Post nasal drip, asthma and allergies tied to sulfite intolerance

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Joëlle
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Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 5/22/2014 9:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi I am a new member and want to share this info with you about my husband: post nasal drip for over thirty years, allergies (supposedly from pollens, dust mites and cats ) and finally asthma, taking the usual meds ( cortisone, asthma sprays... ) until we discovered what triggered it all was partly dairy products but mostly his high sensitivity to SULFITES. We changed our diet over a year ago, something very difficult because basically it means you have to prepare everything yourself and avoid any treated dried fruit ( apricots are the worst) , and even certain cosmetics, to name just a few of our constraints. Well, last year he had his first asthma-free summer in over twenty years, in spite of having to cut our oversized yard and breathing dust and floating pollen. No more medication as long as we stay clear of any suspicious products. The problem is, sulfites seem to be hidden in most prepared foods. There are other sites that will explain sulfites in detail. Anyway, as I said I just wanted to share this information because changing your diet for a more natural one is really worth a try.

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4948
   Posted 5/24/2014 2:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I never before heard of asthma and regular pollen allergy symptoms being caused by sulfites. Mostly the reactions seem to be migraines or stomach and throat symptoms. How did you go about figuring out that was the trigger?

Joëlle
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 5/25/2014 5:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Alcie
You asked how we found out my husband's intolerance. It was totally by accident. Last year, an osteopath noticed his swollen eyes and bloated stomach, said it might be gluten and / or dairy intolerance and suggested he started a gluten and dairy free diet. After some reluctance, we decided to give it a try. Since we used to have bread, cheese and wine at the same time, we also stopped the wine. After three weeks, my husband started "unbloating" and feeling better and then noticed that his asthma was subsiding. However there were days when he'd still go to bed with a tightness in his chest or wake up with swollen eyes and we couldn't figure out why until we made the connection: wine = sulfites. We googled "swollen eyes and wine " and found a site, holdthesulfites.com, where a lot of the described symptoms applied to him. Further research showed us how widely sulfites are used in the food industry and even though I cooked most of our meals, I was using ingredients that were a problem, such as vinegar (I have since switched to rice vinegar), corn starch, certain spice mixes, shell fish, and others. I am not a doctor, but all I know is that after a year of trial and error, and switching to unprocessed, untreated, natural ingredients, his post nasal drip and allergies have really gone away. I am only guessing that before his body was on overload, in a state of constant inflammation and couldn't fight the allergens brought by pollens and so on. This is only a testimony of what has happened to us. I am hoping that some day the medical field will look into this . In theory, only 2% of the population is allergic to sulfites. I suspect that a lot more people are affected although not really allergic. You might ask: why doesn't he get tested ? Well, he could but we live in France and there is only one hospital here doing that kind of test and it is a six hour drive... In any event, it is a well established fact that anyone will benefit from homemade food as opposed to ready-made. So I highly recommend it !

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4948
   Posted 5/25/2014 3:31 PM (GMT -7)   
There isn't really a test for sulfites that I know of that works, or at least is "approved."

Bread here in the USA is usually sulfited unless it states specifically "preservative free." If you make it yourself it's clean.

Cheese, yummy hard cheeses especially, contain sulfite.

There are a LOT of threads on sulfites on this forum. You can use the search box at the top of the page.

Your husband can still have other problems. I'm sensitive to sulfites, also lactose intolerant. My stomach isn't happy with bread or anything made from wheat either. It's possible to acquire all these allergies and/or sensitivities with age. I'm going to stop wheat for a couple of weeks to see if it helps with my lack of energy.

Joëlle
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 5/25/2014 11:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Alcie
Well there is that "challenge test" you have mentioned in one of your posts. And that's what they do in the hospital I talked about. But I don't see the need for it. Since my husband is feeling great, taking no more antihistamines and no more asthma spray-- when he had been warned he would have to increase his dosage as the years went on-- we will just continue on the path of safe diet. We are lucky that his level of tolerance his manageable. But we know right away when there are sulfites in what he eats: itchiness, swollen eyelids (one in particular) and asthma later on.

What I find annoying though is that the lists of safe foods varies from one site to the next and I assume that is because everybody reacts differently or maybe because the foods we buy is not made the same way... When in doubt I write to the company that processes it, and they usually reply.

Since you are definitely the expert on sulfites on this forum, I have a question: what can one eat on a plane to avoid sulfites ?

Joëlle
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 5/25/2014 11:21 PM (GMT -7)   
P-S : it turns out that all of us in our family have benefited from avoiding lactose and gluten. I am not going to write the list of our former ailments here but they have gone away. As long as you eat other starches you will be fine. I now cook with rice, buckwheat, chestnut, chickpea, teff, millet flour. I only use one specific brand of corn and potato starch which according to the manufacturer were not processed with sulfites. So our diet is a lot more varied. But beware: baking without gluten is tricky. It has taken me over a year to master a few recipes , and I am still learning !

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4948
   Posted 5/26/2014 7:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Joelle, but I am not THE expert. I have only the sensitivity to sulfite. What your husband has sounds like the true allergy, far more serious. A couple of others know this side of sulfite better.

One good reference is http://www.learningtarget.com/nosulfites/index.htm
Rick explains how foods are processed, how to calculate how much is in foods and how much a person tolerates. You can email him to discuss your findings.

I'm interested in knowing what brands of starches you have found to be sulfite-free. They may not be available here. I'll definitely do some searching. Thanks so much for the tip!

Joëlle
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 5/26/2014 9:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Alcie, actually I came across Rick's site last year already and it was helpful. I even printed out the page "knowing the demons" to have a better idea what to avoid at first. We have since talked about the sulfite problem to our family doctor -- a very nice man anyway-- but all he had to say was "yes, that can happen". We are sooo disappointed with the medical world; another symptom (seems there were so many!!!) was teary eyes and every time we made a mention of it the only answer was "allergies" and let's treat the symptoms, not the cause.
The brand I use for corn and potato starch is "Bioculinar" made in the Netherlands and sold in France and also in the U.K. I think. Let me know if you find something similar in the U.S.

Joëlle
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 6/2/2014 10:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello again

My husband is going to the States for a couple of months and we need to know what brand names are safe as far as spices are concerned. And can he use arrow-root instead of corn starch ?
Thank you

Joelle

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4948
   Posted 6/3/2014 3:10 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm not sure about arrowroot. Housemouse says she uses it instead of corn starch. I'd avoid everything processed or in restaurants with any thickener - gravy, sauces. Read labels!

I tried to find the brand you mentioned. I don't think it's available here in the US.

He should have a credit card-size card in his wallet with his allergies, meds, anything else that will fit. I made one out of yellow card stock. I used sideways type font for the header. I keep the template on the computer and make changes when needed. I keep the card in my top card slot where it stands out and would be noticed if I couldn't speak.

When in doubt search the name of the product and the word sulfite in your smart phone or computer. It's amazing how fast you get results.
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