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Is Lactic Acid Vegan? Should Vegans Skip This Preservative?

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Veganism is a lifestyle that omits the use and consumption of animal products, especially in terms of diet. People who follow a strict vegan diet avoid eating any animal-derived ingredients or foodstuffs like dairy, meat, poultry, fish, and honey.

As a vegan, most of you are in the habit of reading the labels carefully. Sometimes it is challenging to tell whether an ingredient is a plant-based or animal-derived product. Lactic acid is one such ingredient that confuses many. So is lactic acid vegan? Should you knock it out of your vegan menus?

Don’t panic – lactic acid is typically derived from vegetable sources. All you need to believe that if the label tags it as a

This article shows how lactic acid fits into a vegan diet and its food sources. Keep reading to know more.

What Is Lactic Acid?

Many people think that lactic acid is derived from animal sources like milk. However, this is not true. The name lactic acid sound similar to milk sugar ‘lactose’ but they are chemically different entities. The prefix ‘lac’ adds to the confusion because it means ‘milk’ in Latin.

Lactic acid is a naturally occurring acid that forms when foods ferment. Lactic acid can also be added to various foods as a preservative to improve the flavor and freshness of foodstuff. Though lactic acid is found in milk products like cheese, yogurt or kefir it is mostly fermented from plant-based ingredients for commercial use.

History Of Lactic Acid

Now we know that lactic acid doesn’t come mainly from milk. Then why does the name sound related to milk? Where did lactic acid get its name from?

The name ‘lactic acid’ has nothing to do with its origin; it is related to how the entity was discovered. Let’s dig into its history here.

The chemical compound was discovered in the 18th century by Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele in sour milk. Thus, its name is a reference to milk, in terms of ‘lac’ in Latin.

Later in 1808, Jons Jacob Berzelius, another Swedish chemist, identified lactic acid as a byproduct of muscle exertion. In 1856, Louis Pasteur discovered Lactobacillus, the lactic acid bacteria and its role in the production of lactic acid.

Lactic acid was later found to be produced in a variety of plant sources that contain carbohydrates, thus it’s safe for vegan consumption.

Model lactic acid molecule

Foods That Contain Lactic Acid

Various food products contain lactic acid, either as an additive or as a result of fermentation. Here is a list of foods that contain lactic acid.

  • pickled vegetables
  • sourdough bread
  • beer and wine
  • fermented soy foods – soya sauce and miso
  • sauerkraut
  • kimchi
  • fermented dairy – kefir, and yogurt
  • fermented meat – salami
  • packaged foods like salad dressings, desserts, bread, jams, and olives
sourdough bread

Is Lactic Acid Vegan?

Here is where the question of vegan lactic acid gets tricky. Though commercially produced lactic acid is made from fermented cereals, legumes, and vegetable that contains natural sugar there may be some food products made using animal-derived lactic acid. So how can you make sure where the lactic acid in your food came from?

The best way is to ask the company in question about the source of lactic acid. Still the concern – Is lactic acid vegan? – doesn’t seem to be a thing to ponder upon. The vast majority of lactic acid produced across the globe comes from vegetable sugars as they are a cheaper commodity than animal-derived sources. The vegetable sources are also less prone to spoiling during fermentation.

milk - is lactic acid vegan

Benefits Of Lactic Acid For Skin

The mild concentration of lactic acid helps to treat various skin problems. Let us ponder upon some skincare benefits of this chemically fermented compound below:

  • Exfoliating agent: Lactic acid is an excellent skin exfoliating agent. It helps to remove dull and old cells off the surface of the skin by dissolving the bonds that hold the skin cells together. It speeds up cell turnover and rejuvenates skin. You get refreshing skin with a brighter complexion. After the use of lactic acid in your skincare routine, you will get smooth and soft skin.
  • Moisturizing agent: As compared to its AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids) cousins, lactic acid has an extra added benefit to skincare. It helps to retain the natural moisture of the skin. This keeps the skin hydrated and supple.
  • Anti-ageing effect: Regular use of lactic acid improves signs of ageing. It stimulated the renewal of collagen and firm cellular structure of the skin. It fades away fine lines and wrinkles from the face.
  • Hyperpigmentation: it evens out skin tone, reduces sun spots and age spots too.
  • Keratosis pilaris: It is the star ingredient in skin lotions and creams used for this skin disorder. Lactic acid helps to dissolve the plug of skin cells around the hair follicles, and even out the bumpiness.
  • Topical treatment: Use it for skin ailments like psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea.

Ask your physician about effective treatment options and home remedies before using lactic acid for your skin.

So, have we cleared the confusion? Do you know if lactic acid is vegan?

With more and more people hopping on the vegan train these days such questions about foods and their by-products keep arising. If you’re planning to strive by a diet powered by plants, you need not worry about consuming lactic acid – it’s cruelty-free, animal-friendly product that tastes awesome.

Remember to check food labels before you indulge in yourself in store-bought foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do vegans produce less lactic acid?

Lactic acid is produced as a metabolite in the process of sugar fermentation in our body. There is no evidence that vegans produce low amounts of lactic acid than the meat-eaters. Most lactic acid is vegan (except the dairy-based product). Check the labels to make sure before you buy any products.

Is lactic acid derived from milk?

Yes, lactic acid can be derived from milk (lactose fermentation process). However, the commercial variety is mostly prepared from non-dairy or plant-based foods like cornstarch, molasses, potatoes, or beetroot juice. Thus these are dairy-free.

Is lactic acid the same as lactose?

Lactose is a sugar found in all dairy products. Despite the similarity in their names, lactose and lactic acid are different chemical entities. Lactic acid is made by fermenting sugars like lactose (dairy), beet juice, cornstarch, etc. (vegetable sources). That’s why most products containing lactic acid are labeled ‘vegan’.

Is lactic acid healthy?

Lactic acid has many health and skincare benefits. They are known to improve the nutritional value of foods, improve lactose tolerance, boost gut health and prevent intestinal infections, control of serum cholesterol levels, and may control some cancers. Lactic acid is also known to heal scars and decrease skin pigmentation.

Are lactic acid bacteria a probiotic?

Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Lactic acid bacterial make to the list of probiotic organisms commonly used in fermented dairy products. These are also commercially produced from plants to be used as vegan alternatives.

What are the benefits of lactic acid for the skin?

Lactic acid is commonly used to treat age spots, hyperpigmentation, and even out your skin tone. Lactic acid also reduces pore appearance and rejuvenates the skin. Lactic acid is a bit milder form of AHAs than the glycolic acid.

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