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I was so pleased to come across this thread as I have been wanting to write about my experiences with cellulose for some time. Cellulose: it sounds so innocuous - like the stuff contained in vegetables.
Based on extensive online research, cellulose, also known as Avicel, microcrystalline cellulose, methyl cellulose, carboxymethyl cellulose, hypromellose, etc., appears to be derived from wood pulp, which is highly chemically treated. So, most of the time, allergic reactions are to the chemicals rather than to the cellulose itself (see footnote 1 below). Cellulose manufacturers claim that chemicals are washed away with copious quantities of water. However, based on my reactions and those of others, it appears that the chemicals are not completely removed.
The most common reactions are: rashes, digestive disorders, hair loss, pain, headaches and heart symptoms. I get a bad headache and non-stop heart palpitations for two days whenever I have the tiniest amount of cellulose. It started years ago with vitamins, then I had a terrible reaction the first time I took compounded levothyroxine prepared with Avicel. The pharmacy explained that Avicel came from methyl cellulose and that it was hypoallergenic - NOT! Once the palpitations subsided, I was grateful to the pharmacy for having used Avicel as it finally explained my reaction to vitamins and supplements which contain cellulose. I check the ingredients of all prepared foods as I recently discovered cellulose in gluten-free bread; I dread the day that I may to have to cook everything from scratch to avoid cellulose!
Lately, I have found only two thyroid medications free of cellulose: Tirosint by Akrimax Pharmaceuticals and Eltroxin by Aspen Triton. Synthroid does not list cellulose as one of its ingredients, but I have my suspicions as I got a rash and bad palpitations when they changed the coating from mat to shiny a few years back. For three years I took 50 mcgs of thyroxine compounded with sodium bicarbonate without any problems; then, in April 2012, 5 mcgs started causing palpitations. I suspect that cellulose has been added to the levothyroxine, but it is not listed in the ingredients. Since Tirosint is not available in Canada, I have been taking Eltroxin. If readers know of any other thyroid medications which are free of cellulose, please feel to post them. I live in constant fear of the formula being changed or the company going out of business. I was off all thyroid medication for months until I discovered the reformulated Eltroxin; it was not a pretty sight!
I would be very interested in hearing from others who have symptoms after ingesting cellulose.
Footnote 1 - Many hypothyroid patients at www.stopthethyroidmadness.com have complained that the cellulose in their thyroid medication impedes the absorption of the levothyroxine.