Sodium benzoate is frequently listed as an ingredient in canned foods, cosmetics, and medications. However, many individuals are still unaware of whether sodium benzoate is truly safe and how it is utilized. The following article will provide comprehensive information regarding this component.
Sodium benzoate is a synthetic chemical with the symbol E211 that functions as a preservative and corrosion inhibitor in foods and cosmetics. It is a crystalline, odorless powder.
Sodium benzoate is not available in nature and syntherized from benzoic acid and sodium hydroxide. Numerous plants, including cranberries, cloves, tomatoes, berries, cinnamon, plums, and apples, contain benzoic acid. Additionally, benzoic acid is produced by the fermentation of microorganisms in yogurt and other dairy products. This ingredient is considered a natural preservative, combining it with sodium hydroxide helps to dissolve the product.This procedure yields sodium benzoate, a well-known preservative found in canned goods, carbonated soft drinks, cosmetics,…
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The primary determinant in sodium benzoate’s effectiveness as a preservative is the presence of undissociated molecules. Due to the high lipophilicity of these molecules, they are able to pass through the cell membrane quickly and penetrate deeply into bacteria. Once they have successfully infiltrated the cell membrane, they will inhibit the absorption of amino acids. This process prevents enzymes from synthesizing, breaking down, or absorbing nutrients, preventing their growth. It functions as an efficient preservative in foods, medicine and cosmetics.
The action mechanism of sodium benzoate is safer for the human body when compared to that of Parabens, another prevalent preservative found in cosmetics. Studies have demonstrated that Parabens kill bacteria by interfering with transmembrane transport or by blocking the DNA and RNA synthesis of numerous essential enzymes via targeted invasion at high biocide doses. Therefore, Parabens are examined for their ability to eradicate germs, molds, and acne-causing bacteria effectively. However, it also impairs the body’s DNA and RNA production and has a significant effect on the female hormone estrogen. Therefore, the use of Parabens has been prohibited in European nations.
Sodium benzoate is added to cosmetics, personal care items, pharmaceuticals, and industrial products, in addition to its use in processed foods and beverages.
1 – Foods and beverages
Sodium benzoate preservative is approved for use in foods by the FDA (U.S Food and Drug Administration) and is a frequent food additive. Sodium benzoate prevents the growth of mold and other dangerous microorganisms in food.
It is particularly useful for keeping acidic foods such as soft drinks, bottled lemonade, pickles, jams, salad dressings, soy sauce, and other condiments. Sodium benzoate will react in a highly acidic solution and generate benzoic acid (the main ingredient that makes up Sodium benzoate). Due to its insolubility in water, benzoic acid offers excellent food preservation properties.
2 – Cosmetics
Sodium benzoate is an essential preservative which inhibits bacterial development. This active ingredient, in several personal care products such as shampoo, bath lotion, wet wipes, etc, is not only antibacterial and antifungal, but also anti-corrosion. The anti-corrosion mechanism of sodium benzoate is to prevent substances in cosmetics from reacting with metals in the packaging, such as brass, copper, aluminum, etc. Thanks to that, the quality and color of the product are guaranteed.
In addition, Sodium benzoate is bactericidal and anti-mold based on the mechanism of pushing benzoic acid into the cells of the organism. As the acidity increases, the intracellular pH drops to 5 or less, anaerobic glucose fermentation takes place through enzymes. This process is known as phosphofructokinase (phosphofructokinase is an enzyme that catalyzes the reaction of attaching a phosphate group to the sugar fructose-6 – phosphate). A sharp decrease in Phosphofructokinase will result in a loss of a favorable growth environment for microorganisms. This ensures that the product is not damaged and prolongs its service life.
3 – Medicine
Due to its efficient antibacterial qualities, sodium benzoate is employed as a preservative in various over-the-counter and prescription medications, particularly liquid ones such as cough syrup.
4 – Other uses
Sodium benzoate is also utilized as an anti-corrosion agent, and is commonly found in vehicle and motorcycle engines… due to its effective anti-corrosion properties. In addition, sodium benzoate is the component that makes pyrotechnics explode when compressed and ignited.
According to the FDA, sodium benzoate is deemed safe and can be used as a food preservative to prevent bacterial growth at concentrations of up to 1%.
Sodium benzoate is easily eliminated in the urine at a dosage of 647-825 mg/kg body weight per day, without accumulating or causing negative effects. Besides, this ingredient must be clearly indicated on the product’s packaging for customers to review before purchasing. It is advisable that you have to examine the ingredient list to ensure its safety and conformity for you and your family
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In fact, some products on the market still contain exceeding allowable concentration of sodium benzoate. Studies indicated that high amounts of sodium benzoate can raise the risk of inflammation, oxidative stress, obesity, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and allergies.. Sodium benzoate, under some certain conditions, can also transform to Benzene, a potentially carcinogenic chemical.
Possible transformation into a carcinogen
Sodium benzoate’s tendency to convert to benzene, a hazardous carcinogen, is a major cause for concern, particularly in soda drinks that contain both sodium benzoate and vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
However, in 2006, after analyzing 150 batches of soft drinks combining vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and sodium benzoate as a preservative, the British Food Administration demonstrated that this ingredient is safe. According to published data, 112 samples did not contain Benzene, while 38 samples have Benzene at the concentration between 1 and 10 ppb (10 parts per billion).
For cosmetics, manufacturers take precautions that effectively prevent the creation of sodium benzoate from benzene in vitamin C-containing products. Keeping them from being exposed to light and heat reduces benzene production. In appropriate quantities, sodium benzoate is one of the most reliable chemicals on the market and is extremely safe for human consumption.
Possible side effects
Aside from its ability to transform to Benzene, preliminary studies have shown common side effects with excessive use of sodium benzoate.
1- Inflammation: The immune system creates inflammation to protect the body from infection, injury, or disease. Inflammation often has a few common symptoms such as: body aches, fatigue, constant insomnia; anxiety, depression and other mood disorders or frequent infections.
Animal studies have shown that the incidence of inflammatory symptoms in the body is proportional to the amount of sodium benzoate consumed.
2 – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A study of college students found a strong link between ADHD and sodium benzoate . As a result, consuming a lot of drinks that contain sodium benzoate showed an increase in ADHD symptoms.
3 – Oxidative stress: Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. This phenomenon occurs when free radicals (including oxygen molecules) increase rapidly, especially studies that sodium benzoate is one of the common causes of this phenomenon. Oxidative stress causes health deterioration, organs work less than normal and increases the risk of chronic disease.
4 – Allergies: Sodium benzoate may also cause allergic reactions in a small group. Common symptoms include rash, swelling,.. sensitive skin such as baby skin, this ingredient is advised not to use in any form of contact.
Some good uses of Sodium benzoate
For a number of medical conditions, sodium benzoate play an essential role in the treatment of serious illnesses including panic disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and multiple sclerosis (MS). It is also indicated as adjunctive therapy in pediatric and adult patients for the treatment of acute hyperammonemia and associated encephalopathy in patients with urea cycle enzyme deficiency.
Despite the potential benefits, sodium benzoate can have side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset. For these reasons, sodium benzoate should only be taken as a prescription drug in carefully controlled doses and with constant monitoring.
The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) recognized sodium benzoate as safe for use in food (GRAS). Using 647–825 mg/kg of body weight per day of sodium benzoate in food has no negative impact on human health.
The CIR (professional panel on cosmetic ingredient review) decided that it was safe for use in cosmetics. Nonetheless, if cosmetic items contain vitamin C, manufacturers must adhere to the permitted concentration throughout the mixing process, as the combination of Sodium benzoate and Vitamin C has the potential to produce Benzene (a carcinogenic substance). According to FutureDerm, Benzene does not form at all in cosmetic products with a high concentration of vitamin C and a low concentration of sodium benzoate, because the higher concentration of vitamin C allows it to operate as a free radical scavenger rather than react with sodium benzoate. Typically, the PH of products with a high concentration of vitamin C, which are highly alkaline, is 5.7. Even with a pH above 7, no benzene will form, according to studies.
Storage assists in fighting against the formation of benzene. Adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions, such as avoiding direct sunlight and high temperatures, will help preserve the product’s quality and ensure its safety for your skin.
Before being placed on the market, any food items containing sodium benzoate as a preservative must get a license from the appropriate authorities. For those who are sensitive to chemicals, such as children, containing this ingredient in the product should be excluded. Therefore, while purchasing baby food, you must pay attention to the ingredient list, especially the concentration of each item to ensure them to be listed clearly on the packaging.
1 – Is sodium benzoate harmful to humans?
According to the FDA, sodium benzoate is considered as a GRAS (generally regarded as safe) ingredient. When ingested in amounts less than 5 mg/kg of body weight per day, it is deemed safe for human health. The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) was set at this level.
2 – Is sodium benzoate harmful to skin?
It has been demonstrated that sodium benzoate is safe for use on the skin when applied at the proper concentration. Sensitive skin, eczema, or skin allergies require special consideration.
3 – Is sodium benzoate banned?
Sodium benzoate is not being banned in any country. However, the dose per product is being monitored in the US.
4 – Is sodium benzoate the same as salt?
Sodium benzoate is an organic sodium salt resulting from the replacement of the proton in the carboxyl group of benzoic acid by a sodium ion.
In conclusion, Sodium benzoate is a safe preservative for the human body when used at the appropriate dose. Hopefully, the above article has provided you with helpful knowledge. Stay tuned for other useful posts on our website.
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