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Sulfite Allergy?
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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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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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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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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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With Sulfa allergy one more item to watch for: anti biotics and anti-inflamatory precriptions such as Celebrex or Daypro.

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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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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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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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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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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.

It

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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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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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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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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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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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I have reactions to sulfur dioxide, sulfites in wine & sulfa type medications. I get more or less the same reaction with the sulfur dioxide and sulfites - itchy, annoying little bumps/hives all over my torso. My reaction with sulfa medications however was on my face and way worse (maybe due to the concentration). I had red blotches all over my face that hung around for several weeks. I avoid all sulfur dioxide and sulfa medications but I still drink wine once in awhile because I can tolerate that. Some kinds don't bother me at all, others will leave me with annoying little hives for a few hours then go away. So, I tend to stick to the brands of wine that i know won't don't cause me any trouble. Organic/bio-dynamic ones are often best.

My niece is also allergic to sulfa type medications (she had the same rash on her face as I did) and my mother will turn beet red if she has a glass of wine.

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this is a really interesting thread

i know im having problems with food but just cant figure out what it is . have been diagnosed neg for celiac. from the moment i had my first alcoholic drink, i knew i had a problem with it! obviously couldnt tell my parents- coz then they,d know id been drinking lol . so i just put it down to me just being odd . i have been covered head to toe in a red rash from drinking scrumpy jack cider. !! coz of this ive never been a big drinker- it made me feel breathless, and my face feel tight - i could feel myself gettin hotter and hotter,and get an annoying tickly cough.

a few years ago i had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic - amoxycillin dont know if this is connected to sulfites or not.

ive also got a rash on my face that im trying to figure out whats causing it. and sometimes feel that my tongue has got too big for my mouth.

i also had a problem with my eyes - that i thought was conjunctivitis, but it was suggested it was scleritis. because of this i looked into my makeup and stuff and thought it was my bubblebath ( i liked to lie under the water) and thought it was probably the sodium lauryl sulfate which ive tried to avoid ever since.

does any of what im saying make any sense im kinda just thinkin out loud - its just flicked a lightswitch on for me

any imput would help me make sense of this thanks....

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    • hey! Wondering if I can get some good info/help from you guys! I just signed up for this website couple weeks ago. Whenever I would Google things this was always the first to pop up and I always found info on things I googled. I am pretty new to the gluten free thing. I had a hernia surgery back in Jan and after that I kept throwing up after eating, the DR. told me it was probably acid reflex caused from surgery but all the meds I tried nothing helped. I went back and was told to cut gluten out. I have been doing so since. When I first started I felt like I had it under control and didn't throw up for 3 weeks, now I find it happening more often. I do buy gluten-free things and read labels to the best I can. My frustration comes from not knowing what its from. How do you know if its from the day before or what you just ate? I hate not knowing. Especially when I haven't had gluten (or so I think) I have been keeping a journal but I just find it so hard. I get this feeling in my stomach and can feel it in my throat. Sometimes I puke once sometimes 5 times! Yesterday for lunch I made an omlet with chicken mushrooms and feta cheese. I threw up almost 20 min after. I have also tried the no dairy thing and it doesn't seem to make a difference so I don't think dairy is an issue as well.
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