The primary use of benzoic acid acid is in food preservation. This acid is very effective for preserving food because it inhibits the growth of molds, yeast and some bacteria. Ingestible products containing this food preservative typically give you notice via the label.
However, it’s use as a food preservative is not all, as benzoic acid is also used in drug preparations, like antiseptic solutions and antifungal creams or lotions. Some benzoic acid may be consumed in your diet, the richest source being cranberries. And this acid has several health benefits, including:
- reduces fatigue
- limits effects of depression
- improves your body’s use of proteins
- believed to assist in slowing down ageing process
- participates in red blood cell formation, thus increasing your oxygen carrying capacity
Unfortunately, benzoic acid may cause some to experience an allergic reaction, particularly when used on your skin. Symptoms of a histamine response to benzoic acid may involve:
- scratchy throat
- abdominal pain
- itchy skin, eyes
- nausea, vomiting
- breathing difficulty
- swallowing problems
Anaphylaxis can occur if your allergic reaction is severe. In this case seek emergency health care because an epinephrine injection may be necessary. For minor reactions taking an antihistamine may suffice.
If you have this food allergy, check the food label of all precessed food to ensure benzoic acid preservative is not included. Or better yet, consume a diet devoid of processed food, like food from the produce section.