Succinic acid, or succinate, is used to make resins, lacquers and other coatings because its use improves the hardness and flexibility of these substances and shortens drying times compared to similar products that use petrochemicals. It is used in the manufacture of dyes, adhesives and sealants, in photography, in the manufacture of some polyesters, and to make the esters used in some perfumes.
Succinic acid is in the tissues of almost all animals and plants, where it is a key part of the metabolic process. It is used as an additive to regulate acidity in both human and animal foods and medicines. It is either extracted from amber, manufactured synthetically or made through a process of fermentation. The name succinic acid comes from the Latin succinum, which means amber, and it was also once known as "spirit of amber." As a supplement, succinic acid is used to treat arthritis and other pain as well as the hot flashes and irritability associated with menopause. The analgesic properties of succinic acid are behind the age-old practise of letting teething babies wear or chew on amber necklaces. However, there are no scientific studies proving that the practise works, and the necklaces are a choking hazard, according to Science-Based Medicine.