Sulfite sensitivity?

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

New Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/24/2011 9:58 AM (GMT -6)   
I am new to the forum and am in need of direction. For the past 1.5 years I have been itching. TERRIBLY!!!! The problem seems to be getting worse. It usually occurs on the bottom half of my legs and now it happens on each side of my arms. It is driving me crazy. I feel like I am losing my mind!!
I had an awful time of it about a week ago and again just yesterday. I went to my family doctor thinking that perhaps it was hormonal imbalance or thyroid issue. He did complete blood work and said everything looks great.
So, now I am wondering, is this a food allergy?
I have just started a food diary so it is too soon to see a pattern of probable trigger foods. Here are some of my symptoms:
Sometimes I get lip swelling (this happened in March after eating out)
Extreme itching, prickly, creepy crawly sensations on lower legs and arms
Inner ear (just one side) feels like it won't "pop" occasionally
Anxiousness/Irritablity especially when itching
I do not drink much alcolhol but Friday I had a German style beer and my feet felt overwhelmingly HOT (connection?)
As a youth and teenager, I had EXTREME eczma on my hands that went away mysteriously in my 20's. (connection?)
I am also very allergic to SULPA meds--swell horribly and get hives upon hives!
I am an otherwise healthy 40 year old female. If anyone has any suggestions or has symptoms similar to mine, I would love to hear from you.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 5/24/2011 6:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Does sound like a sulfite allergy... Have you read the posts by Alice? She came up with a list of foods she found with sulfite in them. She's allergic to sulfites.
Here's the thread where she talked with someone with the same allergies.
I hope it helps. She may see your post and respond to you.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5022
   Posted 5/24/2011 7:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Laurensmom24 -

Yes, it can take months to come up with a suspect list of food intolerances. And then it takes more time to break down the meals and find the individual food triggers.

I've posted numerous times, an so have others. If you go to the search box at the top of the page and put in sulfite or sulfite allergy or sulfite sensitivity or food journal, you will come up with a bunch of information.

Do you have any more foods that you know you react to?

Your reaction sounds more like a true allergy than a sensitivity, but maybe you could describe it further. It is possible to have a sulfite allergy, not just the sensitivity (which is still bad enough). I would recommend seeing a really experienced allergist to get some help. With your reaction it would be dangerous to do a food challenge without being in a doctors care. There's no accepted test, and I would not recommend so much as touching any form of sulfite without extreme dilution and in a hospital of doctor's office with emergency equipment available.

My allergist has seen sulfite sensitivity before, but a few of my docs don't believe in it. I've even been given things containing sulfite when hospitalized when I asked not to have them. Once I was able to control my reaction with Benadryl. I've been in the ER having to have my heart stopped and restarted to control the arrhythmia I can get. So sulfite is nothing to fool with or take for granted. And I don't even have a true allergy, just an intolerance!

If you google sulfite allergy or sulfite sensitivity you will find all sorts of lists of foods containing sulfite. The problem is that for most of us it takes a certain amount of the substance, and it has to be in certain forms, for us to react. A lot of foods listed do have sulfite - grapes for instance - but it takes quite a few grapes to set me off. Gelatin, on the other hand, triggers my reactions - upset stomach, then gastric reflux, leading to tachycardia - if I eat a small serving. I even have problems with injected medications with gelatin - very small amounts.

Some people are sensitive to sulfites in lotions, detergents, etc. There's a link to housemouse's website on Housemouse has quite a story about her sulfite skin problems. The no sulfite website is a free book that shows you how to calculate how much sulfite is in different foods and beverages.

But first things first. Lets find out if you do have an allergy.

New Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/24/2011 8:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Joy and Alcie:
I REALLY appreciate the replies and understanding. I have started a bland diet and am now keeping a food journal. I am even wondering about the coffee I drink. I like a robust brew--unusually strong. I have made the decision to cut this out starting tomorrow. I am willing to try anything at this point and I never thought that I would give up coffee!!!! tongue   I purchased liquid B12 today as I read this might help with symptoms. Has anyone found this eaffective?
It's hard to believe that an "itch" can cause so much distress. The swelling is concerning to me because although it has occured only on lips and feet, where will it happen next? Throat? That could be life threatening.
I know this will be a long journey. Up to this point, I have really eaten anything and everything. So....I am not sure what me "trigger" foods are, if this is indeed a sulfite problem. I am starting here because it makes sense since I have a problem with ingesting sulpha meds that also cause similiar but worse symtoms.
I will surely take a look at the recommended web sites.
Thank you so much.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5022
   Posted 5/26/2011 9:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Look up your liquid vitamin! Many liquid concoctions, meds and vitamins, contain preservatives. You have to find the "inactive ingredients," many of which are NOT so inactive. I can't take liquid Benadryl for this reason. I don't tolerate Liqui-gel meds either. Don't add vitamins until you find out what your trigger foods are. Biotin is loaded with sulfite in a bad form.

Bland does not mean that you will tolerate the food. I don't tolerate maccaroni or other pastas, even plain. I am developing an intolerance to wheat.

Seasonings, especially pepper, garlic, onion should be off your food list while you are investigating it.

White rice should be OK, also lamb, pears and maybe chicken. I have problems with beans or all types, tofu and the like.

New Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/26/2011 7:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Alcie, (and of course anyone else reading)
Thanks so much for your helpful replies. I came across a potential solution while doing research. HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE--I fit the profile like a poster child!!!!! tongue   It is remarkable how my symptoms I have that fit this profile. Knowing what it feels like to have had hives, I even mentioned to family members that my itchiness feels like it is followed with a "burst" of histamine (warm, spreading under the skin) even before I read about it today.
It might explain the lip swelling with crab and the intense hot feeling I felt in my feet after drinking a wheat beer Friday night. (I hardly ever have a drink so I had nothing to compare it to.
I wrote down the histamine trigger foods and if my memory seves me right, I am guilty of eating most of them during times of itchy flare up. This Monday I began limiting my diet to plain cooked oats and plain cooked rice cereal in the hopes of cleaning myself out and then reintroducing other foods later. I was reasonably itch free with the exception of a few sensations for a couple of days. I was thinking that my problem was sulfites, so when I became very hungry last night, I thought that I could safely eat oranges.
riously enough, the itching came back and I itched all day today. I found that oranges are a No No if you are histamine sensitive. Has anyone heard of this? I would appreciate any and all insight.
Thanks so much for listening,

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5022
   Posted 5/26/2011 10:25 PM (GMT -6)   
You're doing your research well! Histamine sounds like a possibility. All you need now is a list of histamine releasing foods to avoid. I have to avoid histamine releasing medications because of fibromyalgia and post-polio.

It's interesting that you should be able to take vitamin C supplements, but ask an allergist for sure. There are other food sources for C than citrus.

Keep the food journal going! It will come in handy when you need to go back and check if you were OK with a certain food. After you find foods to avoid and are successful in getting your symptoms under control, I still wouldn't do much with the "challenge tests" that some websites advocate. Your symptoms are too severe. In fact you should get some guidance from a good allergist.

I carry a list of foods I have to avoid with me. I use a clear plastic zipper container that had a pillowcase in it. It fits sheets of paper folded in half. I also carry a bright yellow credit card size card I made with ALLERGIES typed in sideways print listing my severe allergies (sulfite and some meds and sunflower seeds) and my medications on the other side. I keep it in my credit card section of my wallet. You might even need to consider a medic alert allergy bracelet.

Remember you can have more than 1 allergy. If a food doesn't seem to fit, just put it on another list until you figure out if there's something more going on.
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Thursday, August 16, 2018 8:16 PM (GMT -6)
There are a total of 2,993,476 posts in 328,044 threads.
View Active Threads

Who's Online
This forum has 161228 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, Livefreeee.
297 Guest(s), 9 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
GreenBeans, trekkar, BuckeyeSDH, Girlie, Pratoman, F8, three 5's and a jack, Jack & Diane, UC since 98