Is Sodium Lactate Dairy? [Allergen Info]

Sodium lactate does sound like it contains lactose or any milk and dairy component. But does it, and can it cause allergies if it does?  Sodium lactate doesn’t contain dairy or any milk component and …

spanish chorizo sausage with basil on chopping board

Sodium lactate does sound like it contains lactose or any milk and dairy component. But does it, and can it cause allergies if it does? 

Sodium lactate doesn’t contain dairy or any milk component and won’t be a threat to people with lactose sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy. However, sodium lactate through a Lactated Ringer’s Injection IV can lead to allergic reactions. 

What can sodium lactate do and can’t do? Read on to find out!

Does Sodium Lactate Contain Dairy? Is it a Milk Product?

Sodium lactate is not an allergen. It will not cause allergy because lactate does not contain lactose (source: NIH). 

Sodium lactate is made from a combination by fermentation of a sugar source like beets or corn. The process produces lactic acid which is neutralized to make sodium lactate (source: European Molecular Biology Laboratory-European Bioinformatics Institute)

Sodium lactate is also not a milk protein because it doesn’t contain any component of milk, nor is it milk (source: Healthline). 

So, what is sodium lactate?

Sodium lactate is a form of lactic acid, more specifically, a salt of lactic acid, and is used in preserving meat products and enhancing their flavor. It is considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the USDA. (source: USDA).  

woman holding packed meat with potassium lactate in the supermarket

Sodium lactate has many applications. It is used in industrial (textile), commercial and household applications (cleaning), and personal care like cosmetics. Sodium lactate is also an approved drug as part of an intravenous solution (source: PubChem).

Another application is in the food industry. Sodium lactate is considered a food additive as a flavor enhancer, antimicrobial agent, and preservative (source: Federal Register). The latter is its more common use in the food industry. 

Can Sodium Lactate be an Allergen? 

Sodium lactate can be both made naturally and man-made. Most, if not all the time, it is plant-based. 

The reason why it’s associated with allergy is because of the name “lactate” which suggests milk or dairy. And the reason why people worry is that allergies can be severe for some individuals, and sometimes even life-threatening. 

As discussed, lactic acid is formed when fermentation occurs from sugars. While it doesn’t always come from milk, there are instances that it can. 

It is recommended to read the label or ingredient list of a product or ask the manufacturer to be certain the sodium lactate present doesn’t come from milk (source: Food Allergy). 

If you negatively react to processed food, especially when you don’t usually do, it might be the food additive in that particular processed food. You may contact your doctor or go to the nearest hospital when necessary. 

There is one interesting study we found on sodium lactate. Patients were seen to have multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (MCS) which is not an allergic reaction. 

spanish chorizo sausage with basil on chopping board

The symptoms include shortness of breath, palpitation, tightness in the chest, and more. It has been suggested that some of the patients that have self-identified MCS might have a neurobiological basis like panic disorder.

Some patients had an underlying condition that could bring about these symptoms when faced with challenges like sodium lactate infusion (source: The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology). 

What this study means is that sodium lactate in this research did not cause allergy, but only symptoms that resemble allergy. 

As a lactate, sodium lactate doesn’t pose much of a risk to cause allergy due to lactose because it doesn’t contain it. However, as a compound, it may do.

According to FDA, some patients are hypersensitive to sodium lactate in Lactated Ringer’s Injection, an intravenous (IV) fluid given to patients (source: FDA). Lactated Ringer’s have side effects such as allergic reactions like itching, coughing, swelling of the eyes, and others (source: RX List).

As food, especially processed food, sodium lactate is mostly safe but we still recommend reading the label if it contains any milk or dairy allergen. As an IV fluid, tell the doctor or nurse ahead beforehand.

We hope this answers your queries about sodium lactate possibly causing allergies.