By and large, the harmful effects of lemon juice are down to using lemon juice wrongly or taking too much of it. Lemon juice in itself, has several health benefits. Also the juice has other important uses in the home and elsewhere.
To be sure, the harmful effects of lemon juice are outweighed by the benefits. But, like pretty much everything in life, too much of it can be inimical to our well being.
Let’s look at some of the harmful effects of lemon juice.
It can cause upset stomach
Taking too much lemon juice, especially when it is not diluted with water, can cause serious upset stomach.
People sometimes have the mistaken believe that more and undiluted lemon juice would speed up the benefits of the juice. Unfortunately, it does not work out that way.
The high acidity of lemon juice is the culprit here. Taking too much of it at a time means the body would be unable to digest most of it. This leaves a large amount undigested juice in the stomach.
The result is irritation of the mucus membrane of the stomach walls. The direct symptoms of these are stomach pains and possibly loose bowel movement to contend with.
Known as Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease in the medical world, acid reflux occurs when the muscle separating the esophagus from the stomach weakens.
Apart from the acid in the juice weakening this muscle, it encourages the production of too much acid in the stomach and irritates the walls of the esophagus which can be painful sometimes.
Symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and sore throat
Because of the acidic nature of lemon juice, excessive intake can cause ulcers in the stomach.
Like earlier stated, the acid in the lemon juice can irritate and damage the walls of the stomach leading to ulcers. These ulcers can range from mild to severe depending on the how much and how often you take the juice.
Too much iron in the system
One of the benefits of lemon juice is that it helps the body absorb and synthesize iron from the foods we eat. Ironically, this can also lead to one of the harmful effects of lemon juice.
Taking too much lemon juice would make the digestive system absorb too much iron into the body. Too much iron in the system can lead to health problems like hemochromatosis, also known as iron overload.
Dehydration and excessive urination
The commonly known component of lemon juice is Vitamin C. In fact, lemon juice is famous for its high content of Vitamin C which makes it a natural diuretic.
Taking too much therefore would cause the body to produce more urine faster and frequently. Invariably, the loss of fluids and sodium in the body due to frequent urination leads to dehydration of the body which is bad for the cells.
Acute headaches and migraines
Several studies have shown that the amino acid known as tyramine, which is present in large amounts in lemon juice, boosts the flow of blood to the brain.
The flow of blood to the brain is not necessarily a bad thing. Actually it is good to make the brain work optimally. But the problem is when the flow becomes too much.
People prone to migraines and severe headaches would suffer from these two problems easily if they consume too much lemon juice.
Harmful effects of lemon juice on the teeth
The acid in lemon juice would not do any favors to your dental hygiene if you take too much of it.
The coating of our teeth, or enamel, are at risk of being eroded by the lemon juice making the teeth sensitive especially to hot and cold foods.
Symptoms may include tooth decay, cavities, discoloration of the teeth and other problems associated with the oral cavity.
Fair skinned people are especially susceptible to this problem.
Harmful effects to hair
Lemon juice is a very good hair treatment especially when it is added to hair wash. However, using it frequently can be very harmful for the hair.
The citric acid in lemon juice can lead to dry scalp, making the hair rough and weak and prone to breaking easily. The result is unnecessary hair loss.
Again, lemon juice is not necessarily bad. When making lemon juice for consumption or general use, the idea is to dilute the juice with enough water.
The best recommended ratio of lemon juice to water is to squeeze half a lemon in half a glass of water. A few drops of lemon juice in half a glass of water is even enough to avoid the harmful effects of lemon juice.