The Little-Known Side Effects Of Lemon Juice
The concentration of citric acid (vitamin C) in lemons is far more than that of any other citrus fruit. Citric acid alone accounts for about 8 percent of the dry weight of this fruit, making its juice very acidic. Lemon juice is 10,000-100,000 times more acidic and water. Though citric acid is responsible for most of the incredible health and beauty benefits that lemon juice has to offer, it causes numerous unpleasant side-effects when ingested or applied in excess. Here are some common, yet little-known side-effects of using too much lemon juice.
Side effects of consuming too much lemon juice:
1. Tooth Erosion
The pH value of lemon juice is typically between two and three. According to the Minnesota Dental Association, any liquid with a pH value below four has the ability to erode tooth enamel. Enamel is not made of living cells and therefore, once lost, it cannot be replaced. Enamel erosion leads to loss of dental tissue, sensitivity of teeth to hot and cold temperatures, stained teeth, and in some cases, cavities. To protect your teeth, drink lemon juice with a straw or mix it with other foods and liquids. You can also remove the acid from your teeth by taking a sip of water or (preferably) milk after drinking lemon juice.
Don’t brush your teeth for at least one hour after drinking lemon juice as this will only rub the acid around on your teeth and cause more erosion.
Vitamin C is believed to have diuretic properties, meaning it increases urine production in the kidney and resulting in the increased removal of fluids from your body and thus dehydration. This, however, will only occur if you consume very concentrated lemon juice. Usually, the water-content of lemon beverages is enough to offset that loss by the body due to increased urination.
3. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the small ring of muscle between the esophagus (the tube leading from the mouth to the stomach) and the stomach, known as the lower esophageal sphincter. In it, acid from the stomach moves back up into the esophagus, irritating its lining. The most common symptom of this disease is heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest), but more severe cases can cause nausea and vomiting. GERD symptoms are triggered by consuming acidic foods such as lemon juice.
Tyramine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is found in a variety of foods, including lemons. The enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) is responsible for the breakdown of tyramine. Eating foods that contain tyrosine is known to cause headaches in people who have a deficiency of the enzyme MAO. A study conducted by WebMD in 2010 found that 18 percent of people who experienced migraines reported that certain foods were likely to trigger an attack. The foods most commonly noted were ones that were high in tyramine.
Though the mechanism by which tyramine triggers migraines is not yet fully understood. As tyramine is found in many foods (not just lemons) and the headache inducing effect of lemon juice only occurs in some people, consult a medical professional if you feel you should reduce the amount of this amino acid in your diet.
Side Effects of Applying Lemon Juice to Your Skin or Hair
Lemon juice is a component of many natural skin treatments. Those who use such treatments need to be especially careful about avoiding the sun afterwards. Lemon juice contains chemicals that cause blistering, redness, and darkening of the skin during sun exposure. This is termed phytophotodermatitis. People with lighter skin are significantly more susceptible.
2. Dry, Brittle Skin and Hair
The acid in lemon juice dries and bleaches skin and hair and cause irritation in people with sensitive skin. It also breaks down the ‘acid mantle’ of the skin, which plays a role in protecting the skin against bacteria.