a problems in another form.
  • Honorable mention: Phosphoric acid. This is an artificial acid and I have not researched why it is problematic but ingestion has shown it is.

Know what foods do not have citric acid or acetic acid

  • Fruits such as apples and grapes are fine in moderation because they have tartaric acid not citric acid. Bananas are also fine.
  • Sodas that use tartaric acid (from grapes) instead of citric acid.
  • Meat, fish and chicken, either plain or mildly seasoned with foods not ordinarily a problem (e.g. herbs).
  • Nuts too are fine.
  • Soy sauce is one of the few saucy condiments that does not have problematic ingredients. Just be aware of those with naturally occurring alcohol mentioned on the label.
  • Dairy. If lactose intolerance is a problem, it is a separate issue and can be managed with over-the-counter supplements like Digestive Advantage.
  • Sugary items, such as cookies and cakes without problematic ingredients are fine.

Fortunately there are several sites that offer Citric Acid free recipes but I highly recommend sticking to plain foods to better isolate ingredients. Here are a few.

Testing to determine if you suffer from Citric Acid Intolerance

    • Test yourself by STRICTLY limiting your diet to plain foods with very few ingredients. If you were unable to stabilize your digestive problems then either Citric Acid Intolerance is not your problem or you have not been as strict with your diet as you need to be.
    • Stick to plain foods and water until digestive issues have stabilized.
    • Keep a diary.
    • Introduce one food with either citric acid or acetic acid. Eat once, don’t eat anything else with citric or acetic acid, and wait a few days. Document the reaction.
    • Over time there should be a pattern showing you that citric acid and acetic acid are without question the cause of your problems.
    • Now stop testing and return to a plain diet.
    • Start taking the over-the-counter supplement, if it’s okay for you to do so. Pure Coenzyme A is not commonly found everywhere but you can certainly order it from Amazon. Also, most of the components of Pure Coenzmye A can be bought separately more easily if preferred.
    • Take for a month or more before you start the food testing again.
    • After a month or more, introduce one known problem food or ingredient. As before, eat once, then stick to plain foods, and document the reaction over the next few days.
  • If there is a difference in your reaction – notably, if you have no reaction – things are working.

I hope this works for you. Please let me know if this information has helped you in any way. Wishing you the best of luck and good health.

272 thoughts on “Citric Acid Intolerance and possible remedy for those with similar symptoms

  1. Georgina says:

    Just to say histamine intolerances and mast cell syndrome would account for a lot of this. I’m new to it as part of long covid journey. Reactions can be immediate or delayed. Check out the list of exclusions and you’ll see many foods & things mentioned here. I think citric acid is particular only to some people with MCAS. Im having an awful time reacting to it everywhere….I’ll try to explore increased B5. Do you think this might help or is it only the supplement that helped you?

    • Apologies for the delayed response, Georgina.

      I found that B5 helped me some but the real benefit for me came from the supplement. Hearing from others, everyone has different levels of benefit.

  2. Hi Milind, thank you for creating this site!
    I have been sensitive to most citrus foods for years, although I do fine having fresh lemon on my salad or salmon now and then. I also noticed I don’t do well taking ascorbic acid very often at all.
    But what I didn’t realize is that calcium citrate and magnesium citrate were messing up my nervous system, making it very difficult to sleep or relax without my body getting all jumpy and jerky. Truly awful!
    Just the other day however I noticed that I got a rash 20 minutes after putting organic aloe vera on my face and neck. I wondered if perhaps it was the citric acid. I tried another similar aloe vera and had the same reaction. It also has the citric acid in it. But no reaction at all with pure aloe vera plant, or from aloe vera gel using tea tree oil but no citric acid.
    This made me realize I must really be sensitive to citric acid, and I probably react to it in anything I might ingest.
    I have had problems with sleeping and relaxing without getting all jerky and jumpy as noted above.
    I had the aha moment and deduced that the likely citric acid in magnesium citrate and calcium citrate was really not good for me at all.
    So now its just been three days, and already I am noticing big improvements. I have just started to sleep like a log! My jerkiness when doing certain yoga moves has also diminished greatly.
    I have also had a bad rash with flaking skin in one of my ears that seems to be reducing at last. Similarly on my face and my privates. Thank heavens!!
    I believe it has been a combination of factors affecting me, but honestly a lot of it seems to relate to this citric acid, and also to a sensitivity to sulfites in general.
    I had no idea that commercially made citric acid has sulfites in it, but apparently it often does due in great part to the fermentation process. Perhaps it also relates to citrates and citric acids derived from corn (i.e., thus not always citrus foods). Corn, particularly if fermented I imagine, from what I understand, is very high in sulfites.
    I am also very sensitive to corn, milk, gluten, high histamine foods in general. And of course sugar.
    I am hoping that by avoiding the citrates in magnesium and calcium products I will improve even more.

    Even my brain seems sharper and I am starting overall to have a little more energy. My belly puff I have had for years and years has gone down already. And my face is also losing its puffiness. My feet seem to have lost their ache.

    I also use herbs which I think have helped me deal with all these conditions better than without them, such as dandelion root, barberry, licorice root, cleavers. Perhaps now I won’t need to take them as often…

    I am at odds to figure out what forms of magnesium and calcium are best for me meanwhile. I worry I might react to some of them for other reasons, or simply not absorb them well (this is generally the case for me–its difficult for me to absorb minerals). I just found out that the calcium and magnesium orotates for instance are derived from milk. I have yet to look up the peruvate in the calcium peruvate.

    Fortunately magnesium oil seems just fine for– it absorbs through the skin, and has not caused me sleeplessness, jerking etc.

    I am hoping that by avoiding the citrates more I will become less reactive to other foods similar to you.

    As it is or has been, I have not tolerated Co-enzyme Q 10 at all, which seems to be pretty much the same as your Co-enzyme A. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Meanwhile it looks like I need to go to the extra trouble of not eating frozen blueberries or peaches if all this holds true. Its a bother, but hopefully it will reward me with much better health.

    Again thank you for your insights!

    • Hi Bea. Looks like I did not respond to your comment and I’m sorry for the delay. Thanks for sharing your story and information, which I’m sure will help others.

      Over the years I’ve heard others talk about skin reactions as well. It’s not something I have faced but it seems to be a commonality among many, particularly in the Citric Acid intolerance Facebook group that I’ve mentioned before. They have talked about these issues at length.

      There is a difference between coenzyme A and Coenzyme Q10. The latter does not tie into the citric acid cycle, which is where I found the connection to my issue. But as mentioned, my issues are strictly digestive/metabolic and have not presented physically in the form of rashes and such. After the initially high dose for several months, I’ve since limited myself to once every few days, which sits better with me.

      Coenzyme A supplements are over the counter and the ingredients can be found individually as well. I’m not sure it can help with your issues but it might be worth trying. But since you said you’re sensitive to OTCs like coQ10, read the ingredients first before trying it.

      Would love to hear back on any progress or insights. Be well!

  3. Jeanne Anderson says:

    Could you actually have a sodium benzoate/benzoate acid sensitivity? The foods that a lot of people are describing they have a sensitivity to are the same foods that either have sodium benzoate added to them or naturally contains benzoate acid. Sodium benzoate is put in soda, fruit drinks and even liquid medicine. I’ve read where you need vitamin B5 and Coenzyme A to help metabolize the benzoate so it will form hippurate which takes a certain pathway to be excreted out of the body. Yogurt with the lactose probiotic starter cultures in them contain benzoate. Look up the side effects of sodium benzoate. If any of you have gallbladder/bile problems, benzoate might be the cause. Check out Just saying, some of you might be affected by citric and or benzoate? There should be warnings on some of these food labels. I can’t believe the FDA doesn’t run more studies on how these food additives effect people, especially the children!

    • Hi Jeanne,

      This is insightful and I’ll definitely look into it. Interesting you mention the gall bladder. While I don’t have specific problems, an acupuncturist repeatedly mentioned there was something going on there. I never really thought about it in relation to the citric acid issue.

      Thank you for your comment.

    • Hi Daniel,

      I hope it helps. I never faced rashes but from the comments I’ve seen other benefit from the supplement on that front. Good luck and let us know if it works out for you.

  4. Riley says:

    I do have one or too comments for you, firstly that some types of digestive issues can affect you days after. For instance if it is an acid balance issue in your stomach it could be causing elevated acid levels that might only cause light heartburn or nothing at first. Then a couple days later you are in pain because your stomach acid levels have been sea-sawing the whole time trying to right themselves and now the lining of your stomach is damaged from the constant fight. The supplement you are taking, being part of the KREBS cycle, probably bonds to those acids, which would keep them from affecting your stomach as much. One way to test that would be if you have problems with highly fatty foods too, even if they have no acids. Even then it’s not quite reliable, as it could actually be the digestive enzymes related to those acids instead of an over all stomach acid issue. It is highly unlikely to be a metabolic issue like you think though because that would cause much more wide spread problems than just when you eat those, as you wouldn’t have the process your cells need for most of every day life. You might try adding hone fermented foods and pineapple juice to your diet. It seems counter intuitive, I know. Pinnacle contains large amounts of the enzyme needed to digest fats and some acids, home made live culture kimchi would be the best option for you I would think as it adds not only ALL the enzymes you would be missing, but also resupplied your digestive system with the probiotics that would be missing to cause the problem in the first place. They have found many connections to “IBS” that were actually rooted in a lack of the correct probiotics and therefore enzymes, yet just taking the supplement doesn’t do much because some people have an issue supporting the necessary biome, so eating foods with the culture naturally living in it is the best option. This problem has been linked to supposed ulcer problems “IBS” and even things like lactose intolerance. Disclaimer though, I am not a Dr, I just have a bio degree and have been studying this sort of problem for a couple years from my husband’s very similar stomach issues.

    • Hi Riley,

      Thanks for sharing this information. Food for thought. And I agree that my theory may not be correct. My post is not intended to be definitive but to help others facing similar issues with an understanding of my thought process leading up to the supplement solution. The supplement has helped many but I’m sure combinations of solutions would also be supportive depending on the person.

      For me, it’s definitely not an acid imbalance issue. Prior to taking this path, I spent years going to doctors and exploring all these avenues. The antacids and IBS treatments never helped. I do have lactose intolerance and that has been dealt with separately.

      When my diet was completely without citric acid, naturally fermented foods like pickles and sauerkraut were staples of my diet. Yogurt too. Probiotic supplements helped but nothing worked as well as the B-vitamins and then even better was the Coenzyme A supplement.

      A few years ago a fellow suffer shared a theory in which she proposed that the citric acid wasn’t cycling out of our systems fast enough, building up and causing issues. The CoA supplement was helping process it more efficiently. That seemed to make sense and I wish she had posted her analysis because her work seemed sound. Her theory also supported one particular episode in my life where I suffered terrible food poisoning. Being of the type not to leap to medication, I let my system process naturally for several days. After that, I experienced no symptoms for over three months which made me believe I had temporarily expelled whatever was causing my problems. Seems to back up her theory.

      In any case, this is a reflection of my experience. Others have similarly benefited too but it’s hardly conclusive science. I was only comfortable sharing because it did not involve any hard drugs or something potentially damaging. I’m glad so many have seen improvement.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Hi everybody,
    just an update on me. I’ve been taking CoE A for about a year plus an allergy pill and B12 everyday. It wasn’t until I stopped drinking alcohol that my rash went away completely. I thought I could stop taking the supplement, thinking I had discovered the main culprit but my rash returned within a couple days. However, if I stay on the supplement, I can have small amounts of lemon on food, tomato sauce, and can eat fruit again. I cannot have bagged salad or some salad dressings still. This leads me to believe that my problem is mostly with the additive CA! Alcohol and its part in the CA cycle seems to be huge problem for me too.
    The CoE A keeps getting more expensive and they have removed it from Subscribe and Save which makes me nervous that they will discontinue the supplement. Has anyone found it anywhere but Amazon??
    Also, the masks were a real problem when I was still in full rash mode. I think that holding heat so close to my face all the time irritated it more.
    So glad to be rash free for about a month now! I’m so thankful I found this page, it saved me.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      I’m so happy you found benefit from the supplement. But I’m also having concerns about the product being discontinued. The company’s website went down some time ago and prior to that it was clear that they weren’t supporting the site and had discontinued their other products. I had mentioned this on the Facebook group but the only option it seems is to be able to pull all the individual supplements together manually. It’s not the best solution but that might be the only option. I should research this further now before it’s too late.

  6. MmMmM says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience!
    I’ve had the same issues for most of my life when it comes to eating food.
    Blend home made food -> safe
    Eating outside -> rollercoaster
    At two points my pain has gotten so bad that I had to be in the hospital, and of course “You have IBS’.. (doctors would never admit you don’t know they have to make you feel stupid and give you a fake diagnosis, sorry for the rant)

    Recently I found out that I am actually severely allergic to Citric Acid (along wheat and yeast).

    My allergy always manifests itself in pain in the guts, no rash, no breathing issues. So very similar to the symptoms you described

    I wonder if any of your recommendations for supplements would help in the case of an allergy. Do you have studies or knowledge about that?

    • Hi MmMmM,

      Don’t be sorry for the rant — I’m right there with you. Your experience and mine are similar with regard to experience with doctors. For a while I was angry but eventually I realized that the medical establishment doesn’t know what this is. I’m glad we have the internet to find each other and share our experience. It helps greatly to know that we’re not alone and it’s not just in our minds. That in itself was a big relief for me and I’m glad others are finding solace in our “community.”

      If it’s an allergy and not an intolerance, I’m not sure my remedy will help. I’ve identified my issue as a metabolization issue since it affects me at least a day after ingestion. An allergy being an immune system issue would have a much quicker reaction.

      Many people in these comments and on the Facebook group have mentioned allergic reactions and I think you can find support as you try to work through these issues. I hope you do find the support you need please follow-up with how you are doing.

  7. Gerrit says:

    Hi Milind,

    I have been taking the CoEnzymeA Supplement and it has changed everything. Thank you. I have been dealing with various health issues for over 10 years and now most of them have vanished.
    You mentioned that we could take/buy the CoEnzymeA supplement ingredients separately. Which ones would you buy and which ones would you leave out? I’m assuming Pantethine for sure.

    Any thought are greatly appreciated, thank you for sharing your work.


    • Hi Gerrit,

      I’m so happy the remedy helped you so much. Thank you for sharing your story! If you don’t mind, could you share more details on what the various health issue were? It might help others.

      I never tried taking separates except for B5/Pantethine that kicked off my investigation. From my understanding and what I’ve read of others’ experiences, the Calcium Pyruvate and amino acid L-Cysteine are key. But The mix has clearly worked for many of us so without a better understanding, I don’t want to discount the other items on the CoA ingredients list: Magnesium (Dimagnesium Malate) and L-Carnitine.

      Separates though usually come in a much higher dosage than what’s included in the CoA capsules. This might not be a problem for most people – people are obviously taking a lot of these supplements in general and they seem fine. My concern over dosage only stems from some initial findings in which I had to eventually cut back on the number of pills I took from two a day to one and now even fewer. I never identified what specifically made me feel like it was too much — there wasn’t any particular reaction, just a feeling. So keep in my mind that my thoughts are based on personal experience as you determine your own needs.

      A search on Amazon (USA) shows the following…

      • Pyruvate tends to come in much higher doses than in a single capsule of CoA. In CoA, Pyruvate comes in the form of Calcium Pyruvate at 45mg while the lowest dosage I found in separates was from Swanson Triple Pyruvate Complex at a total of (if I’m reading this right) 125mg (plus other stuff). Separates manage their formulas in different ways so in this case there is a mix of calcium pyruvate, sodium pyruvate, potassium pyruvate, and inulin.
      • L-Cystine doesn’t seem to come in any lower than 500mg as a separate. The CoA is not specific about about the dosage but it is included in the 700mg total of what’s labeled as the Coenzyme A Modulator Matrix 1™ Blend.
      • CoA has 20mg of Magnesium (Dimagesium malate) whereas the lowest dosage I see in capsule form is 250mg but there is a powder that could probably be managed better.
      • L-Carnatine also has an undefined dosage in CoA and seems to come in the lowest dosage of 500mg as a separate.

      I’m not sure how much that helps but am happy to discuss.

  8. Stephanie L Lamb says:

    Has anyone noticed that the sun exacerbates rash symptoms? My “allergy” mostly shows in the form of a rash on my face and neck (plus tummy issues). My skin swells to the point where I don’t have any wrinkles (bonus I guess), gets intensely red then in the days afterwards, it peels. I’ve noticed if I go in the sun, the rash appears faster, is larger, and is really intense for a day longer..

      • Stephanie L Lamb says:

        Not that I’ve noticed. I’m on a pretty strict diet these days…I was just curious. I’ve just doubled up on sunscreen and avoid sun altogether if I’m having a break out. I’ve started taking an allergy pill with an antacid every morning and it has helped tremendously. I read that this is what chronic hives sufferers are instructed to do. I only get a rash now if I have something loaded with citric acid, like those alcohol seltzers (that are SOOO popular right now) and certain preworkout drinks where citric acid is the first ingredient.
        This page was really helpful and I had never heard of the coenzymeA or the citric acid cycle. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to see other people who have had the same problems, I yelled out to my husband “I have found my people!”

  9. Jan Bracamonte says:

    THERE CAN BE CITRIC ACID IN WATER. Yes, you read that correctly. To be clear, any water that has been treated. For me, I’ve suffered with an unexplained, painful itch all over my body with no rash, no hives, no proof. I self-diagnosed myself with a citric acid allergy after constantly having it pop up in food and beauty products I began to react to. As of late, any types of acids (absorbic, malic) and even vinegar would cause extreme itching.

    I’ve seen 8 docs ranging from dermatologists & neurologists to allergists & a team of four docs at Mayo Clinic. Everyone gave up. I heard countless times “it’s not an allergy, you can’t see anything” or “it’s impossible to be allergic to that”. But I was. I knew I was.

    I kept copious notes, tracked everything that went in and on my body. Still no answers. My friend in LA suggested I see a NAET doctor who specializes in “allergy elimination”. The first appointment felt more voodoo than medical, but I kept an open mind. On the second appointment, she had me bring in a drinking water sample. She herself was allergic to water & it took her 10 years to figure it out. She used kinesiology to “test it” & my “body told her all of my issues stem from my drinking water”. I rolled my eyes, paid a big bill & left discouraged.

    That night, it dawned on me. We use a water softener that uses a salt cell. I checked the ingredients on the salt and low & behold – CITRIC ACID. For 7 years, I’ve been infusing my #1 allergy into my water that I drink, eat & shower with. The NAET doctor did in 2 appointments what 8 couldn’t in 7 years. My list of food allergies has tripled in the last year & they all have something in common – acid. My theory is that my body is so overloaded with citric acid, it’s fighting any form of acidity.

    We turned off the water softener and I’ve been exclusively drinking & cooking with spring water for a few days. I feel noticeably different. The moral of this VERY long post: You can be allergic to ANYTHING, even water. I highly recommend that if you suffer from any sort of allergies, skip 7 years of suffering & find yourself a NAET doctor.

      • Jan Bracamonte says:

        I’m not sure yet. I just discovered it last week and haven’t looked into it further yet. I’m assuming any softener that uses a salt cell has citric acid, as nearly all salt has citrate or citric acid in it. I’m exclusively drinking spring water (not tampered with at all) until hopefully my symptoms calm down. Plus, still avoiding all forms of acid.

        • Lindsey Yoder says:

          Jan, this was so helpful!! I have narrowed down my problem to citric acid, but I had no idea it was in my water from the Red Out we use!! Every time I drink water at home, it irritates my throat. Now I know why! This is a life saver. Thank you for sharing!!

    • Hi Justina,

      I don’t think that I ever recognized those specifically in my evaluation of ingredients. After I began taking the remedy, it didn’t seem to crop up. Not sure how to test for that now. What foods are high in those acids?

      • Justina says:

        This article was a life saver for me. I can’t thank you enough for bringing this to light. I have been struggling with stomach and skin issues for the last few years and spent literally ALL my savings on doctors. I went in November and they tested my citric acid cycle and all the results were off the charts high. I told the dr that I thought that I was having a reaction to citric acid and asked if that’s why my results were so high and they told me it had nothing to do with that. Seriously, had I not found your article, I would have gone around in circles the rest of my life!!! Now EVERYTHING makes sense. I cannot tolerate alcohol or vinegar. Both make me really ill. (Didn’t know sushi had vinegar in it and was always wondering why it made my symptoms worse!!) My acupuncturist gave me a tincture 2 weeks ago made with alcohol and it made me SO ILL, which was actually a god send because that’s the reason I ended up finding your article. I lined up everything you stated in the article with my test results. Low b5, high pyruvate, high lact, high high high citric acid. My symptoms lined up exactly with the coenzyme site: depression, anxiety . . . frequent respiratory infection, cardiac instability, and abnormal need for sleep. Neurological disorders included: numbness, muscle weakness, cramps, abdominal pain and paresthesia (abnormal sensations such as itching and prickling, tingling extremities, and “burning feet” syndrome). Biochemical changes included: . . . lowered blood cholesterol – I HAVE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE SYMPTOMS. Even my sex hormones are totally jacked up. And, last summer, I tried the medical medium diet because I was so desperate to get better. That diet made me so INCREDIBLY ill, it was UNREAL. They kept telling me it was “detox”! 6 weeks in and I was getting worse and worse. All supplements with citric acid and they had me drinking glasses of freaking orange juice every day!!! I felt like I was allergic to all food. Seriously, I can’t believe you figured this out. I am SO grateful for you!!! You have no idea!!!

        I started taking the coenzyme A about 5 days ago and I will report back what happens. So far, my skin, which broke out HORRIFICALLY from the tincture, is much less inflamed (YAY!!!!) but I think I am experiencing some detox symptoms. Bloating, acid reflux, fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, irritability. Was that normal for you when you first started the supplement? (I am also staying strictly away from these acids in my diet.)

        The only reason I was asking about the other acids is because I don’t seem to tolerate mango well, but it’s actually a low citric acid food. It has high malic and uric, so I was a little confused on that. I honestly think that maybe my guts are just really wounded right now and anything sort of acid is going to burn. Just a thought.

        Again, thank you so much for sharing your story. There is literally NOTHING on the internet like this. This was the missing puzzle piece for me.

        • Justina,

          I’m so please you found this piece helpful. And I really hope it all works out for you.

          Prior to starting the Coenzyme A my diet was so devoid of citric acid, acetic acid, and alcohol that when I started the remedy it really had no noticeable effect. It took me months after I started taking the supplements before I felt comfortable enough to start eating acid foods. However if I go periods without the coenzyme a while eating regularly, then I do go through a period of discomfort before I’m back to normal. Can’t say that’s what’s happening to you but it could be.

          Regarding the mango: could that be a standard allergy instead of related to citric acid? If the remedy works for you then you’ll probably be able to figure that out.

          Wishing you the best and let me know if you have questions.

        • Jan Bracamonte says:

          Do you mind my asking how you tested your Citric Acid Cycle? What type of doctor did this? How was it tested? I’ve been told by docs that they can’t test for that. Thanks!

          • I didn’t; there’s no test that I know of. It was years of research and deduction based on careful analysis of the food I ate and whatever patterns I could find. Then when I was close enough I took a conservative leap of faith. The details are outlined in the article.

            I’ve mentioned the condition to doctors but they don’t seem convinced. And I doubt a test now (if it exists) would show anything with all the years I’ve taken the supplement.

        • Lisa byrne says:

          Have you looked at histamine intolerance. Which can include mold? Perhaps this could be an issue for you. I only found out bc I ended up reacting to anything at all containing any yeast, alcohol, vinegar, and anything aged/fermented -and not a little. horribly ill from a tiny amounts of it. It took years to determine, bc doesnt show up on standard allergy tests. not a true allergy. But still as bad & causing health issues. Just now discovering a reaction to MCA (manufactured citric acid) which is in many foods & usually extracted from mold. (im ok w a little fresh fresh lemon juice) ok good luck. pls check it out and hope you feel better.

          • Hi Lisa,

            For a while I wondered if the issue was mold/fungus too and looked into things like candida. I see on the Facebook group that many are exploring similarly and some have identified it as their issue. But I have ruled out an allergic reaction since symptoms take at least a day to surface for me and an immune response would be within a short period of time.

            My issues are also not isolated to MCA but again several people have singled this out on the Facebook group so it’s definitely a factor for many.

            I hope you feel better too. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

    • Jan Bracamonte says:

      I have a citric acid allergy and also have reactions with any type of man-made acid (malic, uric, absorbic) so must avoid all.

  10. OMG THANK YOU THIS IS A LIFE SAVING AMAZING ARTICLE BETTER THAN ANYTHING I FOUND ON THE WEB AND I HAVE BEEN LOOKING A LOT. I struggle with many medical issues but never had allergies until I got FMS & I got to a life threatening situation due to them… I already got to self-diagnosing Citric Acid is a problem and eliminated all items and it does work but my diet is extremely limited. Are you OK with ascorbic acid? I seem to the have a problem with that too – even 20 mg in 100 gm of otherwise natural applesauce brings back symptoms.

    I’ve been taking high amounts of B5 for years for something else so that’s not enough. So you suggest adding any “Coenzyme A” supplement or is it a specific combination & what is your dosage please. All the coenzyme in my country is Q10 and there’s no web info even in my language on that but I can order from abroad 🙂 Thank you again ♥

    • Hi DoritbID,

      I am ok with ascorbic acid. That was never a problem but some supplements include citric acid which of course was a problem.

      There are specific vitamins and minerals the body needs to make coenzyme A. I’ll look for specific information tomorrow. The page for the Coenzyme A supplement that I mention in the article did have a a breakdown but that is now down.

  11. Jan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve suffered with a Citric Acid Intolerance for over 6 years. I experience severe itching all over my body when I injest CA and other acidic foods. How many mg of B5 do you take daily?

    • Hi Jan,

      It was so long ago I don’t remember the specific dosage of B5 but it was over the counter so it was a predefined amount. After a while I took it as part of a multivitamin.

      My symptoms haven’t included itching but being part of the Facebook group I’ve learned that people experience the problem in many different ways. Not sure if the CoA solution has significantly helped people with issues not related to digestion but some have reported some success. I hope it helps you too.

  12. Wen says:

    Many thanks for documenting your journey 🙂 my husband is very sensitive to ascorbic acid, white vinegar or tomatoes (also dairy, gluten). Ie he gets bad IBS. It sounds a bit similar but I think he says he can have citric acid? Would that rule him out? Maybe citric acid is actually a problem too (as he still gets symptoms without the other things in his diet but not sure what’s causing it).. thanks again for sharing your research with us – very much appreciated 😊

    • Happy to help, Wen.

      The only way to know is to spend time eliminating citric acid for a while and see if it helps (and dairy and gluten). Yeah it’s a boring diet but it’s valuable information.

      Hope to hear how it goes.

    • JamesF says:

      i eliminated gluten and try to go low histamine and low carb diet. it helps a lot. try more veggies, especially raw because they have plant enzymes to help in digestion. I am not sure why carbs are a problem, maybe they feed the wrong bacteria in the gut? next step for me is to take low histamine probiotics and extra enzymes with each meal and eat more veggies, and less junk or carbs.

  13. Fred says:

    I have citric and acetic acid (and prolly lactic acid which is in cheese and added as flavour in food) allergy which shows up as skin rash. These are all part of mitochondria energy pathway. I also had ringworm which starts itching and growing fast when i eat these acids and when i eat too much sugar (points to candida problem). So maybe the liver isn’t working well so the ringworm, fungi, gets the surplus acids and sugars and use it in its mitochondria to grow.

    I killed the ringworm very fast when i discovered terbinafine cream and shower oil which contains castor oil but it itches again when i start eating the acids etc again.

  14. Mike says:

    Dear Milind, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m convinced (after 5 years of doctors visits and unexplained suffering) that citric acid is my issue as well. E.g. my symptoms are getting worse from home-made sauerdough bread, but not from regular pasta. Symptomps always come after two days etc. I started eating rice and chicken since a week + taking the Coenzyme A supplements. I definitely see the improvements of some of the symptoms, however the pain on my side got much worse on the day 6. May I ask wheter you also experienced temporary worsening of some symptomps at the beginning, and how much time it toook for you to normalize you digestion on the plain diet? I read somewhere that it might take even 2-3 weeks till symptomps start lowering. Thank you very much again!! Mike

    • Hi Mike,

      Glad that you’re finding some benefit.

      I was strictly off citric acid before i started the CoA and remained off for a while afterwards, so I probably didn’t have much CA built up. I don’t recall if I had any unusual pain at the time but I might have thought it was just part of my regular discomfort.

      Now if I’m off CoA for a long time, then after my first couple of pills I tend to have some discomfort as my body purges the CA. But then I normalizes again.

      Hope that helps and would love to hear how you progress.

  15. Jon Spallino says:

    Miland, Great information here for someone like me with long time CA issues. Your followers may be interested to know what foods are rich in B5. As person who eats 95% vegan, I only recently came to realize that my diet lacks sufficient B5 which may exacerbate my CA issue. I have recently taken up your supplement suggestions and will follow later with results. Meantime – this B5 link may be helpful to others – especially vegetarians or vegans:

    • Hi Jon,

      That link is super helpful.

      I had never considered the dietary impact of being vegan on CIA. Please do let us know if the Coenzyme A supplement helps.

      Hoping for the best.

  16. Karen says:

    I thought citric acid was derived from corn. I cannot tolerate corn at all. Nor citric acid. Have you found this correlation?

    • Hi Karen,

      I’m trying to recall if I ever suspected a connection between corn and citric acid. Canned corn could have it since CA is used so often as a preservative. I used to stay away from all canned vegetables. But I don’t recall identifying fresh corn as a problem.

      A quick search shows that citric acid can be derived from corn but I’m not sure that means it is there prior to processing. Will have to look into it. Thanks for pointing that out.

      • Robb says:

        I seem to have an issue with citric acid and corn too. And it is corn off the cob, not processed corn. A couple of years ago I was sure had an issue with preservatives, with sulphites as the leading culprit. However, now I think citric acid is a better fit, but the corn puzzles me. Also, I need to take rather large doses of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and B12 to manage my symptoms. I am trying the Coenzyme A and taking 1/2 a capsule a day appears to be working, but I have been fooled before and need to give it more time.

          • Robb says:

            It has taken 15 years to determine that citric acid seems to be the main culprit. That lead me to Vickys page and your website. To be truthful I had zero expectations that the coenzyme A would work but I ordered it anyway. After a couple months there definitely has been a positive change. My bloated gut has faded away and I have gone in a belt notch. I’m guessing I had a lot of inflamation and it is now reduced or eliminated. Took a little while to get the dosage right. I now split a capsule between breakfast and dinner. Splitting a capsule and pouring half the contents into your mouth is an exquisite experience! Because of the corn issue, I’ll forgo declaring victory, but at least I have won a major battle. Thanks for your time and efforts. Would never have figured this one out on my own.

  17. Celia Stickler says:

    Trish, I would check out truth in labeling, chocolate has soy lecithin in it, which is an msg source, truth in labeling has a list of such msg sources, including citric acid.

  18. Trish says:

    Hi! Your article is wonderful new “food for thought” for me (pardon the pun). I suffer constantly from one GI problem after another. I have tried an elimination diet for three weeks cutting out the top TEN offenders for food intolerances including citrus. I still had some symptoms. I noticed onion and celery were mentioned in some of the posts below yet some websites say vegetables are ok while on another site it claims that some veggies do contain citric acid including lettuce! I did eat a lot of veggies on my elimination diet and I buy a lot of “organic” foods that contain celery as a naturally occurring nitrate preservative. I have trouble with chocolate too and wonder if it has citric acid in it. I first suspected that I have a problem with citric acid from reading ingredients although I get severe heartburn from it (vinegar, too). But then sometimes a few days will go by and I will wonder what “got me” me as I’m running to the restroom. I also wonder if I have an intolerance to potassium sorbate a different preservative in processed foods even though it is “GRAS”. People don’t realize how horrible unrelenting “IBS”/GERD is. I am always saying “I hate my GUTS”–my literal guts. I feel that IBS is just a name symptoms are given when doctors can’t figure out the underlying gastro/intestinal problems. I am happy for you that you have figured out a way to feel better. Also I was wondering if you have discovered any spices or ingredients that are somewhat “tart” as a substitute in cooking without citric acid.

    • Hi Trish,

      Eliminating citric acid is definitely complicated and very difficult. Before I identified citric acid as the problem, I stayed away from anything acidic. That meant my meals were mostly plain, often baked or steamed, with oil, butter, salt, or pepper as the only additives. Broths were fine too but again limited in taste. When I isolated citric acid my options opened up like soy sauce, some spices, fruits like grapes and apples, and – oh thank goodness – coffee. Ironically, now that the remedy enables me to eat so much more, my diet isn’t nearly as healthy. 😉

      Not sure about citric acid in chocolate. If so I prefer to remain in denial! I seem to remember eating a lot of sugary things though, probably in a poor attempt to compensate for lost nutrients.

      I hear you about doctors. I mention in the post that one of my doctors stated that IBS is a “waste basket diagnosis,” that if they don’t know what it is, they call it IBS. At least he was frank with me but I didn’t enjoy the guessing game with prescription medications. I think we make a mistake in thinking doctors know it all. They do the best they can. Can’t ask them for more. I’m happy we have the internet to find people in similar circumstances.

      I’m glad you find the article useful. Hopefully it can aid you in identifying a remedy that suits you. I’ll try to answer any questions you may have. I would also recommend joining the Facebook group where there a lot of people dealing with different problems all centered around citric acid reactions.

      Wishing you the best of luck!

    • Hi Aneta,

      Having little experience in this type of experimentation and having been as methodical as I had been in isolating citric acid as the problem, I wanted there to be no question about the results. So I decided to take the remedy for a while, make sure my body was used to it, then try. And to be honest, I was also scared since my reactions to CA really limited my life.

      I’ve heard from others that say they haven’t waited nearly that long and the remedy has still benefited them.

  19. James F says:

    I always feel worse after eating chips and salsa that i make from ingredients in cans and bottles so citric acid seems to be the item common to all of them. Seems that there is crossover between many ailments and i have a hard time telling them apart. I had GERD for years, but it went away upon eating an apple as last meal of the day and giving hours to digest before lying down. I gave up gluten foods and it dropped my appetite and i lost weight, a nice bonus, and pains in my neck disappeared (tested poz in the 23 and me for allele assoc. with risk of celiac disease). However sugars are also a problem, and i have to keep them to a minimum (type 2 runs in my Dad’s side). If i eat citric acid foods and/or sugary foods then the GERD tries to resurface, thus the ‘crossover’. A constant pain in the middle of my back has been there for years and worsen when i don’t stick to the restrictive diet. I hope the vit B5 and low citric acid/processed foods approach will help. I definitely have mold allergies so the artificial supplements and additives from those buggers may universally irritate me.

  20. Danae says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing! I’ve been dealing with my citric acid intolerance for about 15 years (took me a freakin long time to figure out without Le Google!). My symptoms are very rarely in the gut itself – I get face rashes and eczema flares. Only when I consume something extremely high in CA (very acidic soda, sweets, etc) do I find an instant mouth / throat burn, which may cause a bit of discomfort in the stomach after. Obviously, I’m pretty good at avoiding this these days!

    I’m keen to know – do you have skin issues as well, and do you think the coenzyme A will help with this aspect? I hate thinking I’m missing out on essential nutrients and foods because of this, especially when there’s not much labelling or clarity around CA (natural or synthetic; how much is included, nothing on alcohol labelling!).

    I don’t seem to have issues with alcohol or acetate…

    • Hi Danae,

      Figuring out the source of the problem took me a long time too. Until the realization, it seems inconceivable that something as ordinary as citric acid could be the problem. Congrats on figuring it out!

      You’re the second person (other person was on Facebook) in a couple of weeks to mention issues with swelling, rashes, and Angioedema. I did not experience the same but it appears that is another form in which the intolerance surfaces. The other person stated that coenzyme A didn’t have a significant effect but she did confidently tie her reactions to citric acid.

      Highly recommend joining the Facebook group if you haven’t already. There’s a lot of support there.

      • Á says:

        Thanks for sharing, Milind. It’s an encouraging glimmer in this sea of misdiagnoses & fobbing-off’s. I’m dealing with what I suspect is at least citric acid intolerance & definitely OFG (orofacial granulomatosis) the last 5 years, though I can now identify it throughout my whole life. Some of the people here talking about face swelling & rashes might find it useful to investigate the OFG avenue as well. Thanks again

        • Thanks for sharing this information. I had not heard of OFG and I hope those that are dealing with similar face swelling and rashes benefit.

    • nancy witwer says:

      Danae, I have exactly your reaction to Citric Acid. I have tried (and am still taking) the CoA & B12. I have found that although it doesn’t eliminate my reaction, it has reduced it. (‘blisters’ still occur but they go away much faster ). You will greatly benefit from the CA Facebook group! It’s a great forum with people who are in the same frustrating situation! Nancy

  21. Lauren Covey says:

    Do you know if Ashwagandha has citric acid in it? I started taking the supplement for anxiety and it has been amazing. But I realized it is a berry, and I wanted to see if you knew anything about this.

    • Hi Lauren, I don’t specifically know about that berry. I know some fruits and berries have tartaric acid and not citric acid, so still tastes tart but doesn’t pose a problem for me. Might be the same for you.

  22. Lauren Covey says:

    This is so helpful! I recently discovered I have this exact condition! I have tried cutting out so many things without change. I am very encouraged and ready to give this a try!!

    • Happy to help! How did you come about making the realization that your trouble was citric acid? Please come back to let us know how it goes.

      • Lauren Covey says:

        I went on the auto-immune protocol to see if it would help my symptoms. It made them so much worse because I was putting lemon on everything. After many sleepless nights in pain, I realized it was citrus fruit that was making me sick!

    • Hi

      My symptoms are not like GERD. The issues I have are not related to acids but specifically with the metabolization of citric acid. My stomach is fine and I do not suffer from heartburn. Please use caution as the page you linked to specifies that B6 can be an irritant to those with GERD.

  23. Anyone says:

    A weird thing happened to my urine. It lost its color. In addition, I experienced back pain whenever eating acidic foods, as if I had developed intestinal ulcers. My lower back locked up and it was painful to even turn or sneeze. I am also lactose and histamine intolerant. I read someone else’s review about taking probiotics and butyrate, so I tried that. My urine is back to yellow now. This butyren seems to be helping reduce back pain issues as well. As for the method of action, I read that the gut bacteria breaks down butyrate into glutathione.

    • They don’t but I think they get so many half-thought theories I’m sure they are also weary of new ideas. I was angry at doctors for a long time until I started to realize my health is my responsibility. It’s strange to say it now but back then I was still basing my view on how my parents revered doctors so were the ultimate authority. The deserve respect and it’s nice to partner with doctors who are satisfied with my resolution, which is enough for me now.

  24. Sean says:

    I was drawn back to this blogpost after having mostly cured the condition for myself and moving on to other forms of nutrition research. Milind, I’m again impressed by your open mind, logical thinking and ability to not be easily offended. Nutrition research needs more people like you. Unfortunately it usually contains the opposite.

    Recently I used large quantities of sodium citrate to “queso-ify” cheese, and after one day of consumption, the symptoms from years ago returned. Now I am much more experienced health researcher, and I realized that the delayed onset of symptoms is from fungal multiplication.

    Since commercial citric acid is made from Aspergillus Niger (black mold) and fungus can return to a spore-like state when threatened, it is reasonable to assume that commercial citric/citrate contains fungal spores and once they reach a proper environment (human body) they will multiply and spread.

    I believe the sufferers on this page need to keep retaking the supplements just to deal with the production of the citric acid from the fungus that has taken root in their bodies.

    On a side note, here is a study showing citric acid and other Krebs cycle chemicals in the urine of autistic patients. Most of the sufferers here have the symptoms in the skin or the gut; imagine if this was happening in the brain instead.

    • That’s a fascinating hypothesis and sounds plausible.

      In your research have you come across how the body should ordinarily handle ingested fungus? I’m sure we do this on a regular basis with all foods but of course the quantities with which we consume citric acid is so high.

      Thanks for the compliment. Not having any background in medicine, I couldn’t allow myself to get complacent by letting ego get in the way. I needed my life back and I’m happy the research helped others.

  25. Jacqueline says:

    I’ve been telling my doc and anyone who will listen I have this allergy. I’ve recently been tested for Lupus. It came back half positive. As Lupus and CA have the same symptoms (check it out) I thought it might be because I avoid citric acid, but the day before the test I deliberately ingested CA to see what would come back. As I thought I got the half result, which my husband can explain better (something about not having the markers that go with it). So, I’m still being investigated, but by a specialist now (appointment hasn’t happened yet). In the meantime I started looking around for things that help it, as it’s very difficult to avoid. I have noticed one thing and that is magnesium spray. I have it as I’m very physically active, but I read that magnesium found in chocolate might explain why the citric acid in chocolate doesn’t always cause a reaction. Anyway, this past two days I’ve had CA accidents. The first one my husband came rushing to me with Tummeric, as he had read something about it, but I had just given magnesium a go too. Something worked though. Today, I had another accident with CA (I’m still working out the kinks of what I can and can’t have). So, this morning I took tummeric. It didn’t seem to work as well, but about 20 minutes ago I tried my magnesium spray and, as I’m writing the CA affects do seem to be going. I wondered if anyone else had tried this out too, or if they do decide to try it, could they report back if they had any success with it or not. I researched recently that the Western diet is highly depleted in magnesium and that it effects absorption of other nutrients such as calcium.

  26. SuSu says:

    Omg. I have the same intolerance to citric acid and of late I’ve had more issues with dairy. I know it’s just an intolerance because I’ve been tested for allergies and it came back negative and I just KNEW I had allergies but was wrong…$300 later. I get rashes, primarily on my cheeks and across my chest if something is way to acidic but I still manage to pick my poison. But now I’m suffering because I have GERD. And I keep forgetting I have it because I don’t have heartburn or anything like that…but it’s now starting to show in constant sore throats and a random dry cough throughout the day/night. To make a long story short, it sucks to be in your 30s primarily because of how your body and your tolerances began to change completely. I read below about fungal infections…that was another ah-hah moment. I’m so glad I saw this article. Hopefully this is will bring me some kind of relief. THANK YOU.

  27. Linda H says:

    Hi Milind,

    I just read your amazing article and it blew me away. I have sensitivities to every type of food that contains citrus and/or acetic acids, both in whole foods and their chemical cousins which are added into foods to preserve them. (I may also have a lactic acid sensitivity, I think, but am now going to rethink that because maybe my symptoms with dairy were due to added citric acid in the foods, such as fruit added to yogurt. I will chk into that part later.) The process you used to figure out what you were sensitive to and why is nothing short of miraculous. It has brought me new found hope. I thank God for leading me to your website, and I thank you very much! I stopped going to GI doctors a few years ago because I knew what they were saying was wrong.

    An endoscopy done in 2012 showed I had a mucosal abnormality with erythema in my stomach. I was treated for ulcers (despite no ulcer) that only made my problems worse. I was told I had gastritis, IBS, GERD, etc, etc. I am a 58 yr old woman. Up until I was in my 40’s I could eat some fruit and tomatos and sauce were not a problem, but the sensitivities to foods grew. Also, doctors prescribed me proton pump inhibitors for over 25 yrs which I took daily until they didn’t work any more. Prior to stopping them on my own, the drs doubled, tripled and quadrupled the dose of these which kept adfing to more GI problems. As hard as it was I stopped taking these PPIs 5 yrs ago. I had some improvement over time but it was easy coming off of these and I’m still struggling with stomach (literally, my stomach) issues. Back then I never questioned my doctors decisions. Now I do my homework on everything. PPIs should not be prescribed for more than a mo or two, never for 25+ years!

    Also, many skin symptoms, such as rashes and burning & itching of skin, and fungal infections. The fungal infections are something of interest to me regarding this because I believe I read the chemical form citric acid is made from fungi, aspergillus mainly! If this is true perhaps my skin symptoms and fungal infections are due to the chemical makeup (the fungi, aspergillus) used in making the chemical made form of citric acid and is used as a preservative in foods, such as in peach iced tea which made me very sick last night, waking me up at 2 am. Hopefully, once I am able to metabolize citric and acetic acids none of these will be a problem anymore. One can hope right?

    Anyway, I am about to embark on this strategy of yours and hope to return here to edit this starting comment I am posting. I am feeling very hopeful! I believe the Coenzyme A will help to metabolize these acids my body struggles with, just as it did for you. I will come back and edit this after I’ve given it a go.

    My only qstn to you right now is this, since I already know all the foods that contain citric acid and acetic acid bother me, do I need to start from scratch, or can I just add the B5 (or B complex) and the Pure Coenzyme A to me diet right away? Or do you think it would be best to let my tummy heal first before I even start taking the enzyme by eating a bland diet for a month prior? Maybe I should do both, add the enzyme and eliminate all citric and acetic foods for a month, and just follow your plan. I just talked myself into that.

    Thanks for your unprofessional expertise!

    Many blessings,

    L H

    • I think the plan you talked yourself into 🙂 is the best way to go. I added gradually after taking the coenzmye A for about three months. Others have just gone for it and seem to see results also. My preference is to rule out other possibilities but that’s just me being overly cautious.

      I too have lactose intolerance and manage that separately.

      Hope that you find relief and get your life back. Can’t wait to hear from you again.

      All my best,


    • I cannot believe my problems mirror hers. It took me three weeks with very little citrus acid, alcohol. Vinegar foods in my diet for coenzymes A to work for me. Because my problems was 24yrs in, I had to be treated
      for sibo and used herb Olive leaf extract.

      Yes thank God for Milind.

    • I’ve never read that an odor could be a byproduct of this issue. I don’t recall that being an issue with me – at least I never noticed and no one said anything. But also, I had nearly completely removed citric acid from my diet so that might have helped.

  28. Larry Jensen says:

    Please accept my thanks for the efforts you have made to seek answers to your own mysterious health challenge and your willingness to generously sharing your hypothesis and suggestions as a potential path to healing. I am very hopeful my reading of this article may be lead to a solution to a very frustrating and time consuming personal health issue. My hope would be to identify the causes of constant skin reactions and to find relief and healing.

    My facts are:
    -64-year old generally healthy male;
    -on-going and regular welts and skin lesions which are mostly confined to my scalp, temples, and forehead and tend to last 12-24 hours;
    -reactions began approximately seven years ago and have increased in frequency and intensity in the last 12 months;
    -seen family practice doctor for annual physical with extensive lab and blood work with almost all normal panel results except slightly elevated IGE;
    – seen allergist who conducted every possible allergic prick reaction test, additional blood tests, parasite tests, and stool sample tests; and stated, ‘I have no idea what is wrong with you’;
    -dermatologist did biopsy on both welts and skin lesions with no conclusions;
    -not much bowel pressure or bloating, but do notice with BM the welts subside more quickly;
    -Welts seem to result from food or drink ingestion in a time period of probably two to eight hours afterwards.
    -Welts are itchy and tend to appear on back of scalp, temples, around ears, and at edges of scalp
    -Scalp lesions are more tender sores

    Conducted recent challenge test with ACV which resulted in a welt on my temple within one hour. Have also had similar and regular reactions to berries, apples, grape juice (with citric acid), ketchup, mayonnaise, tomatoes, mustard, salad dressing, and potatoes. As you stated, citric acid is prevalent in food products where you expect and do not expect to find it. I think alcohol and coffee with 1/2 & 1/2 may have similar impacts as well. Stress may also create welts and sores.

    I have lost a good bit of weight (which is not all bad), but struggle daily to eat foods without vinegar and citric acid which are widely used in preparation and preserving of foods. As you stated it is challenging to avoid those foods and sauces which I know cause or could cause reactions. Antihistamines have very little impact or relief. Prednisone will provide relief. I also have allergies to penicillin and intolerance of aspirin (salicylic acid).

    I was unaware of the connection between acetic acid and citric acid until I read your paper. I ordered Pure Coenzyme A today and will let you know how it goes. Hopefully, I can find relief. Thanks again!

    • JR says:

      Your condition is very similar to mine in that I have skin sensitivity mainly with similar testing outcomes. It started with an exposure to dental amalgams. In my case I am also histamine intolerant. In fact the citric acid intolerance is somewhat mitigated with the supplementation but histamine remains an ongoing issue with certain foods like avocados and bananas. It sounds like you may have a salicylate sensitivity when you talk of intolerance to fruits. You may want to look into a low salicylate diet. Good luck!

      • Larry says:

        Thanks for your thoughts. I am and have been allergic to aspirin… prefer fruits and vegetables, but not the outcomes to many f them…

    • nancy wit says:

      Larry, I have similar issues. Facial hives/welts from digesting food that contain citric acid. I’ve been to an allergist who dismissed the CA intolerance and said I have a Balsam of Peru allergy, which is even more complex than CA if you can imagine. I’m certain it’s CA. I wonder if you could share with me if the Pure Coenzyme A has helped. Most everyone with this intolerance (from what I’ve read online) talks about stomach issues. That’s not the case for me. I’m hoping you tell me the Coenzyme has helped.

      I look forward in hearing from you.

  29. Janelle says:

    Thanks so much for your blog. I am now taking the coenzyme a and what a difference! Sorry I couldn’t buy it on amazon as they don’t ship here. Your blog has changed my health journey!

  30. Linn says:

    Can you provide a link to anything on Dr. Hardy’s site on sensitivity to citric acid? Thanks.

  31. Jolene says:


    I just found your site. The possibility of taking a pill and all of my citric acid problems going away seems too good to be true. I am 20 and have been unable to eat all berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, etc. my entire life. However, I never have had the IBS problems everyone seems to be describing. Instead, I always develop canker sores after ingesting any citric acid, within a day or two. I have just lived with constant mouth ulcers because I don’t have the discipline to cut out all processed foods. I am going to order the Coenzyme A and see if it helps. I would like to be able to enjoy foods and your success is encouraging.

    • Hi Jolene,

      Over the years of reading these comments and talking to people on the Citric Acid Intolerance Facebook page, I’ve heard how this issue affects people differently. Many have stated that the Coenzyme A supplement has helped them even though we don’t necessarily share the same symptoms. This remedy doesn’t help everyone but some people are fortunate.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    • Lisa byrne says:

      wow, thank you for mentioning canker sores-as a symptom, becasue I have had the worst case of them ever recently, and also a lot of mouth pain. But my dentist found nothing obvious. Finding out just recently about a likely very bad MCA (manufactured citric acid) sensitivity, and also have been unknowingly ingesting this ingredient in several supplements daily – for the past year. Stopped immediately, and hoping my mouth will clear up now! Hope you are doing better.

  32. Hello Cathleen,

    Thank you so much and I appreciate the new information. I had not heard about your first two points before.

    Regarding point 3: it’s interesting you ask the question because I had only looked at the research as confirmation that the byproducts of the citric acid cycle could find their was into the intestines. I had not attributed pyruvate as the irritant itself and I don’t think the paper I was referencing was doing that either. For me the paper confirmed that the metabolization malfunction and the incredible intestinal discomfort and pain could be linked. And by that point I was convinced that I had to give my body enough supplements to fix the citric acid metabolization problem in me.

    Thanks for commenting!

    • Babs says:

      Hi Cathleen,
      I am looking at the link you provided for Dr Hardy and I am not finding where he confirms citric acid intolerance sensitivity. Am I missing the link?

  33. Megan says:

    Hi Milind,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and your remedy. I had posted about my “allergy” in a Facebook health group, and your article was referenced.

    My whole life, I have not been able to eat tomatoes or else my mouth would burn, my face would itch, and a few days later I would develop blisters on my mouth. I just thought I was allergic to tomatoes. As I got older, I realized that it was also citrus fruits I couldn’t eat either. I just figured they were too acidic and avoided them. My mother has this same “allergy”.

    After your article was brought to my attention, I started taking B5 daily (35mg). I have only been taking the supplement for a few weeks, and I’ve already tested some food that have always produced a reaction previously. So far, no reaction from anything!

    It’s pretty amazing, no doctor has ever had any helpful advice, and I was never able to find anything helpful through my own internet searches. I’m so happy to know that I can eat pizza or even enjoy pineapple without any consequence! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this article to help others.

    • Hi Megan,

      My reactions to citric acid are very different from yours so I might not have recommended the same course of action. It’s very interesting to hear the you saw similar success. Thank you for sharing because I’m sure that will help so many others!

  34. Going to give the B5 & L-Cysteine a shot and ordered it today. Thank you for your excellent article. I have always been sensitive to citric acid, it gives me mouth ulcers and when added to shampoo breaks my scalp out in gnarly bumps and itchy sores. I’ve had GI issues since I was born but they have gotten worse and changed slowly over time. The ramifications of never digesting food correctly stretches to every body system. I’m 42 now and am worried about bowel cancer or losing part of my intestine if I can’t get my symptoms under control. My doctor has the whole, “these things happen” approach. I’ve been on a low FODMAP diet for ten years. I can’t eat fodmaps without immediate consequences that are NOT vague. Going to try to avoid vinegar now, people kept telling me that ACV would cure me so I’ve been dumping it on my food. Hmm, that might be the culprit. I have a hard time digesting anything though honestly at this point. If I could just not eat – that would be awesome.
    [ Currently Taking: CoQ10, Magnesium, Vitamin D with K, L-Tyrosine, L-Glutamtine, B12, Multi-Vitamins, L-Tryptophan (tiny dose to sleep), 3 brands of heavy duty Probiotics taken throuought the day without food and only with water. During full flare up with sores: Aloe Vera Gels from Now Brand, Intesinew from Renew Life Brand.] Currently eating Corn Chex with Whole Milk, Bananas and some Noodle Soup or as I like to call it ‘The Beige Diet’ – I have tried, Vegan, Dr.McDougall Plant Based, Paleo, SCD, and LCHF. The best food combo for me so far has been not eating at all, but I can’t keep it up for very long. I’ll let you know my results 😀

    • Hi Paula,

      So sorry to hear you’re having such a hard time for so long. I hope what I’ve discussed gives you a little relief. I would also recommend the Facebook group for Citric Acid Intolerance for more options and additional support.

      All the best.

  35. walshsurvey says:


    Thank you for this wonderful description of your troubles with citric acid.

    I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and IBS in 2000. I was in quite a miserable state. In 2005 I was treated by a naturopath and he told me I was intolerant to wheat, soy, dairy and a few other things. After cutting those items out of my diet I was able to come off of my horrible bipolar medications. It was such a relief to be able to use my brain again. After about 7 years I was able to add in moderate amounts of soy and hard cheese without any problems. But even a little crumb of wheat will leave me in pain and tied to the washroom.

    But the IBS was unaffected. I have been having severe IBS-D for 15-20 years. It has gotten so bad that I have blood tests that are consistent with metabolic acidosis (Acidic blood caused by unrelenting diarrhea). In 2015 I started having severe upper back pain that has not been diagnosed. On new years eve 2016 I went on a 15 day juice diet followed by a 30 day whole food cleanse. It was awful and ended up feeling worse. The juice diet made my IBS worse and then the whole food diet (which is predominately meat made my back pain worse. So I went on a protein restriction diet and my back pain is under control. At the same time I realized that my Diet coke habit was causing me to have arthritis in my ankles, wrists and knees. So I went off Diet Coke.

    And all this brings me to citric acid. Once I was off Diet coke I was able to realize that citric acid was a big problem for me. If I had a drink containing citric acid, that night or the next day I would have painful diarrhea. My diarrhea is under control by restricting citric acid containing drinks. I have a daily salsa habit that does not seem to cause any problems. Sooooooo, all this to say that I am relieved to read that there are others like me. I will continue my pop (soda) ban and when I have a spare $100 I will try the Pure Coenzyme A that you talked about.

    • I’m so pleased to hear you’ve been able to isolate and deal with such a complex set of issues.

      I know how you feel about being able to think again. While I have not been diagnosed so severely, the supplements along with a prescription level of folic acid has helped clear up mental fog and help with concentration at levels that I never had in my youth. People who have never dealt with difficulty thinking would just never understand how that’s even possible.

      The mention of metabolic acidosis is interesting. I never knew that could be an outcome of extensive diarrhea. Once, very early into my condition, I had food poisoning and was sick for days. After that I was symptom free for three months, able to eat and drink anything. It didn’t make sense then and I’m still wondering how that could be but I always assumed (never really researched) that the diarrhea reduced my acid levels. I should look into it further.

      Thanks for sharing.

  36. Phyllis says:

    That god I found this page it will help me so much. I am relieved to see it is not just me.

    • Hi Phyllis,

      Not alone at all! Check out the Facebook page I have linked to in the post if you seek some community. Very awesome people there.

  37. Cynthia says:

    I have had this condition since my early 20’s, and have had these symptoms for 40 years. I have been to many doctors, many gastroenterologists, and not one of them suggested citric acid intolerance. They even included citiric acid as part of the pre-colonoscopy cleanse!

    I have been researching my symptoms for years and finally found the common denominator, citric acid. This page has been a godsend, and you are my hero. Thank you for your investigations, making it possible for those of us afflicted to get their life back!

  38. Jo Leggett says:

    All the information on your site has been really helpful. I was advised to go on a FODMAP diet by the doctor, but I realised this wasn’t working for me. Like you, I eventually isolated citric acid and vinegar as the main offenders. Prior to this I cut out milk and through doing this I realised I was lactose-intolerant too. I’ve purchased the supplement, cut out the citric acid as far as I can (I do have some degree of tolerance as I can eat tomatoes raw, but cooked tomatoes definitely bring back symptoms) and things have been much better. I am really appreciative of you sharing your story and helping others the way you have. Thanks so much Milind, it’s good to know we aren’t nuts!

    • Hi Jo,

      I’m so happy to hear you found benefits in the remedy. We are indeed NOT nuts!

      Please do pop back in a few months to let us know how it’s going. Feel free to ask any questions you may have along the way.

      • Hey, How about the citric acid that is made from acetone and/or glycerol? This citric acid is the cause of prostate swelling and frequent and difficult urinating. It is also the root cause of OAB (Over Active Bladder) in women. Over the long term you bladder slowly fills with “calculus”. This is why you have to go so many times. I used to have to get up to piss 5 or6 times every night. In women they have over active bladders. In men the same thing but men have the prostate gland which swells up and pinches off his urinary track and makes it hard to urinate.
        I think I am detecting citric acid in milk.

  39. Chad says:

    Thanks so much for all this great information. I am still on the path of figuring out what is up with me but this web page and the responses are great. I am 45 and for the last three years have suffered from crazy new allergies and intolerance’s. I am very allergic to synthetic fragrance which is found in everything, and have noticed that certain foods and drink with citric acid seem to bother me. My symptoms are hives on my lower back and on my forehead and temples. Though the process of elimination I believe I have also found I have an intolerance to Sodium Benzoate which is a nasty preservative that many companies have removed from their foods as if it combines with vitamin C it becomes a carcinogen. I have just picked up some B-Complex Vitamin and hope I hope that clears things up. Things that have helped me greatly are eliminating beer, soda, and Soy sauce from my diet. By doing this the hives are greatly reduced, and my stools are much more solid and normal as my digestive track seems more healthy. Sorry to be a bit graphic but don’t know how else to share. Organic Soy Sauce does not bother met as its free of the synthetic preservatives. I know that my response meanders a bit off of Citric acid but I figured others may be running into similar things.

    • Tracy says:

      Our allergy exclusions list keeps getting longer and longer. I recently read about an actual allergy to yeast and it just might cover everything we are allergic to so far. I’m doing an elimination diet to see if that’s it or not. Anyway, yeast allergy folks have to avoid citric acid, alcohol, vinegar, fermented foods (includes soy sauce), gluten, dairy, cooked tomatoes, etc. etc.

      • Hi Tracy,

        That’s interesting. I’ve never directly associated my problems to eating breads (although my limited understanding is that yeast has transformed greatly by the time it’s bread). There was a period where I was investigating the possibility of an intestinal candida infection as a cause for my issues but I never concluded anything from that line of investigation. That shouldn’t rule anything out though – I was at a stage where I was jumping at everything. It would be interesting to see from your data if elimination of breads and other yeast sources alleviates any of the other symptoms.

    • Hi Chad,

      I somehow missed your comment from July. Sorry about that.

      I never knew this about Sodium Benzoate. I feel like I’ve seen it enough in labels but will now be extra aware.

      How are things going now that a few months have passed since you commented here?

      • Chad Thomsen says:

        Hi Miland. Things have gotten worse and better at the same time and you are a great man for putting this site up. Things have gotten better as I have learned to avoid anything with acetic acid in them. The sodium benzoate allergy may or may not be there as I have a feeling that when I had issues with it I was also consuming enough stuff with acetic acid in it to show a reaction on my face. Maybe I could be a doctor as I have my first misdiagnosis? (Haha!) The worse thing is that acetic acid aka vinegar is in everything! Hot wing sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pepper sauce, pickles, most salad dressings, and the list goes on. And the other worse thing is that alcohol breaks down into guess what… acetic acid. Heck Soy sauce has it in it too and it bothers me. I never have been a big drinker but I do like a social craft beer after riding mountain bikes with friends. I have cut all that out of my diet too. I just purchased this Coenzyeme A that you suggested hoping it will do the trick as this limited diet thing is for the birds. I had purchased “Super Enzymes” from amazon about a month ago and have been taking them along with a multi vitamin, and vitamin B supplements but they have done zero to cure the issue. Lets hope that my system reacts to the Coenzyme A likes yours does. If it does I don’t know how I will ever pay you back for the knowledge imparted on this blog.

      • Chad Thomsen says:

        I seem to have misdiagnosed my self as I have figured out that it appears that I have a sensitivity to Acetic acid. I say this as anytime I have any type of sauce or food that has lots of vinegar in it my skin breaks out. This also includes Wine, Beer and any type of alcohol. I am not 100% sure of the diagnosis as I have not tried hard liquor since I don’t typically drink it. I have stopped drinking beer all together due to this. So I am trying the Coenzyme A but have not had enough time to find out if it works for me. I have a few questions for you.

        1. Do you still take the Coenzyme A?
        2. Does the timing of when you take the Coenzyme A make a difference? The bottle says to take it 30 minutes before you eat? Does taking after the meal help (if you forget to take it before?)
        3. Did you try anything else and if so what was it and how did it work? Was curious as the Conenzyme A is pretty pricey.

        Any help is much appreciated.



        • Hi Chad. Not sure why I missed your first comment – I seem to not be getting notifications like I used to. Sorry about the delay in responding to you.

          To answer your questions in order:
          1. I continue to take Coenzyme A regularly. I experimented getting off of it and over time my intolerance returned. So it’s something I’m going to have to continue taking but I do not need to take as much as I needed when I started the remedy. Now I take a pill every couple of days. Missing a dose is no big deal.
          2. This supplement was designed by the manufacturer for energy boosting so the instructions on the bottle are different from how I take them. I don’t take with a meal – it wasn’t like taking a lactose enzyme pill. My thinking is that the pill enables my body to product coenzyme A so that by having a steady dose of these supplements in my body, metabolization continues to occur normally.
          3. I tried taking only B vitamins and while I saw improvement I didn’t see the level of improvement I see with the Coenzyme A pills. There are other manufacturers out there but haven’t experimented with their products. The individual ingredients can mostly be bought separately but I never did the math to see which is cheaper. Honestly, I couldn’t take that many pill everyday so having just one pill has been easier. I agree though, the cost is high but since I don’t need to take them as often now it’s not as bad. At first I was going through them pretty fast but I needed it.

          I would recommend only buying one bottle at a time because they will become less effective if they sit around. Also, keep the bottle in the fridge to preserve it longer.

          Going back to your comment: I have found soy sauce that does not contain alcohol from natural fermentation, which was okay for me. It was one of my few sources for tasty food. Alcohol breaks down into several components and one is acetic acid, so I have felt your pain.

          I’m glad you have found the source of the issue and hope this remedy helps. If the doctor helps you identify something specific, please do come back and us know the path you are on since it might help others looking for some answers.

          Thanks, Chad.

        • LAMS says:

          Sounds like the commonality is fermented foods. Have you considered ‘Histamine Intolerance’?
          How are you making out with the supplement?

          • LAMS says:

            BTW….forgot to mention, I’m having the same skin reaction so I can totally relate. Fermented foods are the worst for me.
            I’m also really sensitive to all acidic foods which brings me to the second theory I’m testing out, insufficient bicarbonates to satisfy my body’s buffering system. It’s the only thing I can think of that would cause me to react to HCL pills, lactic acid in fermented foods, acetic acid in vinegar, citric acid, etc.

          • Chad Thomsen says:

            I believe HCL is hyrdrocloric acid? Something like?:

            The Coenzyme A did not seem to do much for me. I have done a lot of research on Leaky Gut Syndrome and I believe that is tied into to my issues. I have been taking probiotics and enzymes for a while and they seem to help a little bit but its difficult to tell as I have changed my diet up a bunch too. Today I start taking the five supplements for leaky gut as outline in Dr. Axes page here: I have zero associations to Dr. Axe other then like the other folks out here I am trying to find a solution to what ales me. Diet changes include lunch meat sandwiches being repalced by, granola and nuts for lunch. Also trying to eat more natural stuff such as more fruits and veggies. I have cut just about anything that contains vinegar out of my diet which includes a ton of products. I can’t even eat pizza anymore without seeing a very minor reaction on my face. Yes I do cheat sometime on my diet. Now I look at food with vinegar in it and ask myself “is it worth it?” Sometimes I am willing to pay the price. There are other times I am surprised such as the other day I had Pace band Queseo on my corn chips with Mexican food. I had a reaction the next day and started reading the labels the next day and found that even Queseo has vinegar in it. Its gotten to the point where if I have a surprise reaction I can usually find vinegar in my diet from the last 24 to 72 hrs. Its extremely rare that its something else.

            I will post up in a another month as to how things are going. Once again thanks for this blog as its very helpful and I hope my info helps others as well.

          • Thanks for providing such valuable information. People come to this page for many reasons because so many of us are dealing with mystery ailments. I’m sure this info will help someone else.

            I was finding vinegar in everything. Oy to have to remove all condiments from my diet but soy sauce – and for that had to make sure there was no naturally fermented alcohol.

            To bad the Coenzyme A didn’t work but it does sound like you’re dealing with something other than a metabolism issue. How long did you use the coenzyme A?

            Do come back and share updates. Would love to hear if it all works out.

          • Hi LAMS,

            I’ve been doing well with the supplement.

            It’s not fermented foods though because soy sauce and pickles in brine were fine. Maybe you could elaborate if I didn’t understand.

            How are fermented foods tied into histamine intolerance? I never heard of that before so I’ll look into it.

          • Chad Thomsen says:

            Thought I would give an update to my situation in order to help others with similar issues. In my case I believe I do have a “Histamine Intolerance”. What is odd about it is that some naturally occurring food such as Citrus and nuts do not bother me. Vinegar and fermented items seem to be the culprit in my case. I have gotten much better and this is what I have done:

            1. Probiotics – 50 biillion CFU and 10 strains –
            Renew Life Extra Care Probiotic, Ultimate Flora, 50 Billion, 60 Capsules (What I take now)
            Vitamin Bounty – Pro 50 Probiotic – 13 Probiotic Strains, 50 Billion Organisms Per Serving (I used to take and may switch back. I switched as Amazon was out of stock for a long time)
            -CFU count and the amount of strains are important.

            2. Nature’s Way Nettle Leaf, 100 Capsules Stinging Nettles are really good for histamine reactions and blocking them.

            3. NOW Quercetin with Bromelain, 240 Veg Capsules

            I can now have a few beers without reactions and have not noticed any major reaction except when I had sushi with a lot of soy sauce. Foods that use to bother me for the most part don’t bother my anymore but I am still kind of careful as I can tell when something does. I did find out though research that people with sensitivities to histamine also tend to be sensative to sodium benzoate and other preservatives. So what caused all the initial problems? I believe taking prednisone lowered the “good bacteria” in my gut to a point where my body could not process a lot of the things that bothered me. Prednisone (a steroid for treating skin reactions and other things) and antibiotics are very hard on gut health. I took prednisone for several months on and off to deal with a reaction I had to drier sheets (fabric softener). Those things are toxic and poke around the net if you don’t believe me. I had never used drier sheets in m entire life and got married again at the age of 40 and my wife brought drier sheets into my life which started a chain reaction that let me to having patch testing in which I figured out I was allergic to fragrance some food preservatives and schlac. I was so bad a few times my eyes were almost swollen shut due to reactions to fragrance. Most fragrance is synthetic which helps explain why I could not tolerate it as it seems in my case if its something I can’t tolerate its usually synthetic, fermented or aged (old stinky cheese such as blue cheese). A year after the patch testing I started having issues with food. How did I come to these conclusions? Keeping a detailed food log and a fairly strict diet when I was trying to figure out what was happening was the key. It also helped me to find out what worked and what did not. The only time I ever saw a doctor about it was for patch testing. The reason is I had a strong feeling it had to do with my gut health and most doctors today want to give you some medication to deal with that which has bad side effects that I already experienced. Its hard to find a holistic doctor that specializes in this area. So I spend hours on the net researching, ead a few books, and figured I would try to cure my self first, and if that does not work I would try to find a holistic (Naturopathic) doctor. Here are a few URLS that I found extremely helpful:

            ***I did not take all the stuff these guys suggest, but I like their explanation of what is happening. I though on first review it was a bunch of ‘quackery’ but soon realized, in my case, it was not.

            Any questions post up and I will try to help out. I stress that I am not a doctor but was only like you in trying to find what ails me.

          • Chad,

            Wow! That’s an update. Thank you for the detailed information and sorry it took so long for me to approve and post the comment.

            One question I have: I didn’t quite understand how you isolated your problem to a Histamine Intolerance specifically.

          • LAMS says:

            Milind, Sorry for not responding sooner but I didn’t get notification that there were responses to my previous posts.

            1) HCL is hydrochloric acid. A digestive aid I’d hoped would alleviate some of my symptoms but just made everything worse.

            I should also add to the below part of my previous post….

            “I’m also really sensitive to all acidic foods which brings me to the second theory I’m testing out, insufficient bicarbonates to satisfy my body’s buffering system. It’s the only thing I can think of that would cause me to react to HCL pills, lactic acid in fermented foods, acetic acid in vinegar, citric acid, etc.”

            ….I did find a product that helped the reaction to acidic foods. It’s called Prelief. (I don’t have any connection to the company and don’t remember how I came to it.) …But unfortunately had to stop taking it as I was reacting to one of the ingredients in it.

            2) Fermented foods are all high in histamine as it is a byproduct of the fermentation process.

            Like several others, my reactions are primarily skin related – rashes, welts, at times weeping welts, etc. Primarily, my issues are with ascorbic acid, citric acid, HCL, alcohol, acetic acid, acidic fruits (lemon, pineapple, cooked tomatoes, etc) and aged or fermented (histamine intolerance) foods & probiotics.

            I have my bottle of Pure CoEnzyme A and am going to give it a go. When you tried the pantothenic acid, did you take pantothenic acid or pantethine? I have both and will probably play around with them as well. Will update if there’s anything to tell. So over it already!!!

            Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and victory. It gives much needed hope.

        • Teri says:

          do you have the same problem with citrus fruits? I broke out horribly from citrus, only citrus, you could tell if I had orange juice or a slice of tomato by looking are my face.. twenty years later, I’m having issues with vinegar too…. the citrus allergy didn’t show up on allergy tests, or be diagnosed by multiple doctors on two continents.. it took my mum noticing the gold bracelet I was wearing left a black mark on my skin, too much acid.

          • Hi Teri,

            Yes all citrus food was problematic. But I wasn’t having a reaction exactly like yours. For me it was purely digestive.

        • Jane says:

          I skipped beer and wine and tried vodka. Still had the reaction. I’ll save you the trouble

  40. Jennifer says:

    Can you recommend a more specific non-acidic food list (or a link) to start with? I think I’ve just discovered where many life-long inflammatory symptoms are coming from and I would like to investigate it further. I went on a raw diet to lose some weight and on day nine I flared unbelievably. I’m normally a pescatarian who eats a very small amount of fish and cheese but otherwise no animal products.

  41. JR says:

    Thanks so much for your writing. There is very little information and help so it is valuable to hear from people like you and others on this page. I am writing so that someone could be helped from my experience.

    I DEVELOPED citric acid/acetic acid and histamine intolerance after mercury poisoning via my dental amalgams (13 superficial fillings but 10 seems to be a toxic limit – it still amazes me that metal is approved for use in the mouth by the ADA!!). Immediately after the amalgams were put in, I developed eczematic patches all over my body and some bizarre food intolerances – cilantro, cumin, almonds etc., foods I could eat with no issues at all prior. The amalgams were taken out after 6 months of exposure but it has taken me 7 years to figure out the extent of my troubles. I have done several mercury detoxes, including Quicksilver’s detox which is the latest. However it seems that the liver damage is done. My lingering symptoms are eczema on the back of my neck (and hives ONLY in the eczematic part) whenever I consume trigger foods – I don’t know them all because they are very varied. Also some foods will irritate my skin (butter, ghee, almonds, cashes, quinoa, avocados etc etc) whereas some others like soda/cola/salad dressings/balsamic vinegar will result in inflamed sinuses and a persistent headache that will set in about 6 hours after eating and last for a couple of days.

    I am going to try your remedy – I thank again so much for posting!

    • Hi JR,

      That’s such a complex range of issues to deal with. I would like to hear back from you to see how it goes and if the supplement helped any.

      The connection to mercury is interesting but I didn’t think fillings, even the metal ones, were made from mercury anymore. If I may ask, from which country are you based?

      Wishing you the best of luck.

      • JR says:

        I live in the US and yes metal fillings still have mercury in them. A search on Youtube for mercury fillings is eye-opening 🙂 Many people don’t realize their symptoms maybe related to their teeth. The symptoms could range from dysfunctional metabolism to nervous system and mental symptoms.

        Once again, thanks for your blog and yes I will certainly update when I can.

      • JR says:

        Also, you may find this technical article very useful. It pertains to autism but many of the symptoms are similar to what people experience with these metabolic disorders. It briefly touches upon how the liver processes citric acid. I found the information useful in understanding some underlying pathophysiology and in pursuing remedial therapies.

  42. Barb says:

    I have the same issue with citric acid when I am running. If I ingest gels or Gatorade with citric acid it causes me to have muscle weakness and it also gives me stomach cramps. I have assumed it is a histamine reaction but that is just my assumption.

  43. Chris says:

    Thanks for this site! I am hopeful that this is the root of my problem although my symptoms are not digestive. My response to citric acid (I assume) is weakness in my muscles/connective tissue that cause me to feel weak and get injured when I train. I feel like crap when I eat any foods with citric acid or supplements with citrate. I don’t know why it would manifest in this manner if it is truly citric acid intolerance. Have you ever heard of anyone with non-digestive symptom?

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for writing in.

      This is all such an imprecise science so far that only you can make the determination if your symptoms are truly tied to citric acid. Several people have reported non-digestive issues ranging from fatigue to rash, so might be possible.

      I am making some correlations between a general fogginess I always seems to experience and my citric acid intolerance. Several people have also mentioned this fogginess and difficulty in thinking. I haven’t quite solidified it into a theory but feel that the Coenzyme A and a multivitamin help in that area. I can’t say for sure just yet.

      If you feel strongly that citric acid is truly to blame, and it seems you have evidence for it, you might consider jointing the citric acid intolerance Facebook group where you’ll find some very supportive people in like situations.

      I would love to hear how you decide to deal with your condition and how it goes.



    • Jaderel says:

      Yes, absolutely. I have a citric acid intolerance, but it manifests as horrible migraines usually the next morning. Once I had a coffee drink made of black coffee and some kind of flavoring from Starbucks and got a migraine within 20 minutes, and sure enough, there is citric acid in the flavoring. It wasn’t a sour drink or anything so I didn’t suspect it. It’s a very common preservative though. Migraines are horrible with a whole slew of symptoms and I’ve been to the ER and urgent care for them multiple times.

  44. Margaret kew says:

    Statins inhibit natural production of co enzymeA. Could this cause citric acid intolerance?

    • Hi Margaret,

      There is B5 in the coenzyme A supplement in the form of Pantethine or Pantothenic Acid. However, I do take a multi-vitamin. This is not for metabolism but for general health. I am not sure if the multi-vitamin has had any impact on the citric acid issue.

  45. Tracy says:

    This is a problem that has run in my family for 3 generations. My Dad has a mild reaction after he eats certain citrus foods, mainly tomatoes. My reaction is a little worse. I get skin rash, hives and itching when eating citric fruits or processed meats mainly. However when I smell strong citrus odors I will break out in hives and rash. But whats really bad is my daughter. If she smells, eats or touches something with citrus she gets rashes, itching, hives and can go into anaphlaxis. She has to carry Epi-pens with her at all times. I even had to home school her because the school system refused to protect her. Thank you for posting this as I hope to give her somewhat of a more normal life.

    • Hi Tracy,

      Wow. That’s pretty severe. You’re not the only one that has mentioned allergic reactions. Do you regularly take antihistamines? Do they help?

      I hope this information has helped in some way. Please let me know how you all are doing.

    • Nicole says:

      I too seem to have inherited the allergy from my grandmother who shared with me the story of her reaction to tomatoes after hearing me discuss the reaction I’d had to eating too many grapefruit. I didn’t know it then, for I was just ten, but 15 years later, what I thought was just a reaction to mangoes became a nightmare which boggled me — I couldn’t figure out what caused the dermatitis, or the hives when I got into a shower that was too hot and neither could my allergist. So, I do take a prescription histamine blocker and in the past year, I independently figured out tomatoes was a part of the issue, for my itch became more frequent and more fierce. However, I realized it was more than that when after eating a few Hot Cheetos, my feet began to welt and sting along with my hands to a maddening level. I teach and let me say until you’ve taken itchingly ill with stinging welts in front of 20+ kids you’ve not seen anything. It led me to look for help, and that’s when I found your site. And began looking for the other culprit(s): it was other citrus fruit, which most recently I’ve determined includes citric acid additives. I bake and even using the peel is causing a reaction. And, after the movie last evening, wherein my daughter drank soda, she too came home complaining of an itch — dermatitis on her arms. FYI: I gave up soda last year when I figured out it caused me to itch madly — screaming while scratching kind of itching; scratching with ice kind of itching; can’t walk, just elevate your feet and spray with Benadryl –hurry kids, help you mom is dying kind of itching.

      Enough with the itch which is even more persistent, but less painful for I’m more cautious. This allergy has gotten me to do things I hate: “read labels,” drink water and make homemade sweet teas without citrus. I logged back on looking for some solutions that don’t involve Zyrtec (which makes me drowsy), Benadryl (liquid which I place under my tongue in small amounts when the all-over tingling itch begins moments after ingestion), and Hydroxyzine (which leaves me irritable for 36 hours and unable to drive for at least 8). Then, I saw what I’d forgotten the Vitamin B tip. Ironically, I was reading because I want to make steamed fish which calls for citrus and I don’t want to take medicine. I’d also just started to tingle lightly (something must’ve been in the fast food) and took a Vitamin B — within 15-20 minutes the tingling which was managably annoying stopped. I’m getting the CA tomorrow and talking to the folks at the natural food store.

      • Hi Nicole,

        I love the way you write!

        Thanks for sharing your story. While I haven’t had the same reactions as you — yours seem more like an allergic reaction and while mine, I’m convinced, are related to metabolization — I would really like to hear if this treatment helps you too. Please do come back and share your story.

        There are so many people that have very similar reactions to you on the Facebook group I link to in the post. You might want to check that out if you want more stories to learn from and more people to share with.

        All the best.


  46. Kathy Merrick says:

    I stumbled upon your website after trying to figure out how many B5 vitamins a day I could take, because as with you although they helped me A LOT I am still taking a lot of benidral for my reactions. When I can afford it I am hoping to try the Coenzyme A supplement like you did as I am also a diabetic and having to watch what I eat so much is a pain in the rear!! I can’t thank you enough for posting this I really do hope it helps me as much as it helped you!

    • Hi Kathy,

      I’m wondering how you’re doing and if you’ve felt any benefit from the remedy. Would love to hear.

      Also, if I may ask, does the Benadryl help with the reactions? I’m particularly interested to hear if an antihistamine has any reaction.

    • If you have a hard time absorbing your B vitamins, you might want to try to take them in a methylated form. I take the Jarrow brand. It might be a sign that you have the MTHFR gene mutation.

      • Hi Erin,

        I have danced around the MTHFR gene mutation as a source of my issues for a while. Once I tried to have myself tested only to have the health insurance company tell me it was an experimental test and so wouldn’t cover it. But now that you bring it up, I think it’s time I dug into MTHFR again.

    • Amanda says:

      I too am also diabetic with alot of the same symptoms on this page. I discovered years ago that I was allergic to citric acid… guessing many manufactured citric acid… more recently I have been having severe symptoms & that I even took a leave of absence at work…I think my main culprit that is making my reaction worse is actually a diabetic medication that my doctor recently upped my dosage on..It works great for my sugar levels but bad in general…I have extremely hypersensitive skin…rashes, itching on the skin.. everywhere, bumps/welts on scalp, extremely bad ear pain…doctor said inside my ears look fine but the outer areas are really red, also now muscular chest pain, much worse heartburn, hard stools, urinating more often, constipation at times, ankle was swollen…went away then finger was swollen yesterday… that went away today and now today woke up with upper lip severely swollen, constant fatigue, cysts, edema, lesions around my mouth..and I believe that’s all my symptoms currently…just read a little bit ago that an inactive ingredient in one of my diabetic medications is citric acid asphorus (might have gotten last word wrong in the citric name)…the medication for diabetes containing it is called trulicity…it is a like an insulin pen..I inject the shot once a week…I’m hoping I have found what’s causing these severe symptoms…more recently my doctor upped the trulicity dosage…she doubled it…So plz as a diabetic & anyone who has to take medication check and research all ingredients in your medication also…Currently I’m just trying to find out what will help relieve these symptoms and deathly scared of how long it will be before their gone…because the trulicity dose lasts force all that medication with the citric acid is flowing around inside my body…and even then I’m not sure how long it takes the medication to fully leave your body…my doctor & most here in Wisconsin don’t really know anything about any of this and seem like they care not to anyways…Ironically my provider listed in on my chart along time ago citric acid as an allergy..think if they cared or made sure their patient was getting the right treatment would have put 2 and 2 together and realized “oh, she has an allergy to citric acid and it’s an inactive ingredient in her diabetic medication, maybe I shouldn’t have that prescribed to her.” But nope she did anyways…Was and still a bit scared bc of the chest pain, shortness of breath at times, chest tenderness that something bad may happen suddenly…like a heart attack or heart failure etc…

      By the way for the skin bumps/rashes/itching skin I use only mainly an essential oil homemade blend to help…
      A) if you use any of the essential oils make sure you check their ingredients bc to truly be effective they must be 100% pure…most are not especially ones carried at regular stores…
      B) Always use a carrier oil to dilute the essential oil
      C) Carriers oils need to also be 100% pure

      Carrier Oils
      1. Jojoba oil (I currently use this one)
      (Great for sensitive skin)
      2. Argan oil (good in low amounts if you have problematic skin or it can cause problematic skin to become worse)
      3. Sesame seed oil
      4. Cocoa butter (don’t use if you have combination skin)
      5. Shea butter (best 100% pure and it will say unfiltered if truly 100% pure bc you need filter it yourself)
      – boil hot water on stove
      – have some type of item with small little. . holes in it (spoon type, strainer type.
      – once water is done boiling take your
      shea butter out if it’s package/container
      and put it in a plastic zip log bag and
      place it in the water…
      – once the butter is liquified get an empty
      container that you will keep your filtered
      shea butter
      – pour your liquified shea butter through
      your straining/filtering tool over your
      empty container.
      – When done place container in fridge and.
      shea butter will revert back to previous.
      6. Grapeseed oil
      7. Sesame seed oil
      8. There’s probably more just look up carrier oils

      Essential Oil’s I Use

      Seabuck Thorn oil!

      (Only 100% pure oil not the gel caps…) (#1 for problematic skin issues..speeds healing of skin wounds/rashes/welts/etc.. extremely faster then normal…Also will dramatically reduce any scars left behind to almost not even barely having them there anymore..sooo many more uses..
      The pure oil form color does have yellow color which can stain skin/clothes…if it’s not yellow it’s not pure.. For the prevention of staining dilute the oil with one of the listed carrier oils

      2.) Pomegranate essential oil (great for itching skin)

      3.) Tea Tree oil

      4) Lavender oil

      5) Neem seed oil

      6) Candulula oil (it’s for problematic skin)

      7.) Geranium oil

      All of these oils need to be diluted with selected carrier oil before being applied to skin…look up dilution ratio. I just make one batch of oil with each of these oils each diluted first together..(I just mix them altogether and apply on my skin 2-3 times a day everyday…should notice healing speed in about 1 day or 2…

      To calm my whole body of itching I take a soaking bath with
      1.) Oatmeal pre made bath mix in it
      2.) All of the the oils above I use in it..
      3.) Mix in more then anything the pomegranate oil, tea tree oil, and lavender oil
      4.) Soak my whole body including soaking my scalp and top of my scalp in the bath for as long as I can… usually until water becomes cold…
      When I get out of bath skin is severely less itchy and calmer and lasts longer…so I can actually sleep.

      I hope this helps those who have the itchy, rash/skin lesions symptoms.
      I’m mainly trying to find out what will help with immune system reactions…like the chest pain, increased heartburn, fewer bowl movements, harder stools, fatigue abdominal pain etc…

      Thank you soo much for this article!!!! So genuinely happy to see I’m not alone nor crazy for believing this is the cause and the symptoms are real. …

      Again, cannot stress enough check every medication you are prescribed on top of what you eat, use for skin care, laundry detergent, even type of soap you use to wash your hands, Anything that goes on or in your body….

      Going to stores in a little bit to get items to help after reading and making list of things that will help relieve the other symptoms….

  47. SWebb says:

    22 years ago I suddenly had extreme reactions. At first, doctors thought I had bowel cancer and after months of hospital appointments and being told my bowel was damaged, it took me to work out myself that it was citric acid, acetic acid, etc, that caused the extreme reactions, pain, and feeling completely exhausted. I then have had 22 years of struggling and checking constantly what was in foods I ate and being the awkward friend who couldn’t go to the Chinese for a meal or causing problems at parties. I have tried vitamin b complex supplement tablets and after 5 months of taking daily I have tried salt and vinegar crisps and I’m ok! I can’t believe it! Still I have had four bags over the past week – not great for my diet, I know, but I knew I would react to them but I haven’t. I’m taking it slow and hope at Christmas to have a picked onion!

    I really hope this is it!

    Anyone thinking about trying vitamin b, give it a go.

    • Hi S. Webb,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It seems a lot of us go on this multi-year journey before getting past the doctor-speak and realizing what the real issue is. I hope that with all the people that are discovering that citric acid consumption is becoming a problem, that doctors will take notice and not give people the run around like they did you. It’s not their fault – they can only know so much – but let’s hope we’re helping the medical establishment with our discoveries.

      I have tried vitamin b’s only and I’ve definitely seen some improvements. Discovering that helped me go down this path in isolating that citric acid was the issue. Seems I needed a little more but I’m happy you found the solution that works for you and can live again. That example you gave about meeting friends for Chinese food, and the party, really hit home – I had those experiences exactly, among many other similar ones. But no more!

      All the best!

  48. Andrew Herbert says:

    Hi Milind

    Thank you so much for this page. I read it in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep because of, yes you guessed it, abdominal discomfort and aching all over which I have gradually worked out over the years must be related to ingestion of acid. I stopped drinking alcohol in my mid20s (I’m 47 now) because even a glass of wine made me feel unwell for about 2 days. I then discovered to my surprise that soft drinks had the same effect – which looks like citric acid is the culprit as they all contain it – every single one. My symptoms have recurred at times ever since, and I think this is when I’ve had a spike in my intake of citric acid through food, canned tomatoes, various fresh fruits (but not apples), curry pastes etc. being the main triggers. Clearly my symptoms are much milder than yours but on the same lines I think.

    One thought to add in to the mix. I read somewhere (not sure where) that the body has a mechanism for managing the level of citric (and maybe acetic) acid in its systems and cells. If there’s too much, it should excrete the excess, leaving only what can be used. Given than one or both acids are involved in the metabolic cycle, I got thinking about what would happen if that balance mechanism didn’t work properly i.e. you simply end up with too much citric or acetic acid in the body at a cellular level.

    Could it be that the body would try to use up the excess through metabolism (there are times when I have almost inexplicable amounts of energy!). If that was the case, the body would be more likely to exhaust supplies of the ingredients it needs to synthesise CoA. That would in turn lead to the malfunction of the TCA cycle, leading to build up of intermediate outputs which may themselves reach irritant/toxic levels. These in turn will take energy to break down and excrete. In extremis, the body could run so short of the ingredients to make CoA that it resorts to the anaerobic metabolic process, releasing lactic acid (the process which results in ‘oxygen debt’ during extreme exercise). This would definitely cause discomfort if it occurred to any significant or prolonged degree.

    This theory fits my pattern quite well. With too much ingested citric (and maybe acetic) acid, I get digestive discomfort which has me rubbing my tummy to relieve it and keeps me awake. If the flare up is bad, then it causes a kind of whole body aching, which kind of spreads out from my guts to everywhere. That is what you would expect if the build up of citric acid levels was spreading at a cellular level from the digestive tract outwards. I find it can go on for days. When it fades, I am left feeling very lethargic, sometimes on the edge of depression. I’m not sure yet, but I also think that before the flare up, I have a burst of energy – I’m going to keep an eye on that.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for writing such a detailed comment. And I hope you got some sleep that night.

      Your theory is very, very interesting. I had not read about regulating mechanisms that balances the CA levels in our bodies but it makes sense since several other body systems have regulating mechanisms. I never experienced the bursts of energy that you had – I wish! – but I certainly experienced the depression. I also spent years craving sugars, which I always related to my CA problem.

      I never noticed an ache that radiated from the gut, as you described. I do feel like I have read others speak of similar aches in comments on the Citric Acid Intolerance Facebook page. While I did have aches there, it usually resulted in, and relieved by (temporarily), an unpleasant bowel movement. Did you experience something similar?

      My theory has been that the poor metabolization has resulted in mis-metabolized or excess citric acid that irritates the gut causing all these issues. There is precedent for this line of thinking based on research papers I read a long time ago. Not dissimilar to your thinking in terms of being a balance issue. However, with your energy bursts, it might be that our problems are two sides of the same coin.

      Regarding soft drinks: I have found some soft drinks that use tartaric acid, which is derived from grapes and apples, instead of citric acid, that I was able to drink with no problems. An example is Blue Sky’s organic cola.

      I really appreciate your thoughts. I have found that now that I have remedied my issue, I’m less inclined to research it. But your theory is interesting and I’m going to dig into it a bit.

      Thanks for writing!

      • Andrew Herbert says:

        Hi and many thanks for your reply. I meant to mention that I’ve started taking simple multivitamins since reading your page to make sure I’m getting enough b5 and I think it’s helping.

        My gut aches have never been resolved by a bowel movement really. I just take pain killers and wait for them to go away.

        Thanks for the tip on soft drinks containing tartaric acid. Shame I don’t like coke! I’ll look out for others though.

        I’d be interested to hear if you find out any more on the balance theory. One thought I’ve had is that it can only be in the last 50 years or so that we’ve had the technical know-how to isolate citric acid and use it as a food additive. So that would fit with the emergence of an intolerance among some.

        Best wishes


        • The difficulty is that we’ve also introduced a lot of chemicals into the environment in the last 50 years. It might simply be that were now seeing the effects of too much citric acid. But it could also be that were seeing the disruptive effects of some pollutant. It gets very complicated.

          However if it’s really a balancing mechanism that’s thrown out of whack, I bet an answer could be found. I’m more and more intrigued by this idea.

          • Andrew Herbert says:

            Hi Milind – just a couple of thoughts I’ve had recently.

            1) As I understand it from your website and elsewhere, both acetic and citric acid are basic factors in the body’s fundamental energy-producing system. As such, the body could well have evolved mechanisms for holding onto these acids as they are ingested rather than excreting them. I’ve seen plenty of online references to the benefits for athletes of ingesting lemon juice or other citric acid sources before exercise. Such mechanisms could have genetic origins – perhaps for example some populations had access to more citrus fruits than others and so evolved ways of processing the ingested acid.

            2) There could be a cluster of disorders – rather than a single one – in how the body manages and processes acetic and citric acids. One, as I’ve suggested, could be caused by the body holding on to too much of these acids – more than is needed for energy production – leading to what I think is called acidemia: the lowering of blood pH. Another (and this is your understanding, I think) could be the body’s inability to store or synthesise enough of the ingredients of CoA, so that even a small hike in acetic/citric acid levels results in CoA deficiency and the failure of the TCA cycle. This leads to more build up not only of citric/acetic acids (and therefore acidemia) but also of the intermediate acidic by-products of the TCA process as it stalls at various stages.

            I’ll keep musing on all this. Meanwhile I’ve now discovered that it’s almost impossbile to find olives which haven’t been treated with citric acid as an acidity regulator unless you have very deep pockets. Oh well, bye-bye olives…


    • sandy says:

      So glad to come across this website and Andrew’s comment. I am just only now realizing the citric acid connection to my aches and pains. I already cut out a whole whack of foods because of candida and IBS. I’ve been diligent for the last 35 days. Yesterday I had hummous, which had citric acid. But then I woke up in the middle of the night with horrible sharp belly pain which I haven’t had now in over a month. There you go! Now I am onto something with the help of you guys! Thanks 🙂

      • Hi Sandy,

        I hope this information has helped out. Wondering how you are doing and how you have chosen to remedy your situation. Would love to hear.

    • Melinda Morrison says:

      OMG! Andrew, you seem to be explaining a phenom that happens to me! After eating foods with citric/or acetic acid…Waking in the night, with acid stomach…but not so much acid stomach, as acid muscles! My entire core feels like the muscles have turned acidic and contract to the point It’s difficult to breathe…I writhe around on the floor, trying to relieve it. Drink a ton of holistic Dr told me to take a teaspoon of celtic sea salt in water…it helped some, but my husbands’ Prilosec seems to work faster. My energy is Zapped for a couple of days after a particularly bad episode . No one has been able to give me an answer for why this happens. But I have also linked citric and acetic acid to facial rashes and scaling that I have fought with for years.

  49. Tracy says:

    Do you think pantethine and B5 alone would help? Or do you think the Axetyl-L-Carnitine and L-Cysteine are needed too? (Ingredients of Pure coenzyme A).

    • I did notice some improvements when I only took vitamins with Bs but it was not enough to get me where I am today. I think the amino acids round out the benefits.

      You’ll have to perform some diligent experiments to determine if just pantethine/b5 will work for you. If you’re experiencing the same problems I am, you should at least see some benefit.

  50. Marie says:

    I found out through trail and error that I had a citric and acetic acid intolerance but never knew what and way it happened. I was amazed at all the foods that contained it and sometimes ate foods not looking for it and suffered later. I applaud you for your research and thank you for bringing this to light. I only wish I could afford the supplements as well. This is amazing work you have done and you should see that it gets out there where it is available to more people.

    • Hi Marie,

      Thanks for writing. I’m not sure there is anywhere else for this post to go but I’m happy you found it. If you have suggestions, I’ll be happy to share.

      I’m glad to hear you were able to isolate your problem. That is the hardest part exactly because citric acid and acetic acid are in everything.

      The supplements I’ve identified in this post were the only ones that were prepackaged at the time. Since then I know of at least one competitor, Swanson, although I’ve not tried it. Per bottle it’s cheaper but per pill there doesn’t seem to be much difference in price. You might want to compare the ingredients against the product I’ve been using.

      Alternatively, most of the ingredients are available separately but I do not think you can get them in the same doses or that the cost is any cheaper.

      I hope you’re able to figure out a solution that is cost effective and allows you to enjoy food and live life again. I know first hand how crippling it can be. If you do figure out a solution, please share it here. I’m sure there are plenty others that could use a low cost solution (I sure wouldn’t mind!).

      Wishing you all the best.

  51. Tracy says:

    My daughter has a citric acid intolerance confirmed by allergist/immunologist at a Children’s Hospital based on my findings. She is 2.5 years old. Do you think she could take the same coenzyme supplement that you take? She has stomach pain and vomiting and failure to thrive if I don’t keep citric acid away. Vomiting is back and I realized from your site that ascetic acid is the cause from an allergy liquid medication. Zyrtec. She also has a skin reaction from lotions with citric acid.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I’m not a doctor and the manufacturer’s website doesn’t specify that the product is only for adults but I think you should just confirm with your doctor anyway since your daughter is so young.

      But I want to clarify that my solution is not one for allergic reactions. I have a metabolization issue which results in abdominal problems and is not as immediate as an allergic reaction. While I don’t have more information for you, you might benefit by talking to others that have children in similar situations in the Facebook group I linked to in a recent comment below.

      Wish I could do more to help. I can only image how difficult it is for you and your daughter. Wishing you all the best.

  52. HappyMomma says:

    SO HAPPY someone point me to this!! My son was born with this condition and it took 16 terrifying months before I lost it, cut him down to safe foods, and built up his diet until I found it.

    But I’ve been terrified of once he goes to school and can’t have candy like other kids, and can’t eat at restaurants because they slip it into EVERYTHING.

    He’s only 3, so I’m not sure if there are issues, but I’m going to start looking at the risks, and plan to take him to the doctor with his information immediately.

    Thank you for this post. A friend was being sweet and googling what kind of snacks she could bring that her son could share with mine, and found this. 🙂

    • I’m very happy that you found this information valuable and that it’s given you hope and direction. I can only imagine the level of frustration one faces when it affects their child.

      So that you have as much information as possible, I want to mention that there is a distinction between the intolerance I face and an allergic reaction. You might have investigated allergies already. But I’ve found that the Facebook group on Citric Acid Intolerance has a ton of information on both conditions. The link is in my post and I’d recommend you join because there are a lot of helpful people there.

      I wish you and your son the best and I hope you find some answers!

  53. j says:

    Hello, your link to Coenzyme A that can be purchased appears to be dead. Could you please post the ingredients in the Coenayme A that is working for you, so that I can look for one that is currently available? Thanks!

    • J says:

      I also wanted to ask you — when you were taking 2 pills per day, what were the side effects that made you go back down to 1 pill per day?

      • Ah, good question. I was just feeling very gassy and somewhat uncomfortable – nothing like the discomfort and pain I have with the citric acid problems but uncomfortable enough to start thinking that I might be overdoing the supplements. It was simple enough to cut back and I realized I felt better almost immediately.

        • J says:

          Thank you very kindly for your answers, and for posting in the first place! I also have the milk product sensitivities – may I ask what solution you chose to solve those? Best regards

          • Hi! Sure. I use a product called Digestive Advantage Lactose Defense formula. In addition to helping with lactose intolerance, it’s a probiotic. I have been using it for years and prefer it over other products because I can take it once and it works all day. As long as I take it regularly, missing a day or two is not an issue. I think it’s a really good product.

            I usually find it cheaper on Amazon than other places. But you can find it at every major drugstore in the US. I don’t know about availability in other countries.

        • Jim D says:

          I also have a problem with citric acid although different than all I read here. My question is why don’t we start a petition drive to send to the mfgs. who use it pleading for them to find an alternative. What is there to lose? There may be more of us than we suspect, people reading this that never comment. If only a few of the mfgs. respond its at least a beginning.

        • Hi Nathan!

          I prefer to converse via the comments in this post because I feel it provides an opportunity to share with others. However, with that said, I can understand if you would like to converse at length. Let me know if the comments section is okay. If not, I’ll email you directly and we can setup a chat.

          • Babs says:

            I do like to hear what others find on this topic. We have benefited greatly from shared information.

  54. Karen says:

    Hi Milind, I have the same problems as you do and have done for seven years. I knew I had a dysfunction but couldn’t figure out what it was. Citric acid causes many physical and emotional disturbances within me. I cut it out my diet and felt much better but it very restrictive. I had some relief when taking high dose vitamin d. This proved to me that it wasn’t an allergy or intolerance but a dysfunction when ingesting the foods containing citric acid. I thank u from the bottom of my heart for your post as I now have hope. I’ve bought the pure coenzyme a pills and will start taking them this week when they are delivered. Best wishes and good health to you, Karen x

    • Hi Karen,

      Something funny about my comments section made me realize my response to you never posted. Sorry about that.

      Since it’s been so long since you posted, I’m curious to know if you’ve been taking the supplements and if you are feeling better. Please let me know if you have any questions that I may be able to answer. I really hope you have seen improvement and gained some freedom.

      • Karen says:

        Hi Milind! Lovely to hear from you. I’ve been taking the supplements for three months and my health has improved dramatically. Like you I can now eat anything again! No problems and no pain or bloating. Plus, now my body is working properly again I’ve lost two stone without trying. So happy n grateful for your information so thank u very very much Milind xxx

    • Hi Rachel,

      I didn’t choose this product because it “works the best.” I liked that this formula was developed for the purpose of helping people’s bodies generate Coenzyme A. While this manufacturer’s intent was help people have more energy, I was able to use it for my own ends. You could also find the ingredients separately. For me figuring out the appropriate amounts of each supplement was difficult so this came in an easy package.

      I hope that helps!

  55. Rachel says:

    Thank you for writing this. I’m wondering if the coenzyme-A will work for me because my symptoms happen immediately. It seems like I can’t eat anything these days without stomach pain, wind, and bloating. I was told I had IBS, but I became curious about citric acid after discovering that my symptoms are worse with potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, juice, vinegar. . I’ve tried everything, probiotics, enzymes, peppermint, betaine hcl, etc. I’m already on a strict diet (no wheat/gluten, dairy), and I desperately need something to help me eat. I’m only 24, I’ve had stomach issues since I was a kid, and I don’t want to have to live like this forever. :-/ Do you think the coenzyme A is worth a try? Thanks

    • Hi Rachel,

      Your comment reminded me of when I initially started dealing with the problem. I remember having some bar food one night and immediately feeling pain in my gut. I know that when the body ingests food, it also begins the process of eliminating waste and there might be something there that leads us to the connection that immediate ingestion causes immediate pain.

      As I did and outline in the post, and as you mentioned you’ve already started doing, you might benefit first from eliminating all foods with many ingredients for a while, see if your symptoms improve, and then methodically isolate what causes problems and how long after ingestion it affects you. It’s not easy but the science will really help you determine where to focus your energy in solving your problem and living life again.

      One of the reasons I’ve been comfortable discussing this problem and the potential solution is because the supplements I use are over the counter, which may mean there are fewer side effects and is hopefully accessible to all. But the cost of this particular solution is certainly high. As I note in the post, vitamin B5 gave me initial relief which eventually helped me determine Coenzyme A to be the issue. I think B5 is cheaper so maybe you could look into that first.

    • Oh, also, before I did anything else, I had to deal with lactose intolerance too. Without solving that issue, I couldn’t isolate the rest. I use an over the counter solution for that too, called Digestive Advantage (lactose formula), which is available in every pharmacy in the US.

      • Rachel says:

        Thank you! I started taking B5 and some NAC I had at home after reading this, and my stomach is soooo much better! I found a very similar coenzyme A that I am also going to try. I have taken foods with high citric acid out of my diet right now, but I had to eat at a Chinese restaurant a few days ago, and by taking my B5 before the meal, I was able to eat it without any symptoms. As far as the lactose allergy, I do know what I have a sensitivity to dairy, so I am not eating dairy at the moment. I have seen digestive advantage and have been meaning to try it. I will give that a try when I try diary again in the future. Thank you for your advice!

  56. Wendy says:

    I just found your blog. I feel as though I could have written part of it! I have suffered for most of my life with so-called IBS, knowing all along that was a cop-out diagnosis, and doing exhaustive research and elimination diets trying to figure out this maddening condition. I recently came to the conclusion that I have an acid intolerance. I decided to google acid intolerance and found your blog. I won’t go into all of my symptoms, but I am 100% certain I have an acid intolerance. Thank you for your blog! I have more new avenues to research and plan to experiment with your helpful supplements.

  57. Liz says:

    You are a genius… Seriously thank you. This mirrors so much of my symptoms and what I have found to have worked. I’ve spent hours of my life in horrendous pain puking my guts out. I’m currently going through immunotherapy treatment at lacrosse allergy associates and I can’t wait to inquire about this. I won’t take the supplement now as to see if they can test and see if this is what it is. I specifically am pretty allergic to Candida albicans via ige blood test. Mold in General is very problematic. Anything fermented without extreme caution is normally garenteed repercussions!

    • Thank you, Liz. I think I’m just observant and can sometimes see patterns. Of course I had incentive to do so.

      I hope this information helps you. You mentioned allergies so maybe we’re not having the same issue. But every bit of information helps, even the stuff you rule out.

      Wishing you all the best.

  58. Amanda says:

    Wow this is has been so informative. I don’t have the pain or abdominal problems, but I get cysts, usually under my arms, since 2000. The last few years I’ve noticed its diet based, especially with lemons. Recently other citrus foods have been bothering me as well. Came across your site as I was doing research on citric and acetic acid. Currently trying to determine if acetic acid is a problem too. Although not to keen on trying to cause the cysts to come, as they can last for some time and be painful and gross when they bust. Its nice to know that the supplement might be option to help me eat some of these items in the future.

    • You are the first to have mentioned cysts as a reaction to citric acid. I can kind of see how the body could react differently, especially with my assumptions that the improper metabolization creates an irritant, which could also be described as a toxin, I suppose. Please do keep us updated. You might find a different remedy which could help others with your specific reaction.

      Thanks for sharing!

  59. Jaclyn says:

    Thank you for this! I recently found out that im allergic to lemons. I have also been suffering with abdominal pain for years and got the IBS diagnosis when I was 16. After trying to cut out lemons I still noticed I was having hives and stomach pains etc. I started figuring out that foods with citric acid upset me. I have tried to do research to find out more information and came across Vicky’s page and yours! Im so happy to have found some answers. I am in the process of a food elimination to figure out what my tolerance level is towards it. I also wish I could get in touch with Vicky to ask her more questions.

  60. mark says:

    Can the citric acid allergy responses you are having, actually be mold sensitivity since the majority of citric acid in foods comes from Aspergillus niger?

    • Hi Mark,

      There are people with allergies but what I am dealing with is different. While I call it an intolerance, I think it’s more appropriately defined as a metabolization issue (even that isn’t accurate enough as I dig deeper but that appears to be the root of the prominent symptoms). I don’t know enough about people with citric acid allergies to comment on the fungus you mention.

      As for my problem, I’m certain it involves all citric acid sources, fresh (i.e. fruits and vegetables) or otherwise (i.e. beverages and sauces). The fungus may contribute but only as an additional factor, not as the sole cause.

      What prompted you to isolate the fungus as cause? I’m always interested in everyone’s theories.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • mark says:

        I have been dealing with similar problems for over 20 years again not believing anything the doctors tried to give me, none of them worked and a lot of times made things much worse. just recently had a more thorough allergy test done and was diagnosed with Aspergillus Niger allergy but not from inhaling as severe as it was ingesting. I researched and it showed that citric acid is manufactured with Aspergillus niger so is high fructose corn syrup so are several of the digestive enzymes that are sold over the counter and that in a lot of medicines and vitamins, citric acid is added but it does not have to be on the label thank the Food and Drug Administration.within a days of eliminating as much of it as I could, I noticed immediate changes. I was able to eat an entire Chinese meal without any symptoms until the last bite of food I dipped into a sweet and sour sauce that had citric acid in it I had an immediate attack. also processed meat have citric acid in them, shrimp and fish are processed with it when they are first brought on ships. Again none of this is on the label because the Food and Drug Administration does not require citric acid as it does all other food additives. I’ve been able to eat steak, but I season my self because I found several steak seasonings have citric acid in them.

        • Mark,

          Thanks for the detailed response. I never knew so much about aspergillus niger.

          It does seem that we’re dealing with very different problems. For example, my symptoms don’t occur until a day or two later. Also, high fructose corn syrup is not a problem (at least not an immediate digestive problem).

          I’m glad you were able to get to the bottom of your problem and improve the quality of your life. And I agree, with citric acid so prevalent it is a growing problem.

        • Celia says:

          I think the fish is processed with sodium phosphate, in msg sensitive people, the phosphate triggers a reaction because the body thinks it is glutamate. CA has traces of msg from its creation.

        • Lisa byrne says:

          Mark I do think this mold can be a problem for some. I am just now learning about MCA (manufactured citric acid) and this Aspergillas Niger. I am so highly reactive to mold, and usually eat almost no processed foods-and everything plain (or close to) but olives the other day made me sick and on the label (citric acid) was the only other ingredient. Which I always thought was ok. till that moment. So I looked in my cupboard, and a few supplements contain citric acid, and I have been struggling with flare up of mouth ulcers, migraines, abdominal pain, etc. so I do believe there is a link for those of us with mold sensitivities. It does not show up on allergy tests as for me it is linked to histamine intolerance. So a severe reaction/health implications -yes, food allergy no. I am able to tolerate a bit of fresh lemon juice. But not alcohol, aged/fermented, yeast, many processed foods and now, not with MCA. Stay Well.

  61. sean says:

    I am grateful to you for writing this article as it brought light to my own acetaldehyde driven symptoms.

    After massive research, it appears that there is NO intolerance to citric acid directly. This is probably why there is a delay in symptoms. The citric acid added to the body simply starts the citric acid cycle in the cells. If the enzymes and substrates are all present, then it will simply make CoA (and other things, and continue the cycle, of course).

    For us, apparently, the most missed substrates are pantothenic acid and cysteine (or possibly any sulfur source, not sure). These are the 2 substances that combine to make pantethine. If they are absent from the diet then the acetaldehyde begins to build up and cause symptoms.

    I don’t think you need to buy pantethine or any expensive proprietary blend to solve the problem here. I have been using cheap calcium pantothenate and NACysteine for the last 2 days and have experienced a 90% reduction in symptoms.

    Hope this helps someone out. Anyways, thanks again for doing so much digging. Much appreciated.

    • Chris Mullen says:

      Hi Sean,

      I am really no expert on this (and hopeless at chemistry!) but I thought that the Krebs/CA Cycle was started by the CoA which went on to produce citrate? (In other words I don’t understand why CA would start the cycle. For the same reason I don’t understand why Pure Coenzyme A seemed to work for Milind – I wonder if her strict diet was also a factor).

      Having said that I would be really interested to hear if you continue to find the calcium pantothenate and NACysteine helpful. I mean I don’t necessarily need a scientific explanation of why something works! And I hope it does work!!

      Thanks for posting!


      • Hi Chris,

        Just to clarify, the CoA supplement I take consists of the building blocks necessary for the body to produce CoA, not CoA itself. My theory has been my body doesn’t have enough of the necessary components or is just dysfunctional at making enough CoA, so the supplement provides the boost so the Krebs Cycle can run its course.

        As far as the strict diet, that was for three months so that when I started taking the supplement, I could test against that time frame to determine if the CoA solution was actually working. At this point I can eat everything without concern as long as I maintain regular intake of the supplement.

        I’m going to look deeper into Sean’s comments as well.

    • Hi Sean,

      I wanted to respond earlier but was unable. I’m happy you found the piece useful.

      I agree with you. What we are calling CA intolerance is not an intolerance but actually a metabolic issue. That’s what I derived from the delayed reaction too. More specifically, I theorize that with the lack of necessary building blocks for CoA production, the poor metabolization is creating irritants that affect the digestive system, among other things. The supplements I take are a convenient package.

      Your thoughts on this are very interesting and I’ll research more. You’ve attributed the problem to a build-up of acetaldehyde (I don’t know what that is yet). How did you come to this conclusion?

      I also experienced some relief with vitamin b5 but it was limited. I decided to focus on CoA and I’ve experienced complete relief of my symptoms. I’ll look into just the two supplements you suggest.

      Thanks for sharing!

  62. Kristin Greenfelder says:

    I have been taking the B-5. What a difference it has made in my life! I am still struggling with the coenzyme A…tough to find. I want to try it!

    • I’m so glad to hear that vitamin B5 has been working positively for you. Yeah, the Pure Coenzyme-A product is not available everywhere but I get it regularly either through the manufacturer or Amazon.

      • Kristin Greenfelder says:

        I’ll let everyone know if I have success with my fabulous local pharmacist. Thanks, Milind!

  63. Tash says:

    This is so interesting to read and to confirm that we’re not alone. Thank you for this clear account. I’ve had a problem with citric acid, acetic acid and alcohol for thirty plus years off and on. I made the connection many years ago that I could tolerate these better if my B5 intake was higher. Mushrooms was my main source and oily fish at least once a week. Unfortunately I can’t have the mushrooms anymore due to problems with salicylates and amines. I wondered what the ingredients are in the Coenzyme A that you take please. I’d like to source them separately from a salicylate free provider so I can more easily check other content.

    • Hi Tash.

      I felt the same way when I discovered Vicky Clarke’s pages. Without her I’d always have doubted my own thinking on the matter, having been raised to believe that doctors knew everything. But they’re only human and they’re only as knowledgable as the present allows.

      You’re one of the few people I’ve met that seems to have exactly the same problem as I do. Most people have some form of what we have, possibly identifying separate parts of the same issue. Your solutions to look at natural sources of B5 is interesting. How much has it helped manage your intolerance?

      Coenzyme-A Technology’s site has the ingredients breakdown here. There is a mysterious bit called the Coenzyme A Modulator Matrix. You may want to call them about your specific concerns. I’ve found the company to be fairly responsive to inquiry the couple of times I’ve commented. Once was through email when I noted the site showed different ingredients than the packaging and once was through Facebook to share my story with them.

      I hope that helps. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. Also, further down in the comments is a link to a Facebook group for people with problems with citric acid, whether it be intolerance or allergy. There are a lot of people with our type of issue on there.

      Be well.


  64. Kristin Greenfelder says:

    I have goosebumps. This is the most hope I’ve had in ages regarding my symptoms. It started with gout…but has since found my skin to be an “escape” path.

    Where can I get this coenzyme A?!!!

    • Hi Kristin. I buy my coenzyme A through Amazon at this link. I’m sure it’s available elsewhere and you can buy it through the manufacturer directly too.

      I didn’t suffer from either one of the conditions you mention. But if you think your issue is a citric acid intolerance, and not an allergy, the remedy I use might work for you.

      I hope it does. Please let me know if it helps.

      • Thank you, Milind. I believe it is an intolerance. I once used a homeopathic “remedy” for an infected wound. It contained cayenne pepper…it was drawn into my blood stream and spread through most of my body. Lady parts and face were spared, but I managed to destroy my liver with Benedryl trying to cope.

        So…a dangerous affliction for a moron to have.

        Worse things happen to better people.

        What a beautiful thing, your help.

        • Let me know if you have any questions.

          Also there is a link in one of the comments below for a Facebook group for those of us with this problem. They are all very supportive there and may be of help to you too.

  65. Brandy says:

    Hi Milind, my name is Brandy. Three months I’ve been going to the Er because of citric acid. All my allgeric relations are different eating jelly really upset my stomach and I vomit . One night eat curry and had wild cherry Pepsi had hives one face arms and legs. Pineapple and oranges lime and lemons and peaches I go into analysis shock . I don’t know what to do . I’m also really highly allergic to perfumes as well

  66. Chris Mullen says:

    Hi Milind,

    thanks for the post. I am intolerant to citric acid but am ok with acetic acid and alcohol. Sometimes I crave acetic acid and like to use vinegar in my food. I didn’t quite understand what you said under “Testing the theoretical remedy”. Do you mean that on 1 pill a day you started to increase your intake of problem foods until the problems came back, then you increased dose to two pills and again increased your intake until you hit problems? Later you say that there are now no problems – is that because you are making sure you don’t go above you limit with problem foods?



    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for asking.

      That’s partly what I meant. I was being very conservative/meticulous with testing. I definitely didn’t want to return to the way things were. So at first I started taking one pill daily without trying citric acid foods. Then three months later started eating more and more foods until symptoms returned. That gave me a baseline to work with.

      At that point I moved on to two pills to see what kind of limit I would hit with that. I never actually found a limit and that might be because I had enough of the supplement in me to satisfy daily consumption. Eventually I went back down to one.

      At this point, as long as I take the supplements regularly (nearly daily but not necessarily every day) I feel comfortable enough not to have to keep track of my intake.

      I hope that clarifies. If you decide to try the suggested supplements, or are trying some other remedy, please let me know how you fare.


    • Ah, after rereading your comment and my answer, I realize there is a point I haven’t been clear enough about. I say that I started taking one pill, then two, and went back down to one. I also discuss limits in what I could eat and then getting to a point where I don’t have a limit. I think this is breakdown in my logic and explanation so let me try to clarify here and I’ll update the post.

      I assumed when I was testing that the number of supplements I take would have a direct correlation to the amount of citric acid I could consume. However, I eventually realize that there wasn’t a one-to-one correlation. I probably lack enough of the necessary substances necessary for proper metabolization. As long as enough supplements are taken to maintain adequate levels within me, I’m able to metabolize just fine.

      The initial limits I faced with just the one pill were probably due to the fact that my body still didn’t have enough of the supplement to properly metabolize. Moving to two most likely rectified that. I had to reduce when I felt like I was probably taking too much. My body is probably at a comfortable level now as long as I take the supplements regularly.

      I hope that better explains and thanks for pointing out this confusing point.

      • Chris Mullen says:

        Thanks for the clarification. If you are interested there is a Citric Acid intolerance group on Facebook. But this is the first time I have heard of CA, Acetic acid and alcohol intolerance. It seems that everyone in the CA group on facebook has a slightly different set of foods which upset them. Food intolerance is a complex thing!

        • They truly are. Again, this is just my thinking on the topic based mostly on my experiences. But I hope what I have discovered about myself can help others.

          I never thought to look on Facebook. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll check it out.

  67. Adam says:

    Hi All

    Was wondering if you could provide updates on how you are feeling? If you still have symptoms from citric acid? And if your symptoms to citric acid decreased, what are you taking to make this happen?


    A citric acid allergy sufferer,


    • Hi Adam,

      Thanks for asking! I’m feeling very well as long as I take the supplements I mentioned in the post on a regular basis. I don’t have to take them daily though but it took a while for me to get to that point. I go into more detail about it in this part of the article.

      Also I don’t think what I have is an allergy. We might not have the same problem but certainly researching always helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.

  68. Babs says:

    I wanted to update you Milind, Ido think something is helping. The symptoms we are seeing improvement in are warmer hands, more energy, needing less sleep, better digestion, less exercise fatigue I think too. I have made it a little more difficult to figure out exactly which things are helping as I started taking AOR’s Advanced B Complex just before we started taking the Coenzyme A supplement. My youngest son who is 14 is only taking the B Complex and is also getting improvements. Both supplements contain the Pentathine so maybe that is the key? The other ingredients are different. We are trying to sort it out and then in a few months will see if we are less intolerant to the CA. The B Complex also contains P5P and B12(methy). I am wondering if those are perhaps helpful as well? Any thoughts?

    • I do think Pantethine or Pantothenic Acid (i.e. Vitamin B5) are the key. My decision to use the mentioned coenzyme-A supplement was guided by my thinking that it was addressing the exact issue. However, I’m sure other supplements or combinations of supplements can help, with vitamin B5 being one of the most important parts. I also think that Pantethine is the more effective version of vitamin B5 but I have no clear data on that.

      It’s great to hear things are looking up. For me it did take several months before I was confident in expanding my diet but I remember seeing some immediate effects earlier on, like less fatigue and lower sugar craving.

    • Hi Babs,

      It’s been about a month and I was curious how things were going for you. Looking forward to your thoughts and feedback. Hope you’re doing well.

  69. Babs says:

    Thank you for posting your findings. A few members of our family have a similar intolerance to the preservatives Citric acid, ascorbic acid and sodium citrate, lemons and limes. No issues with acetic acid or natural CA. We are going to give this a try.

    • Very interesting set of intolerances. I’m not sure if my remedy will help you but please do let me know either way. I wish you the best of luck.

      Also, how do you distinguish natural citric acid from artificial? I didn’t know there was a distinction and never investigated it.

      • Babs says:

        I guess the easiest way to distinguish the two for us is that ripe tomatoes (high CA food) does’t bother us but canned tomatoes with added citric acid as a preservative makes us very ill. B5 seems to help with moderating our reactions so we are somewhat optimistic. I was wondering if you are feeling well now? I sincerely hope you have found a solution to your issues and all is well. Thank you again for posting! Even if this doesn’t work for us it is always good to have more information.

        • Babs says:

          I should have looked up natural CA values before posting! A better example would have been oranges. We can eat them if they are naturally ripe but can’t eat anything with added CA as a preservative.

        • I had never considered making the distinction before, always thinking the citric acid molecule was the molecule. I know that processed foods have higher concentrations of citric acid, which may mean that you can handle some but not a lot. This is how it was for me in the beginning. However, now that you have mentioned it, I will look a little more closely into any distinction between naturally occurring and artificially added citric acid. Thank you for sharing this idea with me.

          Since I discovered and started taking the remedy, I have been eating normally. I continue to take the Coenzyme A supplement regularly, although not daily. I have sometimes stopped taking the supplement for extended periods and my symptoms have returned, so I do need to continue. But overall, I do not suffer. I wish you the same!

          • Babs says:

            It is easy to spot if you read the ingredients on everything. My Mother has had these issues for over 40 years so it was easier for her to notice as preservatives like citric acid and sodium citrate were added to products she could no longer eat them without getting sick. It is so much now it would be hard to figure out. My son has almost the same intolerances as my Mother but even between them there are little differences so it does vary. Mine are much milder. I am glad to hear that you continue to have good health!

          • I had tried it for a little while and did feel a bit better. However I took it at a time when my methodology wasn’t refined enough. I also felt like I was getting different results with different brands. I don’t think I tested just pantethine enough or properly and so my findings are inconclusive.

            The Coenzyme A supplement I take does include pantethine as one of the ingredients.

          • Babs says:

            Thanks, I was also wondering if you take any other supplements? Zinc, other B vitamins or anything like that. We are taking just the Pantethine right now as we are waiting for the coenzyme A supplement to arrive. It is too early for us to tell anything yet but I will update you when we know if we are benefiting from these.

          • I do occasionally take a multi-vitamin for general health support. I also take a supplement for lactose intolerance. I don’t take anything additional for the citric acid problem.

          • Babs says:

            Thanks Milind Shah. Sorry to ask you additional questions, we have been trying you suggestions and are noticing some improvement. We will update you after a few months and let you know if it worked for us.

          • Please do feel free to ask me anything. I’ve been unable to respond promptly recently but I welcome your questions. I’d like to offer you as much support as I can.

            I hope this remedy works for you! Looking forward to hearing from you.

  70. J.Evans says:

    I have a 13 year old daughter who had eczema as a baby and after lots of research I cut all citric acid out of her diet. Her eczema cleared up after a couple of years trial and error as citric acid is in toiletries, detergents, creams etc.

    To cut a long story short, my daughter became ill when she was 10 and 2 years later a tumour was found on one of her adrenal glands. The tumour was very rare and called pheochromocytoma. I have since found out that these tumours can be part of genetic diseases some of which are connected to the citric acid cycle or Krebs cycle.

    My daughter has tested negative to all of these.

    Not saying for one minute that this is what’s wrong with you but this has never been mentioned as a probable cause of the tumour except when I mentioned it to a doctor who didn’t think it important enough to note.

    My daughter also abnormally craves vinegar.

    I’m no expert, just a mum wanting to keep her child safe, but what you wrote has made me confident enough to push this information forward to see if this has any connection to the tumour.

    My daughter is now fine and will be monitored for the rest of her life.

    • I’m pleased to hear that your daughter is doing well. I hope you are able to get to the bottom of her health problems and I wish you and your family the best.

      • Vick says:

        Hi Milind,
        I am glad to find your post. Very helpful of you and other posters to have shared their experience with citric acid/citrus intolerance.
        I stumbled into your post while researching over the net for a different problem which led me to realize that I might be citrus fruit/citric acid intolerant as well. I was looking for solution for muscle fatigue, tension and knots that got developed into my over used joints due to sports. I came to conclusion that this may be happening to due lactic acid formation into the joints that are being over used. So in order to solve this problem, I started taking sports drink with protein, etc. In a couple of days of consumption of this sports drink, I started suffering from soar throat, sneezing, itchy eyes, and crash in energy in overall body – in other words full body fatigue and sick feeling. These are same symtoms that I typically use to suffer from when eating or drinking citrus fruits, juice, sodas,beers, even some ice creams, etc. which I have always avoided. I could always get away with it as long as they were in small quantity once in while, hence ignored the problem for many years(15 yrs +). So I looked up the contents of the protein drink I consumed, and it sure have citric acid in it. Once I stopped drinking it, in couple of days, I recovered to normal state. I am not allergic to anything else, atleast I am not aware of it. So that is my story, and now I am in search of solution to the problem, now that I recognize it as a problem.

        I am definitely going to give it a try to B5 vitamin supplements or CoenzymeA vitamins. After reading that so many have benefited from taking B5 vitamins, my hope are very high for a positive outcome. Fix citric/citrus acid intolerance and may be as a byproduct it may just cure the lactic acid build up problem in the body/joints.

        Question related to your post about ‘pyruvate’. You suspected that high amount of irritant (pyruvate – is it?) generated due malfunction of the acitic acid cycle could have been the root cause. I read the contents of the coenzymeA, and it has pyruvate. So I am confused, that how does additional pyruvate in the supplement help solve the problem ? Or am I misunderstanding the cause? Please help clarify if you will.

        Also, do you or any other posters tried using ‘royaljelly’ from honey bees as an B5 supplement to solve this problem ? I hear a lot of positive results in general from use of royaljelly, hence curious if that can be an alternative or complementary addition to B5 or coenzymeA type supplements? Any experience or feedback will be very helpful.

        cheers to health !

        • Hi Vick,

          First let me clarify the point about the pyruvate. I reread that paragraph and realized it is a bit confusing the way I’ve written it. While it was an aside, I was suggesting that malfunctions in the citric acid cycle could cause irritants that could affect the bowels or other parts of the body. My reference to the paper that shows high levels of pyruvate in one experiment was just an example that something like that could happen. I don’t know if that is exactly what is going on but felt this justified that I wasn’t too far off in that type of thinking. The irritant could be something else in my case.

          I hope that clarifies and I think I’ll update that paragraph. Thanks for pointing it out.

          Also, thanks for sharing your story. Sorry to hear about the ill effects you’re having. However, I would recommend a bit more testing, more methodically, just to make sure the issues are actually related to citric acid. There are a lot of ingredients in those sports drinks and I’m sure citric acid is likely one of them. However there are a lot of foods and drinks with citric acid. The other foods you mentioned – the ones your avoiding – also may have gluten and sugar, so it could be other things as well.

          You could also be suffering from an allergy, which isn’t related to the metabolization issue I have been referring to as an intolerance. In the case of an allergy, what I suggest here may not work.

          Do check with a doctor if you can. You might be dealing with something altogether different. I’d like to hear how you fare. I hope this or something works for you and you feel better.



          • Vick says:

            Thank you for your response and clarification.
            I agree with your suggestion about further testing. Also, you are right about other possible causes such as sugar and gluten, these were also in the sports drink as well as other food items I consumed in the past that gave me problems. Now that I thoroughly thought through this, I will refrain from making any conclusion or taking any supplements without any evidence or professional advice. That said, my symptoms are very mild and quite manageable via right diet. So at best I probably may address the problem, after cause is identified, via natural wholefoods based balanced diet that has required digestive enzymes.

            Thank you once again for taking time to respond to my comments.


    • wow amazing thank you!!… I have one kidney from birth & adrenal problems for the past 15 years after an accident. Had endo tests for 6 months but in the end pheo wasn’t concluded for sure due to several other issues and I gave up on that & live a very limited life. Lately I got allergic to acidic acid in natural foods & all other forms (and yes, I’ve always loved acidic foods more than all – olives for example). Would never have imagined there’s a connection. So glad to hear your daughter is fine – pheo symptoms are very hard to live with both physically & mentally and the tumor is very hard to find. Are medications enough or is a surgery required? You are much more than a mum, this stuff is much more than more endo. doctors know…. ♥

Share your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.