Blood & Laboratory Values

Acetates – Function & Diseases


Acetates are chemical substances that are often used in the text industry and pharmaceuticals. The acetic acid salts occur in various forms, including as metabolic products in the human body. Together with esters, derivatives of carboxylic acid, free acetic acid is formed as a component of blood and tissue.

What are acetates?

Acetates or ethanoates refer to the esters and salts of acetic acid. Other constituents include substances such as aryl, arylalkyl, and alkyl that form organic chemical radicals. These residues from the original materials result in the acetates with their associated structure in terms of chemical composition.

For example, the intestinal bacterium Bacteroides thetaiomicron is able to convert fiber into the fatty acid acetate. About ten percent of daily calorie consumption comes from such fatty acids produced by microbes. Acetates exist in different forms such as sodium acetate, calcium acetate, lead acetate or ammonium acetate. Although the individual acetate types have slight differences in their chemical system, they have the same properties and similar compositions. Acetates are found in almost every living matter.

In a biological organism, the acetate acetyl coenzyme A acts as an intermediate and is involved in a variety of metabolic reactions. Salts and esters of acetic acid are widespread in nature, but their occurrence in natural minerals is extremely rare. However, some minerals such as calcanite and hoganite are acetate-based.

Function, effect & tasks

Vitamin E acetate (tocopheryl acetate) plays an important role in maintaining bodily functions. In the case of certain diseases or deficiency symptoms, vitamin E preparations in the form of synthetically manufactured derivatives are used because they are particularly stable and long-lasting.

The liquids produced in very high purity are often used to manufacture medicines. Vitamin E acetate is also used as an additive in the cosmetics industry and in animal feed production. Tocopheryl acetate capsules or dragees should only be taken under medical supervision. Stable vitamin E acetates are also found in creams for dry skin or in sunscreens. Sodium acetate is used as a food additive and may be added up to the specified maximum amount. However, this acetate is not permitted for foodstuffs that are offered untreated, as these products are not allowed to contain any additives according to legal guidelines. Sodium acetates are ingredients in dairy products, canned vegetables or mayonnaise.

The colorless salt , which smells slightly of vinegar , also serves as a buffer to give melting salts or technical materials the right degree of acidity. Sodium acetates are therefore able to neutralize the acidic taste in a food. In addition, this acetate can curb the proliferation of some types of bacteria. However, the formation of mold cannot be prevented by the use of sodium acetate. Salts are often used as additives in combination with various preservatives. In the body, acetates are further digested into acetic acid. The human organism needs activated acetic acid to generate energy so that the cells can constantly generate enough energy to withstand environmental influences.

Formation, Occurrence, Properties & Optimal Values

The citric acid cycle is a system of biochemical reactions that plays a central role in numerous anabolic and catabolic metabolic processes. With regard to the regulation of the metabolism , this means that high concentrations of the original products have an activating effect on the body. This also includes acetic acid. Acetate or the salts and esters of acetic acid have a significant influence on metabolic processes. More precisely, it is the activated acetic acid acetyl-CoA, where the abbreviation CoA stands for coenzyme A.

This factor is involved in a variety of enzyme reactions. If acetic acid has been converted into acetyl-CoA, carboxylic acid can develop its full biochemical usefulness. Acetyl-CoA not only functions as an important control center in metabolic processes, but is also a basic element for the connection of sex hormones , adrenal cortex hormones and tissue hormones such as histamine and serotonin . Vinegar is often used as a natural remedy to stimulate digestion and metabolism. The digestion process speeds up because vinegar stimulates salivary gland secretion. This promotes the absorption of nutrients and promotes the elimination of degradation products.

Diseases & Disorders

Like sodium acetate, calcium acetate is also used as a preservative and acid-regulating food additive. The calcium salt of acetic acid also serves as an extraction solvent for soil samples and as fuel paste in connection with denatured alcohol.


In medicine, calcium acetate is used to treat chronic kidney failure or an elevated phosphate level. Calcium acetate solutions are also included in heat packs. As the metal plates deform in the cushions, a crystallization nucleus is formed. The complete acetate solution crystallizes within a few seconds, but can store and release heat over a long period of time. The duration of the heat release depends on the size and volume of the heat pad and the ambient temperature. The drug calcium acetate is a mineral preparation that binds phosphates contained in food to reduce phosphate absorption in the body. The drug is given to patients who are suffering from severe kidney diseaseto undergo dialysis treatment.

The drug calcium acetate must not be taken if the calcium concentration in the blood is too high . Hypercalcaemia often occurs when the parathyroid glands are overactive . Also overdoses with vitamin D , certain forms of blood cancer , bone metastases, calcium-containing kidney stones and various lung diseasesincrease calcium concentration, which is why taking calcium acetate poses a health risk. In the textile industry, acetate fibers produced using the dry spinning process are used to make raincoats, umbrellas, blouses, shirts, lingerie and ties. The chemical fibers dry very quickly, are extremely stretchy and resistant to fungal attack. In contrast to polyester, acetate absorbs a lot of moisture and releases it back into the outside air.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.