Sulfites Allergy (Suspected)

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New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/29/2012 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   

I went onto this forum the other day and read Layla's topic and then read on to find Alcie's answer and was overwhelmed to find that someone else had a gastric reflux type of reaction to sulfites or suphar based foods.
I am allergic to Sulphar based medications and have been for some years. At the same stage I also developed a strong allergic reaction to Garlic and Ginger when combined and Garlic on its own (I love garlic) the reaction is strange in my mouth and throat and then after about 10 minutes I get strong pain in my stomach, feel sick and for about 3-4 days I have bad lower stomach spasming. With Garlic and Ginger together I just vomit. All the information I have read about sulfite and sulphar allergies seems to be asthma but I dont have any of that.
about 6-7 years ago I started to have weird reactions to different foods and it wasnt until I had a huge attack from eating ham and drinking wine, that I decided to go to the doctors - I was told I had heartburn and indigestion and to take a medication which actually slowed down the gut function.
The symtoms that I had was like a gastric reflux but with huge chest pain and as though my heart was in a vise, I also had weird pain coming from my chest and going up to behind my ears and a strange burning in my chest. I felt like I wanted to die - it lasted for some time and at that stage I didnt change my food it just got worse at different stages. Eventually I found the parallels bewteen different foods and stopped eating them.
After some years I went back to eating the foods and wine and up to a few weeks ago all was ok until I ate ham again and cooked a meal with bacon/ham/onions and had wine and bang it was all back again but worse and then I really wanted to die. I dont want to go back to a doctor as they will no doubt say its gastric reflux and I know its not - these symtoms are really strange and it all makes me feel really weird - I end up going to bed and I hibernate for days until I feel good again.
At the moment I havent eaten ham/onions/bacon/wine/all preservative based foods for several weeks and I have NO symtoms. I had an egg the other day and bang it was back again for several hours.
I noticed that Alcie said that she went to an allerist and had it dianosed and basicially you would just have to stay away from foods that have sulfites in them. But what I really wanted to ask was were your systoms like what I have described?
Doctors have made me feel like I am just another person with heartburn and just get over it when i know its not that and they wont listen.
Can you offer any advice for me?? It would be great to know I am not going crazy......................

Thanks for reading this, Ellmila.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5013
   Posted 5/29/2012 9:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Ellmila, welcome to the forum.

First check out information in the general allergy posts - the ones at the top of the list of threads.

If you put a couple of keywords (sulfite allergy, sulphites, sulfite sensitivity, food journal, challenge testing .... ) into the search box at the top of the page you will find a whole bunch of links to posts.

There are lots of links to good websites in the older posts.

Since you reported chest pain, it's always good to get checked out by a cardiologist, just to make sure there is nothing going on with the heart. My stomach and esophagus symptoms cause real heart arrhythmias (linked angina or cardioesophageal relfex). It caused my coronary arteries to spasm, which ended up as a heart attack requiring a stent at that spot. My cardiologist still doesn't believe me, but I can reproduce the reaction just by drinking a glass of wine.

A gastro doc is unlikely to be conversant with sulfite intolerances. I even had to go to 2 allergists to find one who put me onto keeping a journal. The first one did a couple of skin pricks and told me I didn't have any food allergies.

New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/30/2012 6:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Alcie,

Thank you so much for your reply, it is great to hear from you. I have been to a cardioligist as i was having a form of tachycardia and it eventually settled down, my heart rate was extremely high and was going all over the place. He was not able to determine anything at all.
I hope you are ok now and that the stent works ok. I will keep searching re your suggestions and in the meantime I am just abstaining from the foods that I know that have sulfites in them. I am excellent when I dont have them, I have no problems at all.

Thanks again

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/7/2013 1:23 PM (GMT -6)   
I have just found this forum. I am interested in hearing from other people who have GI problems from sulfite sensitivity. I've had the problem for years, and eventually figured out what was causing it, so now I avoid sulfites, but it isn't always easy.
Last night I suffered an attack. It began with sudden, massive pain and tightness in my chest. The pressure was so intense I had trouble breathing, and my husband called the paramedics. They helped restore my breathing before I hyperventilated. It was a bad night, but I improved over time.
I think the culprit was the 1/2 Dunkin Donut I ate. Do you know if DD uses sulfites in their donuts? I'd like to know, so I can avoid them in the future.

Pat Tall
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 950
   Posted 6/7/2013 4:08 PM (GMT -6)   

Here is a few pages (old) that have a lot of good references and ideas. Alice will be along with suggestions.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5013
   Posted 6/7/2013 7:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the forum ssimon.

All doughnuts have sulfites. It's a matter of how much. All the sugars have some, a lot of the flavorings have it. You'd have to know the ingredients to calculate how much you consumed.

Since you had a severe reaction you should see a cardiologist, maybe you already have, to make sure there's nothing going on with your heart. I actually had a heart attack once that was triggered by sulfites in the dried fruit in my breakfast cereal. Google or search the search box at the top of the page for "cardioesophageal reflex" aka "linked angina." There are loads of posts about this.

There are many websites that have lists of foods containing sulfites. What you need to find is a good list with amounts. there are pages on this site that can teach you to calculate how much sulfite is in a food.

Then you need to calculate how much you can tolerate. My allergist had me keep a very good food diary. After I found the foods that caused a reaction I had to do test how much of each ingredient it took to trigger the reaction. Be careful! I was under a doctor's care for this! You have a serious reaction. Anyway, I had to eat a small amount of the suspect ingredient, wait 20 minutes then double the amount, repeat until I got to 16 times the original amount.

With the information on the website I could calculate my tolerance - about 2000 to 3000 micrograms per day.

Now I don't eat things that have a list of ingredients more than an inch long. I don't even have to read the names. I had a scary reaction once to a chicken pot pie that had over 100 ingredients. I've had my heart rhythm reset after 6 hours of beating at 165.

I don't have the allergy Razzle does. If you do, start a new topic and ask for information.
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