Malate and Malic Acid: Relief For A Dry Mouth

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Derived from fruits and vegetables, malate has gained attention for its role in supporting wellness. In this article, we’ll examine the science behind malate fits in cellular metabolism and their possible contributions to overall health.

What Is Malate?

Malate is a compound found naturally in fruits and vegetables, particularly in apples. It plays a role in the Krebs cycle, also known as the citric acid cycle, which is the process through which our bodies produce energy. In this cycle, malate helps convert the food we eat into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy currency of our cells.

In addition to its role in energy production, malate also acts as an antioxidant, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.

Malate is also part of “the malate shuttle” which is understood to maintain NAD+/NADH balance between the cytosol and mitochondria of the cell.[PMC10602850]

Some research suggests that Citrulline malate supplements may help improve exercise performance and reduce fatigue by supporting energy production and buffering lactic acid buildup in muscles. However, citrulline may be the active component.

What Are the Benefits of Malate?

Much of the research highlighting the benefits of malic acid tends to focus on its combination with other substances, such as in the treatment of conditions like fibromyalgia with malic acid and magnesium supplements, or enhancing exercise performance when combined with citrulline. That said, malic acid has been studied for its potential benefits in a few areas when considered on its own:

  • Energy production: Malate is a key molecule in the Krebs cycle. This cycle is fundamental to cellular respiration, the process by which cells generate energy from nutrients. Specifically, malate helps shuttle electrons between reactions in the cycle, ultimately leading to the production of ATP, the primary energy currency of the cell. Without malate, this cycle would not function optimally, leading to decreased energy production.
  • Oral Health: Malic acid stimulates saliva production, which can help reduce the risk of dry mouth and supports oral health by aiding in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease. A placebo-controlled trial of a 1% solution of Malic acid containing fluoride and xylitol improved salivary flow and oral quality of life in people with dry mouth. [PMID: 29925712]
  • Antioxidant properties: Malate possesses antioxidant properties, meaning it can neutralize harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells and contribute to aging and various diseases. By scavenging these free radicals, malate helps protect cells from oxidative stress and damage, thereby promoting overall cellular health and function. [PMID: 17298203]
  • Improved exercise performance in animal models: During intense exercise, the body relies heavily on energy production pathways to sustain muscle activity. Malate supplementation has been shown to enhance exercise performance and reduce fatigue by several mechanisms. Malate can act as a buffer against lactic acid buildup in muscles, delaying the onset of fatigue and improving endurance. [PMID: 16555951]

Food Sources of Malate

Food SourceAmount of Malate per Serving
Malic Acid Crystals (Amazon Affiliate Link)N/A
Apples500 mg per medium apple
Apricots1,200 mg per cup sliced
Cherries800 mg per cup
Grapes700 mg per cup
Oranges400 mg per medium orange
Peaches700 mg per medium peach
Plums600 mg per medium plum
Watermelon500 mg per cup diced
Spinach200 mg per cup cooked
Broccoli150 mg per cup chopped
Asparagus100 mg per cup cooked
Potatoes300 mg per medium potato

Is Malate Safe?

Malate is safe for most people when consumed in appropriate amounts through dietary sources or as a supplement. It is a naturally occurring compound found in various fruits and vegetables, and it plays a vital role in cellular energy production and antioxidant defense mechanisms.

Medication Interactions with Malate

  • Antidiabetic Medications: Malate supplements may theoretically affect blood sugar levels and interact with medications used to manage diabetes. This interaction could lead to changes in blood sugar control, requiring adjustments to diabetes medications to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
  • Hepatic Metabolism Medications: Malate may influence liver function and the metabolism of certain medications processed by the liver. This interaction could affect the effectiveness or toxicity of these medications, necessitating close monitoring and dosage adjustments under medical supervision.
  • Cardiovascular Medications: Malate supplements may interact with medications prescribed for heart conditions, such as beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers. This interaction could enhance or diminish the effects of these medications, leading to changes in heart rate, blood pressure, or other cardiovascular parameters.

Supplement Interactions with Malate

  • Calcium Supplements: Malate may enhance the absorption of calcium from calcium supplements or calcium-rich foods. This interaction could lead to increased calcium levels in the body, which may have implications for persons with conditions such as hypercalcemia or kidney stones.
  • Iron Supplements: Malate supplements may enhance the absorption of iron from iron supplements or iron-rich foods. While this interaction could be beneficial for persons with iron deficiency, it may also increase the risk of iron overload in certain populations, such as those with hemochromatosis or other iron-related disorders.
  • Magnesium Supplements: Malate may enhance the absorption of magnesium from magnesium supplements or magnesium-rich foods. This interaction could lead to increased magnesium levels in the body, which may have implications for persons with conditions such as kidney disease or electrolyte imbalances.
  • Zinc Supplements: Malate supplements may interact with zinc supplements, and could affect zinc absorption or utilization in the body. This interaction could lead to changes in zinc status, which may impact immune function, wound healing, and other physiological processes.
  • Vitamin B12 Supplements: Malate may interact with vitamin B12 supplements, affecting B12 absorption or metabolism. This interaction could lead to changes in B12 status, which may impact nerve function, red blood cell production, and other physiological processes.

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Order Malic Acid

Because they are a common ingredient in food preparation, Malic Acid Crystals (Amazon Affiliate Link) can be purchased in bulk.

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Malic Acid by Seroyal/Genestra

L-Malic acid and magnesium formulation

  • Helps to maintain proper muscle function*

Ideal for vegans

Take one capsule three times daily with meals or as recommended by your healthcare practitioner.

Amount Per 1 Capsule Serving
L-Malic Acid … 500mg
Magnesium … 20mg (magnesium malate) 

Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

To Sum It Up

Malate supplements offer a range of health benefits, including supporting energy production, enhancing exercise performance, promoting cardiovascular health, and aiding in liver detoxification. Additionally, malate’s antioxidant properties can help protect cells from oxidative stress, contributing to overall cellular health. Incorporating malate supplements into your wellness routine may be a convenient way to support various aspects of your health and life.

This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.

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