Sodium citrate dihydrate is a popular salt used in the food and beverage industry. It isthe sodium salt of citric acid with the chemical formula of C6H5Na3O7o2H2O. Like citric acids, it is sour with a salty taste because of its salt content. Apart from its flavouring properties, it also acts as a preservative in the food industry.
Its other use lies in the Pharma sector where it is utilised for its alkaline properties. It is used to control pH, or as abuffering agent, emulsifier, alkalising, or sequestering agent In F&B
Sodium citrate dihydrate is recognised as safe to use by the US FDA. It has no aroma, but gives one a sour-salty taste. This quality is used when we want to give food and drink a sour taste. Fruit juices, for instance, often contain it for that typical sour flavour. Although it is the most commonly known usage of the salt in the F&B industry, it has some other interesting usages.
It is a stable alkaline solution, which also acts as a very effective emulsifying agent. Both the qualities are important in a number of food preparations. Its alkalinity is used to reduce acidity in certain food. As an emulsifier it is very effective in cheese dishes. It allows the cheese to melt without acquiring that unwelcome oily taste. In food it can also act as an antioxidant and as a sequestrant. Its easily highly soluble nature makes it easy to use, adding to its popularity.
Both the taste and alkalinity of sodium citrate dihydrate is utilised in the pharma industry. The sour taste makes certain unpalatable medical solutions easier to take. The alkalinity of the salt makes the blood and urine less acidic. This makes it an effective medicine in dealing with metabolic acidosis and in preventing kidney stones.
How is it taken: It is taken orally, usually after mixing it in water. It should be taken only after meals. Like all medicines dosage is important. So, avoid taking more than the prescribed dosage and only take it at the specified intervals. It should be taken only after meals.
Precautions: Although it is available over the counter, it must be taken only under advise of a doctor. An overdose can be harmful. It can also react with other medications. In addition, care must be taken in certain conditions like pregnancy. Inform your doctor if any of these conditions are true for you:
- Addison’s disease
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
Inform the doctor if you have high levels of potassium in your blood or if you are on a low sodium diet. Breast-feeding and pregnant women (or women trying to be pregnant). While it may not necessarily be harmful, the doctor may consider dosage. Any allergic reactions to sodium citrate, citric acid, foods, dyes, preservatives or any specific medicines.
You should also inform the doctor if you are on any medications. Certain medicines can adversely react with sodium citrate dihydrate, especially those containing ammonium chloride, aluminium, calcium carbonate, lithium, methenamine.