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Sulfite Allergy?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 weeza

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 02:05 PM

My Dr said I am now allergic to sulfites. I was just getting use to gluten-free living but after a few problems with different foods, wine, gluten free salad dressing, grapes etc. The thing is I didn't have most of the symptoms like headaches. I did have scratchy throat, but the main think is after having some things like red wine, I would throw up like I had food poisoning. I could not find this as a symptom. Is anyone out there with sulfite allergy and have you heard of this as one of the symptoms? I am just wondering if there is something else in these same foods that could be the cause.
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#2 Lisa16

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 03:10 PM

Hi weeza!

Yes I have the sulfite/ sulfate allergy too. I get a bright red, hot and raised rash on the face, neck and chest. If it is bad I can get swelling of the joints (mostly wrists and ankles) and lips/ tongue and throat (I bet your scratchy throat is the beginning of this.) It can also cause some nausea, which might explain the vomiting. In addition, it causes me photosensitivity in the extreme and "hot flashes." It can be a dangerous and severe allergy.

Here is what else to avoid:

balsamic vinegars and other vinegars made from grapes (wine grapes are treated with sulfites to prevent a kind of wilt or rot they get)

all wines and champaigns (first no beer-- now no wine!) and some liquers

dried fruits treated with sulfates/fites (apples, bananas, pineapple, raisins, apricots, etc.)

all foods processed with sulfites, including metabosulfites and biosulfites. This will appear in lots on condiments, snackfoods and lunchmeats. Even some candy and yogurt and cheese.

I must avoid egg yolks.

and, of course, no sulfa-type antibiotics. These are what got me first. The rest followed. Doctors swear they are not related, but I am not so sure. The reaction is too similar. There are also a number of medicines which contain a sulpher molecule (like diuretics, arthritis meds and certain blood pressure medicines.) I cannot tolerate these either.

You may also find you cannot tolerate topical sulfates/fites, such as SLS commonly found in shampoo. I know of brands that do not have it.

Also... please do not be surprised if you discover you cannot have nitrates/nitrites either. Or MSG. I have all of these and they seem to "flock" together.

Good luck!

Lisa
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#3 weeza

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 07:21 AM

Hi weeza!

Yes I have the sulfite/ sulfate allergy too. I get a bright red, hot and raised rash on the face, neck and chest. If it is bad I can get swelling of the joints (mostly wrists and ankles) and lips/ tongue and throat (I bet your scratchy throat is the beginning of this.) It can also cause some nausea, which might explain the vomiting. In addition, it causes me photosensitivity in the extreme and "hot flashes." It can be a dangerous and severe allergy.

Here is what else to avoid:

balsamic vinegars and other vinegars made from grapes (wine grapes are treated with sulfites to prevent a kind of wilt or rot they get)

all wines and champaigns (first no beer-- now no wine!) and some liquers

dried fruits treated with sulfates/fites (apples, bananas, pineapple, raisins, apricots, etc.)

all foods processed with sulfites, including metabosulfites and biosulfites. This will appear in lots on condiments, snackfoods and lunchmeats. Even some candy and yogurt and cheese.

I must avoid egg yolks.

and, of course, no sulfa-type antibiotics. These are what got me first. The rest followed. Doctors swear they are not related, but I am not so sure. The reaction is too similar. There are also a number of medicines which contain a sulpher molecule (like diuretics, arthritis meds and certain blood pressure medicines.) I cannot tolerate these either.

You may also find you cannot tolerate topical sulfates/fites, such as SLS commonly found in shampoo. I know of brands that do not have it.

Also... please do not be surprised if you discover you cannot have nitrates/nitrites either. Or MSG. I have all of these and they seem to "flock" together.

Good luck!

Lisa


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#4 weeza

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 07:26 AM

Oops, I am still learning how to reply. Lisa thanks for your advice. After I posted the original post I did find a couple sites that talk about vomiting. Your list is much more complete then most I could find. Just getting use to gluten free but now giving up balsamic vinegar, well life is just cruel :D .
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#5 debmidge

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 04:52 PM

With Sulfa allergy one more item to watch for: anti biotics and anti-inflamatory precriptions such as Celebrex or Daypro.
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Husband has Celiac Disease and
Husband misdiagnosed for 27 yrs -
The misdiagnosis was: IBS or colitis
Mis-diagnosed from 1977 to 2003 by various gastros including one of the largest,
most prestigious medical groups in northern NJ which constantly advertises themselves as
being the "best." This GI told him it was "all in his head."
Serious Depressive state ensued
Finally Diagnosed with celiac disease in 2003
Other food sensitivities: almost all fruits, vegetables, spices, eggs, nuts, yeast, fried foods, roughage, soy.
Needs to gain back at least 25 lbs. of the 40 lbs pounds he lost - lost a great amout of body fat and muscle
Developed neuropathy in 2005
Now has lymphadema 2006
It is my opinion that his subsequent disorders could have been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner by any of the dozen or so doctors he saw between 1977 to 2003

#6 Lisa16

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 06:05 PM

Yes-- celebrex (given to me for "arthritis") nearly killed me. The reaction to drugs is more severe than the reaction to foods containing sulfites. I suppose it has to do with the concentration.

The best way to check a medicine is to look it up online and find the chemical formula or molecular structure. Lots of times Wikipedia or the manufacturer will post it. It you see a sulfer molecule there (an S), especially one hanging out by itself on an end, then avoid it if you can. It is a serious allergy-- it can kill you.

What is really interesting to me is that a doctor will tell you that there are lots of sulfer atoms in our bodies and that they occur in many foods naturally (like egg yolks). I think they really don't understand how the food part of the allergy works very well. I think there are a lot of things they don't understand very well.

I am sorry weeza-- once you start eliminating processed foods llife gets even harder. But you can console yourself by thinking how much healthier you are eating.

If you have the nitrates allergy, then most lunch meats and tv dinners are off the list too. Not to mention a ton of other medicines, including laughing gas from the dentist. :lol:



Lisa
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#7 ive

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 06:33 PM

Lisa, you said you do not eat egg yolks. Can you eat other food that contains natural sulphur, e.g. cabbage, cauliflower, onion, garlic, etc?
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#8 lorka150

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 07:19 PM

I have a sulphite sensitivty; it makes me feel quite sick, like I am going to throw up, I get a rash. Perhaps it is an allergy, but I just stay away from everything that is processed.

I am also severely allergic to sulfa, the drug, but they are NOT related. They are not made from the same ingredients and are not in the same family. If you have a problem with both, then it is a coincidence.

Organic wineries use LESS sulphites in the process of their wines, which may be tolerable for you.
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#9 Lisa16

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 06:21 AM

ive-- I avoid those foods too. I can't do cabbage or cauliflower, and limit onions and garlic. I do use onions and garlic in cooking, but I always regret it after. The symptoms with those foods are more gastrointentinal in nature (yolks too)-- they do not produce a rash like eating dried fruit does or using a vinegar made from grapes. I don't know why. I suspect that it has to do with concentrations.

Lorka--
right. Doctors say they are not related. However, the symptoms in my case are very similar for wines, vinegars and dried fruit especially-- rash and swelling. It makes me wonder.

I wonder if there isn't a kind of sensitivity to the actual sulfer molecule itself that they just don't understand. Maybe it has more to do with how the molecule is constructed (ie how available to S molecule is for absorbtion?)? I don't know, but I suspect it is something like this. Maybe it is a question of balance-- like the body can metabolize so much at a time and if you get more in your system than the body can handle, then it tips a scale of some kind and you get a reaction.

I have reacted to organic wines too :( But thanks for the suggestion.
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#10 Lisa16

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 09:37 AM

I found this information from about allergies.com. I have pasted the relevant parts below. What is fascinating is the lists of foods, together with the parts per million data. I feel it confirms my theory about concentrations.

Quote:

Less is known about hives/swelling and anaphylaxis as a result of sulfites, although various cases have been described in which the consumption of sulfite-containing foods/beverages leads to severe allergic reactions. Some of these people even had positive skin tests to sulfites, suggesting the presence of allergic antibodies to the preservative.

Other people have experienced severe reactions from sulfite-containing medications, including intravenous drugs and inhaled medications. These reactions included flushing, hives and a drop in lung function as a result of the medications being given.

Sulfites do not appear to be a culprit in people suffering from repeated episodes of anaphylaxis of unknown cause, are not a risk for anaphylaxis in people with mastocytosis, and appear to present little to no risk for people without asthma and without atopy.

Itís not completely known how sulfites cause reactions in certain people. Some people clearly make allergic antibodies against sulfites, while others do not. The gases generated from sulfites might cause muscle spasms in the lungs of some asthmatics, or could be related to the inability in some people to metabolize the sulfites appropriately.

How is Sulfite Allergy Diagnosed?
While there have been some case reports of people being diagnosed with sulfite allergy using skin testing, there is no reliable, commercially available skin test for sulfite allergy. Typically, the diagnosis is suggested by a history of adverse reactions after consuming sulfite-containing foods or medications.
However, in order for the diagnosis to be confirmed, an allergist may perform an oral metabisulfite challenge for a patient suspected of having sulfite allergy. This procedure involves giving a person increasing amounts of sulfites to swallow, with close monitoring of lung function and vital signs. A significant drop in lung function confirms sensitivity to sulfites. This test should only be performed under direct supervision of a physician who has been trained and is experienced with such a procedure.

Why are Sulfites Added to Foods?
Sulfites are added to foods for various reasons. These include:
Reduction of spoilage by bacteria
Slows the browning of fruit, vegetables and seafood
Inhibits of growth of bacteria during fermentation of wines
Conditioning of dough in frozen pie and pizza crust
Bleaching effect for maraschino cherries and hominy
In the past, sulfites were added to fresh foods in restaurants and grocery stores to prevent browning. An increase in reactions led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the use of sulfites in fresh foods in 1986, particularly on fresh lettuce in salad bars. The FDA now requires that any food containing more than 10 parts per million (ppm) concentration of sulfites to be declared on the label. Foods that contain less than 10 ppm of sulfites have not been shown to cause symptoms, even in people allergic to sulfites.

Which Foods Contain Sulfites?

Greater than 100 ppm of sulfites (very high levels, strict avoidance advised in people with sulfite allergy)
dried fruits (excluding dark raisins and prunes)
bottled lemon juice (non-frozen)
bottled lime juice (non-frozen)
wine
molasses
sauerkraut (and its juice)
grape juices (white, white sparkling, pink sparkling, red sparkling)
pickled cocktail onions

Between 50 and 99.9 ppm of sulfites (moderate to high levels of sulfite, avoidance advised in people with sulfite allergy)

dried potatoes
wine vinegar
gravies/sauces
fruit toppings
Maraschino cherries
Between 10 and 49.9 ppm of sulfites (low to moderate levels of sulfite, may cause symptoms in people with severe sulfite allergy)

pectin
fresh shrimp
corn syrup
pickled peppers
pickles/relish
corn starch
hominy
frozen potatoes
maple syrup
imported jams and jellies
fresh mushrooms
imported sausages and meats
cordials (alcoholic)
dehydrated vegetables
various cheeses
corn bread/muffin mix
canned/jarred clams
clam chowder
avocado dip/guacamole
imported fruit juices and soft drinks
ciders and cider vinegars

Less than 10 ppm of sulfites (very low sulfite levels, generally do not pose a risk, even for people with sulfite allergy)

malt vinegar
canned potatoes
beer
dry soup mix
soft drinks
frozen pizza and pie dough
beet sugar
gelatin
coconut
fresh fruit salad
domestic jams and jellies
crackers
cookies
grapes
high fructose corn syrup


For complete information, see http://allergies.abo.../a/sulfites.htm
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#11 fortunafelidae

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 11:17 AM

I'm also allergic to both sulfites and sulfa medications. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

That, and avoiding instant potatoes of any kind is a great idea, for the original poster.
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#12 Lisa16

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 01:44 PM

Interestingly enough, the web site I quoted from does in fact link the two allergies.

I would be very interested to know what percentage of people have both out of the antibiotic-sensitive population. I would guess it is on the high side.
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#13 chasbari

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 02:25 PM

I'm also allergic to both sulfites and sulfa medications. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

That, and avoiding instant potatoes of any kind is a great idea, for the original poster.


Lots of instant potato mixes have wheat flour in them as well. Go figure..
CS
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#14 koz158

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 11:53 AM

Funny story, I think that my wife has a sulfite allergy as well. Recently picked up the Apple Cin gluten-free Chex and she had 3 bad days until (we couldn't figure out why... nothing else in our routine had changed) so did a little comparison between the gluten-free chex and the only think that was different was the sulfites (for the apple I assume).
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#15 ida pachinsky

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:39 PM

Just thought I'd thrown in my two cents.
Everyone seems to say that sulfa (medication) and sulfite allergies are two seperate animals.
I grew up in the 1950's and got a lot of sulfa. Later dx. with celiac and now a vicious sufite allergies complete with tongue swelling and open sores on my legs.
Anyway- spoke to my brother's daughter.
she cannot have sulfa - and only took it for a short time when she did. Far different from my expereince and she too can not have sufites. Sounds very genetic to me. And it sounds as if the docs are repeating what they heard in medical school. Repeating, not thinking. sulpher is sulpher, you can make it into any number of substances, but it is the same S with the same atomic weight. It only combines so many ways. Dhuh. Anyone take high school chemistry?
14 hours after eating something, or a combination of things, my legs ooze with open sores and I make a very quick trip to the loo. It wants out of my body.
My downfall was confectionary sugar, corn starch in home made chinese and puddings, and store bought frozen french fries. But the red wine diagnosed it.

I recently wrote another thread on abating sulfite eczema with vitamins. Still can't eat sufites.
There has to be some relationship between celiac and sulphur. Too many people are blogging on this issue to be random. I am sure it is a sub set of our population, a large sub set. Ida
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