The Symptoms

So what’s the big deal?   What could sulfites do to you anyway?  I’m still figuring out symptoms (some of which I thought were “just the way I am”), but here is my list so far:

  • Throat swelling
  • Light headedness
  • Variable blood pressure (I have gone from 190/110 to 117/74 in under 30 minutes)
  • Asthma
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Water retention
  • Joint swelling
  • Arrhythmia
  • Tachycardia
  • Lethargy
  • Flushing (primarily ears and hands)
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Extreme irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Dyslexia
  • Sense of doom
  • Headaches
  • Exhaustion
  • Extreme thirst
  • Sinus congestion
  • Post nasal drip
  • Rashes that resemble acne and/or severe sunburn
  • Inability to focus eyes
  • Muscle cramping/inability to properly contract muscles
  • Muscle knot beneath left shoulder blade
  • Pain/tightness radiating through chest
  • Hives on tongue/swollen tongue
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Trouble speaking
  • Trouble breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Paleness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Forgetting to breathe
  • Difficulty sleeping on left side
  • Noticeable heartbeat
  • Deep, bruise like circles under eyes
  • Tinnitus

These are the symptoms I get with every reaction.  Yes, that’s right – this is not a laundry list of possible symptoms – these are the exact symptoms I get – every time.

I have also noticed that there seems to be a connection between sulfites and several chronic conditions – namely rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s syndrome, asthma, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. As near as I can tell, there are two kinds of sulfite sensitivities – a true allergy and metabolic dysfunction.  If you have an allergy you will usually get symptoms pretty quickly and have allergic antibodies floating around your system. The hard part here is that if it gets to be life threatening and you need to use an epi pen, you have a problem – epi pens are preserved with – you guessed it – sulfites. Benadryl can be effective, but you need to be careful with what other ingredients are in it – gelatin, sweeteners, preservatives. Tread carefully. Now, if you are like me and have a sensitivity, the allergy meds won’t do a thing for you. This type of sensitivity means that your body isn’t able to properly process sulfites. Most people have an enzyme called sulfite oxidase that can turn sulfites into sulfates which are not toxic to the body the way sulfites are. Not people with sulfite sensitivity – the sulfites aren’t converted and you get a toxic dose, which leads to all the symptoms. Now there are much more scientific explanations than this, but basically when I get a reaction I think to myself – toxic overload.

188 Responses to The Symptoms

  1. Joëlle says:

    Hello Tracy,

    We have just found out by accident that my husband (aged 61) is sulphite intolerant — which explains why he has been battling with asthma and eye swelling for years now. We live in France, so bye-bye bread + wine + cheese ! Unfortunately, no doctor that we have seen has ever made the connection. So for the past month we have been left to gather information here and there on the net — and yours has proved very useful, thank you for this blog.

    Now I have a question: you mention coconut as a potential problem; does that mean only shredded coconut or coconut milk as well ? I have seen all natural coconut milk sold in organic food stores around here.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Joelle – Welcome! I am sorry your husband has been struggling, but glad you have found the reason for his issues! far as I can tell it is the dried coconut flakes. I have ad coconut water and used coconut oil with no problems and I know many people who have coconut milk without a problem. I have not experimented much with it because I just don’t like it, but it really seems to be the dried stuff or the kind with added ingredients that seems to be problematic.

      • RaeC says:

        Dried coconut is definitely the issue here. This is actually where my allergy started. I always thought I was allergic to the coconut itself until I had some fresh by accident. Dried coconut was still allowed to use sulfites even when there was a ban. I’m now starting to see toxic overload with much smaller doses.

        • nadia says:

          Thanks guys,
          I bought some desiccated coconut. I didn’t even think to check the label.
          I did only after eating. To my shock and horror.
          Preservative 220.
          Ok I did a little research. ID Sulphites!
          then as my tongue tingled, and my tongue and back, sides of the mouth ‘irritated’ and my throat scratchy, and now the headache … I did a more specific search … and here it is!
          2 teaspoons and bingo! What if I was a child? Could they ever explain this?
          Ok it’s Coles brand … back it goes!
          Then put on Desiccated Coconut PUS Preservatives and write them LARGE!

          • Rachel says:

            What about coconut sugar? Does that seem to bother anyone? And how about coconut yogurt?

          • Tracy says:

            I do just fine with coconut sugar, but I have not tried coconut yogurt – it sounds interesting!

  2. Pingback: How do you know if you are intolerant to sulphites?

    • Tracy says:

      Well, there is not a definitive test for an intolerance. It is not like an allergy where they can test for histimines. Most people I know did it through an elimination diet. Many people have multiple sensitivities which makes it harder to diagnose and an elimination diet will give you answers as to what you react to specifically.

      • Diane says:

        Hi all,
        I found out I was “sensitive” to sulfates but process of elimination and looking at what those things I ate had in common….sulfates every time! and it is in virtually everything….one post I read about throat swelling, associated with sulfates, made me realize that the candy bar I ate recently made my throat swell, not enough to create a “serious” reaction but enough to make me pay attention. It’s happened before…..bummer….

        thanks for listening,

      • Karen says:

        Hi, there is a definitive test for intolerance. I have just been diagnosed which is both a relief and a blow, as it looks like it’s going to be a real pain to try and eliminate it from my world. In the UK there are more products that allow sulphites than the US. Salads both in restaurants and bagged varieties in supermarkets also contain it here and it’s incredibly difficult to ascertain from labelling what does and does not contain it in many products. Very glad I found your blog as ploughing through the many sites of vague lists has proved really frustrating.

        • Tracy says:

          Hi Karen – please share more about the test – I have not found one in the US, so would love to hear more!! Thank you!

          • Marian says:

            Hi! Thank you for your website! It’s such a relief to read there are other people who have to negotiate with restaurants! Restaurants have to declare allergens including sulfites, but I have found that they have no idea and have been served prawns with mayonnaise! About the test: I was diagnosed by an allergy specialist (dermatologist) through a stick test (dutch: plaktest) where i had small stickers with allergens on my back for three days. It’s not widely available here but I was lucky enough to stumble into this brilliant doctor’s office who explained all of my health complaints.

          • Tracy says:

            Marian, it is so lucky that you found a diagnosis. It is definitely hard in restaurants. Please let me know if you need any support or help! Welcome.

  3. ange says:

    hi Joelle, sorry to hear about your husband. On the upside, if you are a food lover, you still get to eat lots of great things, and enjoying cooking them from scratch.

    I’ve had trouble with canned coconut cream – I use it in Thai cooking a lot – have found one brand made here in the Pacific thats okay (Ceres). The process of extracting coconut seems to involve sulfite in almost all cases. I think this is happening to nuts more and more too, and some seeds.
    I found a very nice French Wine that has no discernable sulphites, the vineyard is Domaine Viret, I’m sure you can find some there.

  4. Elegia More says:

    you can be tested for sodium sulfite intolerance via an ALCOT food and chemical intoleance test (co is in Miami). Also note that I have had Kounis Syndrome and have had two heart attacks from sulfite and other mast cell activation events.,-Pathogenesis-and-Treatmen.pdf
    Great blog – thank you!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi, Elegia – this is good to know! I have heard of some tests, but also heard that they are not always effective – I am going to check it out!


  5. shaunamom says:

    I just wanted to say – if I haven’t before – how much I love this site, especially for your list of symptoms. I have some of the same ones, some different ones, but I think you are the ONLY site on the web right now that lists the symptoms that so many of us actually HAVE.

    Otherwise, all one can find is ‘asthma and eventually anaphylaxis,’ and there is so, so much more than that, as you already know.

    Every time I meet someone who is looking for answers and thinks it might be sulfite sensitivity, I ALWAYS make sure they have this link. I tell them there might be other places that have a more technical discussion of what sulfite sensitivity might be, or some place set up by a medical doctor, but for information that has been more relevant to me and the other sulfite allergic folks I know, and that matches our experiences more accurately, and that matches the lists of foods that we can and can’t eat, they should come here.

    So, just…thanks so much for keep this site up. It does a lot of good, truly.

    • Tracy says:

      Well – thanks so much! I am glad it helps! I almost lost heart when my website crashed a few months back and it was going to take sooo much work to rebuild it, but I got some concerned emails, so I decided to forge ahead and rebuild. It is great to know it was worth it!

      I really want to hear what your other symptoms are – I will totally add a section of “other symptoms” with things I don’t have – we all react differently, and some of your symptoms that are different from mine could absolutely help someone. Please let me know!!

      Thanks again!

      • Angela says:

        Hi, just come across your site… I’m having official allergy testing in a couple of weeks but my GP & I believe I’m intolerant / allergic to sulfites. My symptom is odd.. A really, really itchy, tingly nose.. I feel like I want to tear my nose off my face! So far, triggers are: wine, beer, some nuts, loose leaf green tea, grapefruit, some coffee shop coffees (but not all) and mango. I’ve been prescribed cetrazine but sometimes it doesn’t work! I’ve not seen anywhere else that others have the itchy nose!

        • Annie says:

          I share your itchy tingly nose reaction to consuming sulfites. It’s annoying and lasts for hours. It also feels as if my nasal passages are slightly swollen. I didn’t realize that grapefruits contain natural sulfites until today.

          • Sandi says:

            I finally found an allergist that diagnosed me with sulfite intolerenc and I’m learning. All dried products (spices, fruits) contain sulfites Decafinate coffee doesn’t due to processing. Many coffee beans are dried in the sun…vodka is still good. The sylicilite diet comes closest to helping stay away from sulfites but it’s still trial and error. My tongue, when sulfites pass over it and is frozen (sorbet) feels like a knife is cutting it. That’s what’s started my search for answers. Then on a holiday I was in a cabin that had its water come from a bore that smelled like rotten eggs. We only showed in it but I got really sick with kidney problems. It was the start of a year of all the above symptoms until I found medication that worked.

  6. tammy says:

    After I had a sever reaction to a sulpha drug in 2009 i noticed i couldnt have red wine anymore or dried fruit because i would feel a little itchy after. So i tried to avoid it where i could. i obviously need to learn more so im here looking for guideance while i transition. i had 3 forkfulls of pie at work and they took me to emerg where i had an anaphlactic reation followed by another 3 hours later as they pumped me full over and over with iv benadryl and epi. it ended up being an 18 hour stay in the trauma room. now i get reactine and prednisone (50mg!) for 5 days and a shiny epi pen of my very own. i thought just wine..soem fruits…pkg goods…but apparently tomato sauce etc…any advice im afraid to eat anything but i just moved and my kitchen isn’t set up so im just not eating. i have a ham steak in the fridge the pahramacist (whos has sever allergies all her life) told me now to try it right yet bc im still in the 48 hr window. im so scared to try anything or to go out of my environment. i better learn how to make some fun stuff to with a teenage kid. luckily she was at her dads and missed the show. any help is appreciated thanks.

    • tammy says:

      pardon the spelling still pretty dopey…

    • Eileen Freeman says:

      Sorry it was so bad for you. I found that all fruit and veg and flavourings, colourings etc cause swelling and redness for me affecting my breathing. Phenols can be problematic too. I eat sprouted chickpeas Dahl, homemade burgers, not pork. Chicken must be organic and skinned before I cook it. I make chapatis as they don’t need yeast. Flour from vegetables such as cornflour or potato flour are no good either. I use rice flour and buckwheat flour mixed together. Baking powder no, instead use bicarbonate of soda as cream of tartar comes from grape fermentation in the wine making industry. And on it goes. I eat Nairn gluten free oatcakes as they contain safe, natural ingredients (in Scotland), Read lots of books to learn about it. Good Luck

  7. tammy says:

    i have so many questions. Im scared to eat anything…. 🙁

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Tammy -It can be really overwhelming and it does take a while to figure out where the reactions are coming from and in the meantime it can feel like you can’t eat anything. So – ask away, whatever questions you have! Don’t eat the ham steak – pork has naturally occurring sulfites. My safest go to foods are chicken and avocado. You have to be sure that the chicken doesn’t have that little soaker pad underneath it. I get mine either from the farm or if I have to go to Whole Foods, I get it out of the case. I usually just use sea salt and a little olive oil to cook it.


      • Maureen says:

        Hi Tracy, Good advice about the pads under the chicken. I heard they were made with sulfites! After 25 years of suffering with severe headaches and migraines, I just figured out sulfites are my problem. I was taking MSM because I thought it helped headaches and reduced inflammation. Well, I raised the dose and one emergency room trip later, I realized sulfites was my problem. MSM is sulfur which is in the body naturally but it turns to sulfites. I knew I could never drink wine but never put it together that there were sulfites are in foods as well. I’m on a quest to figure this out. Thanks!

        • Tracy says:

          Hi Maureen! I am glad you figured out this much and are on the road to feeling better! It has taken me a lot to figure out exactly what I react to. I have figured out that I react to things in the same families – I can’t eat anything in the lily, rose, allium or brassiceae families, which is a relief to know as I don’t have to try out all those individual foods and see if I react. Let me know if you have any questions – it can be a long road to figure out how to manage your sensitivity!


  8. I contemplate why you branded this particular posting,
    “The Symptoms | Hold the Sulfites”. Either way I
    really appreciated it!Thanks for the post-Claudia

    • Tracy says:

      Hi there –
      these are the symptoms that I get with my reactions – other folks do get other reactions, and I tried to include an explanation of those ans well and how we all do react differently. Let me know if there is anything I can clarify!


  9. gimpyKat says:

    Thanks for your website, as I am trying to go into a hardcore sulfite free diet. I went to a neurologist who thinks I have fibromyalgia. He is refering me to a rheumatologist. Needless to say I have a lot of problems. I was allergy tested about a year and a half ago and found out that I’m allerigc to onions and pineapples. I have been staying away from orange juice, because it puts sores in my mouth. Lemon juice in my food gives me horrible heart burn (nothing else does this to me). Yet I seem to be able to eat pineapple, but not the juice. I have been avoiding milk for years, because if the indigestion and recently soy milk became so bad that I can’t handle it either. So I’m going to try no sulfites for 4 or 5 weeks, so far I feel like I’m going to starve. So thanks again for your website. All else fails, at least I’ll loose some weight.

  10. Tracy says:

    Every time I figure out what fruits and veggies I react to, I do a search in Wikipedia to find out what family that food is from and I have discovered for me that I will react to whole sub families, so it has cleared up many of my symptoms that I was getting from foods that were supposed to be “safe”. Might be worth a try!!


  11. Please include me on any new posts & follow up comments by my e-mail.
    Thank you.

  12. I didn’t say “your comment is awaiting moderation.” I was only looking for a way to receive any new posts and comments since I didn’t see a “like” button to post to my Facebook page….


    • Tracy says:

      Hi Carol – that means that I approve all comments to keep out the spam, so you won’t see your comment immediately until I manually go in and approve it. it just means your comment is waiting for me to get to it!


  13. Cheryl says:

    Just came home from the hospital again…… I thought any fruit or vegetable, organic, was ok. My allergist said, anything that can sit on a shelf for any length of time is a no no. So, anything that can spoil quickly, or you cook yourself is probably ok. Usually it is an accumulated amount that tips you over. Of course you never know when your close until your over. I had stomach upset at work after eating plain bakery bagel. Latter that night I ate something that sent me over. This one was bad. Started with gastro problems, diarrhea,violent vomiting. Light headed,staggering around trying to get my epi. Located it sat down gave it, then blacked out for a minute. Daughter found me and called 911.Going on a 4 day vacation to Washington DC, and am so anxious. What natural foods fruits, veg, have sulfites in them. Thank you so much. You are the only available resource that is useful to help someone live with this challenge.

    • Tracy says:

      Oh, Cheryl, that sounds awful! i am so sorry you are going through that! There are many natural foods that have sulfites and/or are high in sulfur. The bagel probably had what is called “dough conditioners” in it, which would be high in sulfites. Also, the flour was likely bleached with sulfites and it may have had eggs in it, which also are high in sulfites. Anything in the lily family will be a problem. This includes all alliums like garlic and onions as well as broccoli and cauliflower. For me, I cannot do anything in the rose family, which includes blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, almonds and apples.

      Travel is very difficult for me – I end up packing most of my food. Check out my list under “You can’t eat everything” for a list of trigger foods. Also, be careful with the epi pen. I have not heard of one that is not preserved with sulfites.

      Let me know how you fare on the trip!


      • cheryl says:

        Well I managed in DC, but very stressed. Sometimes restaurants, assured me there were no sulfites in the hamburger or chicken. Only to come back in a few minutes to say they were not sure. So when I did eat, it was with much anxiety. At one point I wanted to come home early because the threat of another episode, in front of hundreds of people, became overwhelming. I was talked off the cliff, and went to Trader Joes, to have safe foods in my room in case I couldn’t be sure a restaurant was safe. Did not eat much of the food I purchased, but having it, lessened my anxiety. Glad I had the courage to go. Great to be home and feel safer. Although, last episode was at home. Thanks, everyone for comments and advice. Grateful, Grateful

        • Tracy says:

          Cheryl – Glad you had a successful trip! It can be so stressful! Congrats on finding a way to manage your anxiety and taking control. Great job!


  14. Karen says:

    Knowing you have a sulfite sensitivity seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. Like so many here I have known and yet not been aware of the depth of the problem. This site has been the most comprehensive and informative that I have found. Thank you so much for sharing what would take me months, if not years to discover. My Doctors, in their frustration, have been more blaming than helpful, even though they KNOW about this sensitivity. I call it a sensitivity since my allergist informed me that this is not a TRUE allergy. He does admit that it can and nearly HAS killed me. Whatever it is called, it is serious and this site is a blessing to those of us looking for information that makes sense. Thank you!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Kare – always happy to share – and I am still learning myself! I am always grateful to those who share their hard earned knowledge (and wisdom) here, so jump in any time and share your tale. We all learn and get healthier together!


  15. Joëlle says:

    Hi Cheryl,
    Sorry to hear about your reactions. It will be hard for you to travel “normally”. You definitely need to pack your own prepared food. You also need to know which natural foods trigger your symptoms, so that you can avoid them or not eat too many within close periods of time. For my husband’s multiple intolerances / allergies, (basically sulfites, gluten, dairy products and any kind of added preservatives) when we travel we take homemade salads (using rice, lentils, quinoa, tomatoes, avocado with dressing = rice vinegar + olive or sesame oil) , rice cakes, the fruit and meat / fish that he can tolerate (and YES we have been able to find sulfite free shrimp here in France, but only frozen, and in a natural foods store), and home baked desserts. But our trips haven’t lasted more than a day recently, so if we had to go for longer than that, I would make a list of what is OK and focus on that, rather than what we can’t have. We have learned to be creative over the past months and the result is: NO MORE ASTHMA ! With time you will learn to cope, don’t despair.

  16. Pamela says:

    It took me /forever/ to figure out what was going on with me. I made several trips to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack; no matter what I did, I couldn’t lose any weight, in fact I had been gaining at a pretty even pace over 20 years; I was exhausted and fuzzy-brained all the time; and during one trip to a med center, the doctor asked me why I wasn’t managing my asthma. Wha…? Along with these, I had frequent “flushing” spells and would have times when I was afraid I wouldn’t reach a bathroom in time. Constant ringing in my ears. Not too mention one of most worrying symptoms, apart from the head, shoulder blade, and chest pains, which was “the drugged state.” (my DH’s description) After certain meals I would almost pass out like I had been drugged.

    I first went off gluten at the recommendation of a friend with celiac. Things improved. I found a forum, and someone recommended I go off corn/corn-derived products (yeaaaah…not too easy). I did, and things improved. Not 100%, but better. And then I stumbled on blog post (sorry…lost to the mists of time) discussing this woman’s sulfite problem. Her symptoms and their timing were just like mine.

    I went off sulfites and … wow! It was like a new me. No headaches, no GERD, no flushing, no drugged state…and…wait for it…I started dropping weight. Like 1 to 2 pounds a day.

    That was a couple of months ago. I have stalled on the weight and had some milder symptoms because I have been cheating little bits here and there over the past two weeks. I wake up with a stuffed nose, my tinnitus is extra loud, and my weight is slowing creeping up. Time to go cold turkey again.

    I have found that I can have the cucumber rolls at my local sushi place, so that’s one place I can go out to eat and feel “normal” … Ha-Ha 😉 Maybe others could, too. The veggie rolls aren’t quite as exciting as the California rolls and so on, but they are yummy and allow me to go out to lunch again.

    Great site! Thanks!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Pamela! Welcome – glad you figured out your issues and are feeling better. I know all too well the symptoms you describe.Let me know if you have any questions!


    • Donna says:

      Wow, you’re the first person who has said “the drugged state”. That happened to me twice and what I’ve now discovered was probably just a severe reaction. Both times it was drinking someone’s homemade wine. Just one glass and it was like someone had put some weird drugs in it and the feeling lasted for hours.

  17. Joëlle says:

    Hi Pamela
    Welcome to the club =) ! Like you, it was only thanks to blogs (in particular this great one where people share information) and forums that we realized my husband’s main problem. Like you, he started off going gluten free (but also dairy free), which eased his symptoms (asthma, swollen and watery eyes, profuse sweating, migraines) and helped him shed weight. Like you, we are still struggling to find out exactly what foods contain sulfites. Like you, sometimes he can’t take it any more and cheats… ^^
    I have a question: are you still banning gluten from your diet ? It would make life easier for him if he could have the occasional slice of “real” bread — you see, we live in France and over here a lot of bakeries make it from supposedly untreated flour.
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Tracy says:

      I stopped with gluten as well – I find I feel kind of crummy when I eat it, but it is not a normal “reaction” – I would love to eat it occasionally again myself!I have been reading a lot about wheat lately and it seems like it is not the same thing that our great grandparents were eating and I think it is just not really digestible or good for us. That being said – I am working on some gluten free bread recipes that I will post soon.

  18. Esther says:

    Hi Tracy. In your list of symptoms posted above you mention “difficulty sleeping on left side”. Could you tell me what that means, please? My son, who has had a lot of issues with food allergies and chronic fatigue, says he has pain around his heart when he sleeps on his left side. Just wondering if it is the same thing you get. Thanks!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Esther – Yes, it is just like that – I also feel my heart beating against my ribcage in a very uncomfortable way when I sleep like that.

  19. Eileen Freeman says:

    Thank you so much. I felt I was sensitivve to everything. Reading this makes sense of it all.

    I am celiac and find I need an egg to give texture to the bread otherwise it cools so hard, like a rough stone. Are all flours a problem? Amaranth flour made from the seeds? Buckwheat flour seems to be okay and I mix it with rice flour – would egg replacer be ok? I make a thick pancake or blini with it. after first whisking the egg whites till stiff – egg replacer can do this, I think.

    Would love to hear your comments.
    Many, many thanks… someone understands

    • Eileen Freeman says:

      P.S. I have asthma, my cousin too, this was years ago, she said eating made her swell up… etc. same as me. Spending time near a coal fire (still found in Scotland) the next day I coughed so much and was so sensitive to everything.

      To all of you, keep trying!

  20. Sally Paton says:

    Hi Tracey
    Your symptoms are just like mine. I am now almost symptomless after I started treating my problem as a histamine overload. Sulphites act as a trigger to release histamine, and people like us lack the enzymes DAO and HMT to break it down. I used to be very sick and now I lead a very normal life. The treatment is straight forward, low histamine-low sulphite diet, antihistamines when needed and vitamin c. (It is a little more complicated. The devil is in the detail for instance some antihistamines make it worse. etc) If you are interested I can send you the list of food and drugs I avoid, and the medical background to it. I use the information from Janice Vickerstaff Joneja, a Canadian immunologist.
    I am really keen to find people the diet works for so I can use it in a study. It has been miraculous for me. Its not well understood in the medical world and I would like to make life easier for fellow sufferers. I am happy to converse via email. You know its hard to talk about in a few words, its intermittent and covers lots of body systems. You might like to read Laura Maintz and Natalija Novak’s article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007;85:1185-96 Histamine and histamine intolerance,especially look at figure 1a summary of histamine mediated symptoms..I got them all. You can find it on the web, or if you contact me I can send it to you.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Sally – I would definitely be interested in what you are doing to control your symptoms! I will email you privately – thanks for sharing, I am so excited to hear what you are doing!


    • sandra allen says:

      I would like your information, please. I have lots of allergies and a history of unexplained weight gain…that has added up to almost 100 lbs in a couple years. Last week I gained 14 lbs and have been exhausted around the clock. I have many of the listed symptoms, too. Thank you, Sandra

      • Tracy says:

        Hello Sandra –
        I am sorry you have been going through so much. I will email you later today to see what information you need.


    • Jenny says:

      Sally, thanks so much for this info. My symptoms are right on the list in the article. I was wondering if I could get a list of items that you avoid. More importantly what you eat for protein. Did you purchase any of the low histamine cook books?


      • Sally Paton says:

        HI Jenny
        You should read Dr Vickerstaff Joneja s Book called “Dealing with Food Allergies”
        It has a whole chapter on Histamines with food lists. It has a chapter on Sulphites (with food lists) as well. I actually find it very easy to eat well now I know what the core problem is. Its worth taking the time to work out your symptoms, which foods affect it. I am on a low histamine diet and a low sulphite diet. I eat beef, lamb, chicken, fish, some legumes, a little egg. BUT it is all very fresh. I buy it really fresh, I freeze it straight away, I thaw it just before I cook it. I freeze leftovers straight away. It doesn’t sit in my fridge. I am really careful about what I put on it. Nothing in a jar or a packet.
        It seems that everyone is different. You have to work it out for yourself. The better you get the easier it is to work out what is affecting you. For me it was the hidden sulphites that gave me the most grief. If it is histamine that is the problem, then anithistamines will hep like calarytine and zantac (together), as will avoiding histamine triggers and taking DAOsine with high histamine food.

    • stormyone says:

      Hi Sally,

      I would be deeply grateful if you could share your findings with me as well. I have been struggling with this for about 5 years now and could never connect the dots until this very day. I long had a sneaking suspicion that I might have a sulfite intolerance, but since I LOVE my white wine, I was in total denial until I started getting sicker and sicker every single time I indulged. Sometimes it would take me 3 days to recuperate fully. Then I started having asthmatic symptoms and now full blown asthma attacks. After reading all the foods that contain sulfites, it would appear that all you can eat is selected organic vegetables. This is totally unrealistic. HELP PLEASE!!

    • Lauren Fowler-Calisto says:

      Hi, Sally

      Can you please share your list of food and drugs you avoid.. After diagnosis of sulfite intolerance 5 years ago, some of my dietary changes have helped, but am now discovering the histamine, thyroid, and mast cell connection. Thank you for your contribution and work in this area.

  21. Stephanie says:

    Hi, I’ve started to have symptoms since I went to Cuba in April 2013. Doctors never found out what I had so she just assumed it was anxiety (I still don’t believe I have anxiety so I’m doing my own research). When I was in Cuba, it happened all of a sudden even before I finished eating. Went back to the hotel room and had heavy diarrhea, very dizzy, chest pressure, hard time breathing, felt like I was gonna vomit and like I was gonna faint, seing stars, both my arms were numb and tingly, flushed ears, cold hands and feet, shivers, then hot flashes. After that episode, this was happening EVERY time I was eating. Came back home and went to the ER twice thinking I was having a heart attack! Never found anything wrong with me. Lasted for several months before I decided to make an extensive list of everything I was eating which led me to think it was starch that made me react but then no. I was given a pump and GERD medication which helped, the pump was especially helpful when I had an episode. After research I thought it might be sulfites but haven’t had it checked yet (supposedly there is a test available here in Canada for intolerances to sulfites). Then everything stopped suddenly, 3 weeks later found out I was pregnant. Never started again while pregnant. I lost my baby in November and now the symptoms started back again in January. I will try to get the test done. I have found your website very interesting, makes me think that MAYBE, just maybe I’m not THAT crazy and really DO have weird symptoms caused by something physically wrong with me and not just mentally wrong.

    • Sally Paton says:

      If you can you should visit Dr Vickerstaff Joneja. She is a Canadian Immunologist and Dietician. Her own children have had allergic problems. She is smart and sympathetic and knowledgeable.
      I also had relief from symptoms while pregnant.

  22. Eileenfb says:

    You may well be sensitive to sulfites which cause us to react more strongly to salicylates. These two items are found in all fruit and vegetables.

  23. Hi my name is Lesley. From liverpool England glad tp have found your site I to am sulfite. Intolerant I am not asmatic but I get breathless and I also have burning mouth syndrome I have lost over a stone in weight and very Hungary at my wits end and depressed would love to know what to have for breakfast dinner and tea also what soft drinks and alcohol I could have welcome any advise please

  24. Joëlle R says:

    Hi Lesley

    Welcome aboard and don’t worry too much, with time things do get easier. This is what works for my husband: for breakfast he has tea, dates and almonds ( organic). During the day he doesn’t eat bread any more but rice cakes. I make our own baked desserts using organic flour, actually I make everything from scratch basically, no fancy salad dressings any more but oil ( olive or sesame, organic) and lemon juice or Japanese rice vinegar. I stay away from all canned foods when I go shopping except they only contain vegetables, water and salt . I hope you enjoy cooking (luckily I do) and trust me, homemade food tastes so much better! No soft drinks and no white sugar. Beware of “brown” sugar sometimes it’s just white sugar with caramel color, which contains sulfites. Read the labels ! He drinks scotch whiskey with no problems and recently I made flambéed bananas with rhum!
    Good luck, let us know how you are doing.

    • Hi joelle can you tell me what flour you use I have tried to get on your site but can’t get the translation ,just want recipie said for fairy cakes and biscuits I can’t tolerate b/powder it gives me burning mouth ,I feel I am taking two steps forward three steps back I have been using organic flour but react to the s/r thanks in advance ….

  25. Joëlle R says:


    I forgot a couple of things: my husband also can have cornflakes for breakfast ( again, organic). In any case, whenever we have doubts about the safety of the ingredients, we go on the manufacturer’s site and ask questions.

  26. Hi Joelle r thanks for getting back to me ,yes I do like cooking would be interested in baking I am desperate to put some weight on ,does he never have a sandwich any more are there any cook books and what does he put in his whiskey.what kind of rice cakes and are you in England I am going to go organic ,only just found internet after getting I pad so excuse my diction

  27. Hi Joelle r you say you bake do you use eggs I only eat eggs in baking as I don’t like them are they safe to use don’t know what I am doing any more

  28. Jenny says:

    Hi Tracy. I have recently diagnoised with asthma. I also have a handful of the symptoms on your list. I asked my allergist about possible sensitivity to sulfites and he didnt seem to want to entertain that idea. Instead he just insisted to stay on the Advair. I have been fairly sulfite free for about a week. My coughing, post nasal drip, phlegm production and general yuck feeling has worsened. Is that what happened on your detox? My doctor disagreed but made me take anitbiotics instead. I agreeed because I need to get well and get a good night sleep. Just wanted your thoughts…. Thanks

    • Tracy says:

      All of my sumptoms got worse during my detox and these days when I get an accidental dose the coughing, post nasal drip and phlegm are constant companions of mine. Sigh. have you tried a neti pot? I find that helps give me some relief.


  29. Joëlle R says:

    Hello Lesley
    Yes I do cook eggs, they don’t seem to be a problem for my husband. I understand that different people have different levels of tolerance. He doesn’t put anything special in his whiskey, only water (or ice cubes) and he only has one small glass a day at the most. He hasn’t really had sandwiches for a year and dearly misses them. I have made several attempts at baking gluten free “bread” but let’s face it it doesn’t taste the same as a “baguette”. (We are currently living in France). I regularly bake cookies, cake, muffins from scratch using either buckwheat, rice, chestnut flour, or a mix thereof, and usually include some potato starch from Bioculinar who have told me has no sulfites. I never use white sugar, only organic brown sugar. I cook lots of fresh vegetables, potatoes (never frozen or pre-cut), rice, millet, maize, buckwheat ( not his favorite ); meat is ok but be careful with packaged ground meat, as well as deli products. As for fish, again you need to read the package and contact the packaging company: was the fish frozen fresh or did they have to spray it in order to keep it looking fresh?
    I hope this is helpful.


    P-S I don’ t know of any cookbook that would address this problem. I just browse the net and try different things (usually organic and gluten free). In short, it’s not the food itself for the most part; it’s what is added to it so recipes sometimes need adjustments.

  30. Hi Joelle r thanks for replying its good thT I can still bake I don’t seem to have a problem with flour or eggs ,I have found out about the white sugar can you get icing sugar that’s ok I really need to put some weight on I didn’t know about suger before and I was making buttercream ,that upset me it wasn’t till I came across this web site I put 2 an 2 together I am eating home made chips now every one in my house hold very jealous .its stock cubes and gravy granules I am struggling with I can’t eat dry dinners any ideas

  31. C says:

    Hi, whisky is aged in old wine casks, so please
    be aware of this, I have doubled checked
    With various brands, I so miss this tipple.

  32. Hi all has anyone been on the web site (created for joy .com /tag/sulfite free/ it has some great recipies for cookies and banana sundae all sulfite free any body tried them are they as good as they sound ?need something sweet to eat .

  33. Can someone tell me if it’s ok to eat a leg of organic ham that you cook yourself ?and. Also is there a cream cheese any where please .

    • Tracy says:

      Pork has naturally occurring sulfites, so no you can’t eat that. I make my own cream cheese by straining yogurt through cheesecloth overnight. It is really delicious!

  34. Jenny says:

    Hi Tracy. I have been very strict eliminating sulfites for about 4 weeks. I feel like im over the detox but have not had an “ah ha” moment to ensure this is my problem. I do notice that I rarely blow my nose anymore though and my blood pressure seems to be lower. (I have not discontinued any asthma meds and remain on advair) Just wondering if you had a major decrease in symptoms or did it take longer to heal? Guess I may be a little impatient.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Jenny. I had a significant decrease in my symptoms after the initial detox, but it really took me another two years to discover all the “hidden” sulfites that I was getting. In that time I was reacting regularly and often severely, I just didn’t feel like I was dying 24/7. Lots of folks also have more than one sensitivity, so you could be dealing with multiple issues. Hang in there, you WILL figure it out!


  35. Kirk Marsh says:

    Hey Tracy! Wow, what a great website. I have been having issues for years with “something,” but I haven’t been able to nail it down. This seems to be the best match for what I have. About two years ago I stopped eating anything processed and went from having inflammation and pain throughout my entire body (for years!) to feeling almost normal in a matter of weeks. Is there a specific test I can have done to determine if sulfites might be the cause? Thank you very much! Kirk

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Kirk – I have heard varying reports on different testing, but not really heard of anything that anyone agrees is effective, except perhaps a stress test in which you intentionally ingest sulfites in the doctors office to see if you react – but I would NEVER suggest that – way too dangerous! I was diagnosed via an elimination diet, which pretty clearly pointed to the sulfites as the culprit. Perhaps you could try that? Also, I did a genetic test which indicated that I had the particular genetic mutations that pointed to an inability to process sulfites. It didn’t neccesarily mean that mutation was expressing, but in my case it clearly is! Good luck on your journey of discovery!


  36. Kirk Marsh says:

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. Once again this site is incredible and your dedication is apparent. I’ll be off to the lab to get those tests as soon as I can. Cheers, Kirk

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Kirk – Glad I could be of help. The genetic test I did was the 23andme and if you decide to go down that path, let me know and I can point you to several other services that will analyze the raw data, as 23andme no longer does that. It also led me to doing a hair mineral test, but that was more to figure out what to do as far as food and supplements to get better, not really to diagnose. Hope this helps!


  37. Ellen Doele says:

    Just curious–how many of you out there have found a connection between your multiple/sulphite intolerances and Candida? I was miserable, fighting multiples left and right, sulphites being the biggie! In July 2013 I tested at a Level 4 for Candida overgrowth at my allergist’s but didn’t know what that meant…. After several BAAAD reactions (to things other than sulphites) I decided I had to try something different! So in Feb. of this year I dug out the handout she given to me, took it to heart and proceeded to learn all I could about Candida overgrowth; surprisingly, I learned it’s at the heart of many people’s “sudden” intolerances to multiple foods and chemicals!
    It’s been a challenge! (I’m from the mid-west; there is little to no awareness on Candida in the medical community.) I had to learn most of it online and with the help of other Candida sufferers on support sites. Had to go on an even MORE restricted diet (a combination of sulphite free AND Candida) add some strong probiotics, concentrate on building back my pretty-much-shot immune system… But I am happy to say now, with a few months of this behind me, I am starting to see some real changes! and am SLOWLY starting to reintroduce some foods to my diet.
    I will–most likely forever–be sulphite intolerant. But it is such a relief to not be so reactive to EVERYthing in my life…
    For any of you battling MORE than just sulphite intolerances, this is something worth looking into. For the first time in 10 years I am starting to feel like myself again! with a body that is less reactive. And I can tell, for the first time in my life I am getting stronger, not getting worse.
    There is another side to the mountain. I wish you all good luck in your journeys with the mountain, too. Life can get better, just don’t give up the hope that it can. I hope you, reading this, can find answers, too…wherever those answers may be.

  38. Dara says:

    I have been dealing with sulfite issues for 15+ years but never realized until I read your food list how many of my problems are coming from sulfites. I have had every one of the symptoms you list from food sources and full blown anaphylaxis from medications containing sulfites. The list of foods that cause migraines for me has grown from 1 (grapes) to now 10 and adding one or two per year, all 10 on your food list. Thanks for sharing, this is a real eye opener for me.

    • Tracy says:

      Dara – Glad to help – please feel free to let me know about any foods I have left off the list – sounds like you have lots of experience with this sensitivity!


  39. Jen says:

    Hey Tracy, had a question about your Tinnitus symptom. I feel like I’ve been eating very clean (though I’m sure there is always something I’m missing).
    That is the one symptom that seems to stay with me. There are days that it is really bad. Did your Tinnitus improve a lot after your diet changes?


    • Tracy says:

      It improved somewhat, but it is always one of the first symptoms back and the last to go if I accidentally get some sulfites. I don’t even notice it all that much anymore.

  40. Nataliya says:

    Hi Tracy, I just wanted to say thanks so much for your site. As someone who already suffers from fructose malabsorption, a few months ago I woke up one night with an unnaturally rapid heart beat… the start of what I think is a sulphite intolerance. I don’t appear to be too sensitive – so far I’m pretty certain it’s just wine that does it – but so many of the symptoms that you list pop up when I have wine. Hopefully I have found the reason!

  41. Sharon says:

    Hi there! I have sulfite intolerances and frustrated that I cannot find more food selections. I search on-line but most receipes that claim to be sulfite free do contain sulfites. Thanks for all your input! Still looking for bread, cookies and snacks that are sulfite free. I have lost 45 pounds in eight months as I can only eat a few selections of veggies and chicken and sirloin steak occasionally. Going out to eat is not worth the hassle now–hope that eventually changes!!

    • Sally Paton says:

      HI Sharon
      According to Dr Janice Vickerstaff a canadian immunologist and dietician, who has had 2 severely allergic children, just about all processed foods will have sulphites in them. They are used as dough processors as well as preservatives. Make your own. If you want bread, I buy hugely expensive organic sourdough bread or make my own from organic unbleached flour (watch for any starches put in the flour as that will have sulphites in it as well.) If its just sulphites that are the problem you should be able to eat a lot of food, all unprocessed meat poultry or fish, all legumes butter milk and cream vegetable oils honey and most vegetables according to Dr Vickerstaff’s book “Dealing with food allergies” available online. Tracey knows more about sulphites. I am sensitive to histamine in food and histamine triggers (like sulphites) Its complicated but essentially I have a low histamine diet (itemised in the book) and take antihistamines like clarityne and zantac and vitamin c to control the occasional histamine symptoms. I use the enzyme Histame or Daosin when I eat out in restaurants. If you think your problem is more than sulphites get the book there are chapters on histamines as well. I feel like I eat really well. Lots of fresh food. Be aware that anything that goes mouldy easily like grapes, Cherries, or strawberries or figs or bean sprouts will probably be sprayed with antifungals including sulphites. Hope this helps

  42. Eileen Freeman says:

    I really feel for you and understand how difficult it is. The only food I eat out is Indian meat dishes and rice. I can’t eat fruit or vegetables. That includes flour made from potato, maize etc. Chicken cooked with the skin on, pork also a problem. I was in a cafe where I could smell the sweet potatoes cooking and my asthma started to flare up – eventually I had to leave. There doesn’t seem to be any medical help out there. Do what you need to do to keep well, as best you can. There are lots of us so one day we will be heard.

  43. Lyn says:

    I found the site by accident. The best site around! I can relate to sulfur, sulfa, sulfite and sulfate ‘allergy’ plus iodine and penicillin. Until 2005 I was healthy until I came down with MRSA, few years later, head shingles, followed by cellulitis and now am fighting an ear infection for three years from the shingles.

    Please be aware that medications have fillers, such as corn starch which as sulfur. I had a big disagreement with my doctor and got very ill. I wrote the company and bingo…found sulfur in the cornstarch.

    Then I found that the coatings of many medications, like gel capsules or those with yellow or red dye plus others have sulfur. also, one pharmacist told me to careful with any medication that is yellow….it contains sulfur. So far I have found this to be true.

    But the one that got me was water….all water. Look at the back of some of the bottled water, ‘S’ is added, Spring Water can be high in one location and low in another….or even your own tap water. I now drink distilled water all the time. In a real emergency I can drink a certain brand of bottle water, once, but it is not found every where so I usually haul water with me.

    Pool water with chlorine….has sulfur too.

    Right now I am fighting the ear infection which has bothered my right eye, so tomorrow I have an eye appointment. I know I need another round of antibiotics….and the choices are slim….and the one I Know may work has terrible side effects. what a toss up!

    Thanks for all the information….and knowing so many people are out there, helps a lot!

    PS Forgive any errors I am on the iPad and it changes spelling without my permission…imagine that!

  44. Joëlle R says:

    Hi Lyn and welcome to the club! Like you, it was this site that put us on the sulfite track for my husband’s ongoing asthma (20 years taking inhalers daily) over a year ago. Since then, I keep referring to it for help and information. Don’t despair, in time you will be able to control most of what you eat. The key is to do your own cooking and use local ingredients ! And I take it as a small sign of hope for us all that nowadays some major airline companies offer a sulfite-free meal on board! To me this shows that the problem is starting to be taken more seriously than it has up until now.

    Now, about your concern regarding antibiotics, here’s a suggestion which you may want to look into. Do you know about grapefruit seed extract? This is something we have successfully used at home for other problems, not related to sulfites. Look it up (grapefruit seed extract + ear infection) and if you do decide to try it, let me know if it worked. Good luck and good health!

  45. Candy Hawthorne says:

    I have been diagnosed with IBS 5 months ago. I eliminated gluten and all dairy and it did not make a significant difference. I just completed the LEAP MRT blood test for food intolerances and my results listed Sodium Sulfites as an additive that I am moderately reactive to. Anyone else have JUST IBS symptoms with a sulfite intolerance? I see that most people seem to have respiratory symptoms in combination with other issues. I am trying to determine how vigilant I need to be in reducing the sulfites. I am reading all labels and not buying anything that has added sulfites. Thanks for any input.

  46. Sam says:

    Amazing to read this list of symptoms, it describes my reaction to sulfites almost to the letter.

    Tracy: Just wondering, have you ever been tested for iron overload? I was investigating that as a possible cause of my symptoms, and many of the symptoms overlap with sulfite intolerance. I’m curious about whether there might be a link. Most likely indicator you would have seen would be iron levels above normal range on a blood test.

  47. LostinAusten says:

    Hi Folks-I was wondering if anyone has tried molybdenum. The enzymes that we need to metabolize sulfur, as well as salicylates, are molybdenum enzymes, and I’ve read about some great results. I’m just starting it. Also, molybdenum is depleted by arginine, so a low arginine and high lysine diet would apparently be helpful.

  48. Eileen Freeman says:

    Molybdenum helps metabolise copper. Too much copper is caused by prolonged stress using up zinc. Zinc keeps copper in check. Somehow this links in with inability to convert suffite to sulfate.
    I also take a bath with 1 cup of Epsom Salts to give me a source of sulfate which the body needs. About twice a week soak 12- 20 minutes. Taking a supplement may not work too well, absorbing it directly is better but don’t overdo it.

    • LostinAusten says:

      Yes, epsom salt baths sound really good. But with arginine depleting molybdenum, I think it’s also important to be taking lysine and avoiding high arginine foods. Since I have been doing that (a year) my overall health has really improved, like I can finally eat cow’s milk yogurt again!

  49. Joëlle says:

    Hi Tracy,

    You have said to several people that taking molybdenum and Epsom Salts have helped you. I know of someone in France who says the same about vitamin B12 but at the same time hasn’t changed his diet. In other words, he is still careful about what he eats. What about you? What improvements have you noticed and have you been able to eat certain foods that you couldn’t before?

  50. Kathy says:

    hi Tracy, Like the others on the site, I can’t tell you enough how thankful I am that you created this website. I’ve been trying to figure out how to navigate sulfites for some time now (as well as issues with gluten and MSG). Have pretty much been going with trial and error — but for almost a month now I’ve been on an almost 100% home-cooked organic diet with limited ingredients to see if I could figure out triggers. I feel 1000 times better (haven’t had a headache in a month!) but I still do get “red face” most afternoons (especially at my office) and then “super hot red face” with foods that are adding to my long list of no-nos. I have three questions for you (apologies if I missed answers on the site):
    (a) is there a way to get tested to determine if it is sulfite ALLERGY or sulfite SENSITIVITY (the toxic digestion issue) and if so, what kind of doctor would you see? (b) do you know of any connections or enhanced reactions to sufiltes for people with MTHFR genetic mutation (compound heterozygous — for me) or any literature on this? and (c) do you know you of any connections of sulfite issues with POTS (postural orthostatic tachychardial syndrome — for my teen daughter) or any literature on this? [Finally, how can we join your site to logon and keep in the loop]? thank you sooooo much! Kathy

  51. Kristina says:

    Thank you so much for this webpage! I was given an overdose of sulfa drugs in 2010 due to having the flu so severely. This caused my body to stop producing the enzyme need to get rid of sulfites. For months I felt crazy and at wits end. Even now after finally having to persuad doctors of what the problem was, I did all the research and paid them the money, I struggle. Thank you for sharing your story and information.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Kristina –
      I am so sorry that happened to you! I never had a “trigger moment like you did, but I know many people that did. Please feel free to ask any questions or share any information that you come across! Welcome!


  52. Eileen Freeman says:

    It is a lack of the enzyme which breaks down sulfite after it’s done it’s job. If this is happening then soak in bath with Epsom Salts 1 cup fot 20 minutes – nothing else in water, no more than every 3 days.. As you will be low in this firm if sulfur / sulphur which affects other processes. I too get the red burning cheeks, it’s very uncomfortable, I find a relaxing stroll helps.

    • Tracy says:

      I find that both bicarb (baking soda) and boron in the bath help with the epsom salt baths. Both are cofactors of magnesium and help it absorb when you soak in the bath.


      • Eileen says:

        Thank you Tracey, About how much bicarb should I use. I use 1 cup epsom salts in smallish bath?
        Regards Eileen

        • Tracy says:

          I use several cups of Epsom salt and 1/2 – 1 cup baking soda. I also use a teaspoon of boron, a it is a cofactor mar magnesium as well.

  53. Julie White says:

    We live in Chicago area. Looking for Holistic Integrative doctor. Do you have a Dr. recommendation? I have a teenager with salicylate and possible sulfite sensitivities.
    She has mulitple chemical sensitivies, sinus issues, digestion problems, fatigue, slow wound healing and takes her a long time to recover from colds and flu. Looking into the MTHFR possibility and doing research. Also we are on the SCD diet and trying to eliminate salicylates and sulfites plus she has IGE food allergies already so the foods she can eat are getting very limited.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Julie –

      I go to Dr. Ryu over at Northwestern and she has been sympathetic to my issues with sulfites and has worked with me to replace pharmaceuticals with alternative treatments. The issue I have been having is that every time I go there (she is in the medical office building across from the hospital on Central) I seem to be reacting to something in the building. If you are interested in alternative treatments, my acupuncturist is Frank Scott at Wellspring Integrative Medicine in Evanston. He really worked wonders for me in the early days after diagnosis. My allergist is Christine Renz over at Essential Wellness of Illinois in Northbrook. That treatment has done more to get me back on track than anything else – I highly recommend her!

  54. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the info. Need to buy a large bag of bicarb lol not the tiny containers in the supermarket.

  55. Donna says:

    Just wanted to say this is a great site. I’ve been researching on the internet for years trying to narrow down what was causing my problems and I made the sulfite discovery just a couple of years ago. I stopped going to the doctor for my stomach problems because I just couldn’t be bothered anymore with just being told I had IBS or GERD or leaky gut, etc. so started doing elimination many years ago starting with beef, pork, garlic, onions, canned tomato sauces and pastes, canned soups or prepackaged mixes of soups or pasta sauces etc. I have actually eliminated so many foods from my diet and exist on eating the same things every day. I don’t mind at all as I don’t have to cook for my family anymore as they’re now adults. I read something interesting in this site and it is something that has happened to me as well. As a child if my mother was cooking sausages, bacon or any sort of pork, I would get a headache. She just told me I was being silly of course! But my adult son who lives with me uses those prepackaged pasta sauces which have a lot of garlic and spices in them and whenever he cooks them I get a headache. Weird. I will continue to read everyone’s comments here as it’s very enlightening. I’m pushing 60 and have found that over the last few years my symptoms have become worse and worse. I ended up in the ER a couple of years ago as my palpitations and breathing were so bad that I couldn’t get up the stairs without almost blacking out. They decided it was heart problems, heart rate was all over the place for hours and then there were heart specialist appts. and tests etc. and they came back normal. So then they said it was anxiety. When it happened again I stayed home and researched instead and saw that word “sulfites”. Kept researching sulfites throughout that night and had many “aha” moments. Sure enough, now whenever I have a problem I go and read all labels and realize I got into some sulfites. So many of the things people have said here apply to me, thank you, it’s not all in my head! I will continue to be very diligent about reading labels if I decide to add any new foods to my diet. My symptoms can hit me right away or occur in the middle of the night which are wild headaches that surge, palpitations that leave me completely breathless, it can be so bad that I have problems with stairs and massive head rushes, and then of course the whole digestive problems that will follow. Keeping tabs on what I eat is the best solution and trying not to fall off the sulfite wagon. Again, thanks for the info.

  56. Eileen says:

    It’s so good you now know what the problem really is. Good luck in your endeavour to gain better health.

  57. elizabeth gates says:

    I am looking for allergists, a good acupuncturist and an alternative medicine doctor or any doctor who knows how to treat sulfite allergies in the Boston area. Thanks

  58. Hi is it safe to eat your own homemade jam made with plums cane sugar and fresh lemon juice I have made it but scared to eat it as they say don’t have jam but I don’t know why any advise xxx

    • Tracy says:

      In commercial jams they have additives that will contain sulfites. You have to check on the sugar to be sure it isn’t bleached with sulfites and use fresh lemon juice, never bottled. If the plums are organic and have not been treated with anything, they won’t have sulfites, but some people have reactions to foods in the prunus family (cherries, peaches, plums, etc.) so check your own personal reactions. If you aren’t reacting to any of those foods individually, then you should be fine.

  59. Thank you Tracy just to pick your brain a bit more can I have organic salmon

  60. Marc says:

    Thank you for making this website! I am not certain if sulfites are my problem but over the past few years I was getting more and more ill until I realised I really had to sort this out. I gave up tomato in all forms and foods, same goes for the entire capsaicin family and the allium family. I felt some improvement but not enough. Then I switched from my usual ketchup (no tomatoes) to mayonnaise and the devil itself, salad cream. All my symptoms got much worse, my tongue was swollen, my mouth burnt, my glands came up and hurt so much. After this passed, the brain fog took over for about 24 hours. I couldn’t even see properly. As it tailed of the gastro effects (my usual problem) kicked in. For me it’s terrible trouble going to the *ahem* toilet. So I moved onto no brassicas including Canola Oil (rapeseed in UK where I live). Be warned by the way, if mustard is a big trigger, do not eat rocket leaves (Probably not the US name…) they left me… like a shell. I thought I was doing good… cutting out brassicas and switching a veg only to have my worst reaction to date. So imagine my delight (if that is the word) when someone randomly said ‘sulphites’ to me and I found this page! Wow. I know I’ve had this problem forever, (It’s just gotten a lot worse since Canola/Rapeseed found its way into EVERYTHING) but to see your list of symptoms. Tinnitus.. I have it constantly. I don’t think it’ll ever go. But there it is, at the bottom of your list. Love this page, don’t ever leave us!

  61. Joëlle says:

    I’m sure Tracy will answer your question with regards to organic salmon. We eat wild salmon and it seems ok, but I do realize that my husband is luckier than most: he fares pretty well with most natural sulfites. The other thing is, I try to vary our meat / fish intake as much as possible so as to avoid any build-up.
    Good luck!

  62. erin says:


    First thank you for documenting all this. As I’m sure you know info on sulfites is very difficult to find.

    I noticed you have a sunburn like rash listed as one of your symptoms. Have you experienced sun sensitivity or have you heard from others that have in connection to a sulphite sensitivity?

    I have been reacting to UV rays for several months with an itchy, swollen, sunburn -like one giant hive- within minutes of exposure. The sunburn fades within an hour. I also get a flushing itchy rash on my cheeks that last for about a week. Antihistamines have no effect. Sunscreen has no effect. The doctors have not found a cause.

    After several weeks of UV elimination (locked in my house with the windows covered) I reacted to garlic. This was my first clue in months that the underlying cause was not the sun but something else. I also have reacted to red wine with flushing cheeks, ears, chest, and severe headache and so have avoided it for many years but I didn’t realize the extent of sulfites in other foods. I also thought I had a gluten sensitivity 15 years ago when my lip would swell and get an itchy rash if I ate pizza. But now I believe that could have been from sulfites not gluten. By cutting out all processed white flour and gluten I probably also cut out many sulfites.

    As far as I can tell – and I already emailed with Rick Williams – there is basicaly no documentation of sulfites causing a photosensitivity or phototoxic reaction. I found one study and I did find that farm workers experience photosensitivity and hives from handling garlic and onions.

    If you have any thoughts I would love to hear them. Thank you.

  63. terry says:

    Thank you for helping so many of us get closer to the root of our sulfite/sulfate dilemmas. I felt saddened to hear of ER stories, and I still wonder how many more are being mis-diagnosed. My symptoms started about 2 minutes after the first bite of a meatlovers deep dish pizza. My throat became swollen and inflamed, my blood pressure (must have) fell, I felt a bit of dizziness, my sinuses kicked into overdrive, but worst of all, swallowing became extremely painful …

    Painkillers, and allergy medicines alleviated some symptoms, but I had difficulty sleeping … for 5 days (still counting). I must say, I have never had problems with sulfites in nature, ie. pineapple, ñuts, mangos, grapefruits, etc. But now that I have been made more aware of mini monster, I will be working on helping people understand more about what we eat, as well as the stuff that eats at us.

    Thanks again.

  64. Hi all does anybody know of an antacid medicine that is safe to take having bad reflux I need to take something but really scared to try help any one thanks ,

    • Joan Tendler says:

      Coconut oil is supposed to work really well. I haven’t tried it for that but I understand you take at least a teaspoon, up to a tablespoon.

    • Eileen says:

      I heard that almonds, blanched, are alkaline and to chew a few, not many. I like to sip peppermint cordial and warm water. Very soothing, again, just a little, sip it slowly.

      • Tracy says:

        I have heard that all almonds in the US, whether they are marked raw or not are blanched before sold and often there are sulfites added to the blanching process. I stay away now.

  65. Hi I have been really trying to do everything right but still been very ill I have just discovered rapeseed oil is sulfited and guess what the bread I eat that says no preservitives has rapeseed oil in plus my plain crisps which I am eating every day to gain weight can’t believe it ,still need to reasherch this so fed up with doctors saying I have anxiety that causing breathing probs all the time I am poisining myself recipe for bread please and is bicarbonate of soda ok it’s in my organic flour sorry for the rant thanks ,

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Lesley,
      Rapeseed oil has a lot of nasty chemicals in it, it is best to steer clear! Both the anxiety and the breathing is most likely a symptom of the sulfite reactions. I do have a recipe for flat bread that should be safe for you, please check it out. Baking soda (Bicarbonate of soda) is just fine as long as it is organic. I use it every day to keep my system alkaline and it is very effective in keeping my heart rate slow when it starts racing from a reaction.

      Hang in there and don’t listen to those doctors!


  66. Thanks Tracy I went clean for 5days in bread cakes no goodies I was hungry but I feel so much better now ,I have found a bakery anew one in town artisan bread all organic ingreidents I am excited ! I was just so glad I found out what the problem was we keep learning every day …

  67. Eileen says:

    Oh I didn’t think of that. If they have their brown skins on you can blanch them yourself – if you can find them.

  68. Hi all hope you are all well can any one identify with me does any one get a a nasty taste and throat clearing bit of a dry cough as a symptom could it be gerd I get this after alcohol so I don’t really drink any more but now I am getting it after a tiny bit of sulphite (gravy) my intolerance seems to be going worse thank god for this site someone to turn to any help please …

    • Tracy says:

      Yes, I get that as well. Sometimes it proceeds into full blown throat swelling, sometimes it turns into a VERY dry throat. I think lots of people see their sensitivity get worse over time until it levels off. I hope it stops getting worse for you soon!


  69. Here is another question my organic self raising flour has baking powder in it I wondered why I was reacting when I am ok with plain flour so I can use plain flour with organic baking soda if a recipie calls for 1teaspoon of baking powder how much b/soda do I use and how much buttermilk do I use is cream of tarter safe I just want to eat my cakes advise please …

  70. Joëlle says:

    Hi Leslie
    While in the U.S. this summer we used tapioca flour (Arrowhead’s mill), sorghum flour (Bob’s Red Mill) and other flours, such as millet, buckwheat flours (all gluten-free) which I believe came mostly from Trader Joe’s. My daughter did the shopping and had also successfully fed her father last year while he stayed with her. If you can have gluten, isn’t King Arthur’s unbleached flour ok?
    On the baking soda: start with 1/4 tsp (activated with freshly squeezed lemon juice, which also helps the taste of the soda) for each tsp that the original recipe calls for. And I would stay clear of cream of tartar.
    About the buttermilk, as I don’t use any I wouldn’t know.
    I am not sure which cookies / cake you would like me to translate for you. I suggest you leave a message on my site, on the page you are interested in. I have not been able to both post and translate recipes as originally planned since I started my sulfite-free cooking blog. I would need more free time. Hopefully next summer I will really be able to tackle it. Meanwhile, I can try to help as needed.

  71. Thanks joelle for replying so helpful I really just want sponge cake (Victoria) and some easy biscuits and scones I am ok with doves farm organic plain flour not good with the sr so any of them would be good thanks again …

    • Joëlle says:

      Hi Lesley,

      I have finally translated a recipe for you. The original recipe is not mine; it was published in, a French site dedicated to gluten-free cooking. As I do not know where you live (I’m assuming Britain) I cannot suggest any specific brands that would ensure you of sulfite-free ingredients; however you are not new to the problem and therefore must by now know what agrees with you or not. I hope this will work fine for you. Here it is:

      For a large cake, you will need:

      – 3 large eggs (make sure they are fresh)
      – pinch salt
      – 75 g rice flour
      – 45 g buckwheat or millet flour
      – 25 g potato starch or maybe arrow root which is hopefully sulfite free
      – 4 g psyllium
      – 3 g guar or xantham gum
      – 1/2 tsp of baking soda, to be activated with freshly squeezed lemon juice
      – 150 g pure cane sugar
      – 150 g coconut oil (melted)
      – 180 ml rice milk or almond milk, whichever is best for you
      – 2 TBSP rum, optional, and only if you know it has no caramel color added


      1. Mix together the different flours, psyllium and gum.
      2. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat whites with the pinch of salt, until peaks are formed. Reserve.
      3. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks, the coconut oil, non-dairy milk, flour mix, and rum (if desired) until batter is smooth.
      4. Activate the baking soda with the lemon juice, add to the batter. Fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula. Pour into a greased lined cake pan.
      5. Bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for about 40 minutes.

      I have made it at home with millet flour. It was tasty and did not seem to cause any reaction for my husband.

      Here is the link to the original recipe:

      I hope you can make it and enjoy it without problems!

  72. Eileen says:

    Cream of tartare is in baking powder and.causes me a problem. I use bicarbonate of soda but don’t care for the taste. Soda bread is okay but heavy.

  73. Kati says:

    I identify so much with your list,m but honking for the past few months that is have an oxalate problem…a lot of the foods and symptoms seem to overlap. But I was still getting bad reactions, after coconut flour and gluten free flours made into pancakes, such as tapioca, white rice (not sure about this one yet) and potato starch, also a sip of wine sends me for benadryl. I also think I may be dueling with a salicylate issue on top, as my throat gets nasty sores after I eat raw carrot, cheeses of all types, yogurt, whey protein, apples, berries, broccoli, raw onion, radish, etc. and brushing my toothpaste and chewing gum gives me throat sores also. it’s so much to sort out. How do I differentiate what is caused by sulphite and what possibly, by salicylates? Is there a lot of crossover that just may be coincidence?

  74. Hi all can any o e tell me if they take Zantac on a regular basis and is it safe I have looked at ingreidents but still worried ….

    • Sally says:

      Why do you want to take zantac?
      I take it pretty regularly with no side effects. In fact it helps a lot. If I eat sulphites I usually get stomach pain and bloating dizziness and a high pulse rate (double the usual) 1.5 hours after eating it. I take a zantac and a claratyne tablet and the symptoms pretty much disappear after about 20-30 minutes. I have been doing this for about 5 years with only good results.
      I discovered that the sulphites make me discharge a lot of my own body’s histamine (Sort of like an allergic reaction but technically not an allergic reaction) Its the high histamine that causes the trouble. I find taking the two kinds of histamine blockers really helps. Normally histamine works as a messenger to the stomach to release stomach acid when eating food. Zantac is an antihistamine that blocks that. If you get my kinds of symptoms give it a try following the dosage recommendations on the packet.

      • Hi Sally thanks for replying my doctor told me I have acid reflux it gives me a very sore mouth and chocking feeling I was blaming my food even when I never ate any sulphites my diet was so restricted I lost so much weight and been really poorly I can tolerate some sulphites and just want to get back to eating more I will give them a go just wanted to be sue …

  75. Hi all can any o e tell me if they take Zantac on a regular basis and is it safe I have looked at ingreidents but still worried ….

  76. Jennifer says:

    To that fantastically long list you can add seizures, dizziness and equilibrium issues. i have had this for 40 years and my first real symptom was a seizure. It has taken over 25 years to discover that it was an allergy to sulphates. i have been for most of my life heavily medicated for symptoms that have almost disappeared with the change in diet. This site is great, it lets me know that after 20 years of doctors who didn’t believe me, or just tried to medicate me for each and every symptom, that i am not alone. That i can easily manage my own health.

    • Tracy says:

      I have often thought that I was on the verge of seizure, so thank you for confirming. I concur with the dizziness and equilibrium issues. You are definitely not alone!

  77. dkaj says:

    Does anyone know if there is a skin test or allergy test for sulphites. I called allergist today to see if they test for sulphites and he said no. He said we need to do double blind oral challenge at home and not let my dd know that we are adding sulphites to her food or drinks. I asked him if this was safe to do at home and he said yes. He thinks my dd is ultra sensitive and very in tune to her body and we need to do a blind trial.

  78. Lesley says:

    Any body got any Christmas cake or pudding recipies to share organic of course so miss all the goodies at Christmas!

  79. Scott says:

    I have been suffering with what I have been explaining to my doctor is a radiating feeling through my chest cavity for years. I am a very devout fan
    of wine and I consume my share daily. I stopped drinking wine 3 days ago after literally drinking a bottle a day for YEARS. Never missed a day. Guess what? The symptoms have totally disappeared. I can’t explain the anxiety this has caused me for so many years. Is it possible it was really the wine all this time?

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Scott!

      Sure, it is possible. How do you feel when you eat other sulfited foods? Some foods with added sulfites at high levels would be dried fruit (unless it states otherwise), processed meats and in many cases shellfish. If you get the same feeling when you ingest those foods, I would strongly suspect the added sulfites. If not, then I would suspect the histamines in wine. Were you a red or a white wine drinker? White typically has more sulfites than red. You could also try Orleans Hill wine. It has no detectable sulfites and I drink it without issue regularly. They only make the red sulfite free, though.

  80. Debbie says:

    I am so happy to find this site and have spent hours reading all the comments. My main symptom is a cough that can get very severe at times. I get horrible looks from people when I am out as I’m sure they think I am sick. My family and friends have put up with this annoyance for a very long time. It started 17 years ago and I have been to allergists, pulmonologists, GI docs, cardiologists, naturopaths, chiropractors, nutritionists, and no one has been able to make the connection. After numerous medications, none of which have helped, and thousands of dollars spent, I finally figured it out several weeks ago. I have other symptoms that have been getting worse and I was attributing them to thyroid issues. I had thyroid cancer in 2003 and had a total thyroidectomy so trying to get hormones regulated has been a challenge.
    This site has a lot of great info which is helping immensely. I have a couple questions:
    Can thyroid cancer be a result of this problem?
    Does anyone know of a website that lists the amounts of sulfites and sulfur in foods? I am also having trouble with high sulfur foods, I think there is a conversion problem.
    I think I had a reaction last night with palpitations and a cough in the middle of the night after using a body lotion, on my feet, and I think the ingredient that caused it is xantham gum. Has anyone else had a reaction to this ingredient?
    Tracy, you mentioned adding boron to the epsom salt bath, where do you get this?
    That’s it for now. I’ll add more questions later.
    Glad to “meet” you all.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Debbie, welcome!

      To answer your questions:
      I have never heard of sulfite sensitivity being the cause of thyroid cancer. I definitely have a reaction to xantham gum. You can get boron most easily and cheaply by buying 20 Mule Team Borax. It is pure boron. I have not found a truly reliable list that lists the amounts of sulfites and sulfur, but perhaps someone else might know?

      Hope this helps


  81. Joëlle says:

    Hi Debbie,

    If you are trying to bake gluten free you can replace xantham gum with either psyllium husk or guar gum (an algae).

    Debbie and Tracy, I just don’t see how anyone could come up with a reliable sulfite-free list, as the use of sulfites varies from one brand to the next, not to mention one country to the next. Even for sulphur, I am no expert in biology, but it seems to me that depending on the soil, the weather, and the way it was grown (organically or conventionally) it is impossible for any vegetable or fruit to have a set amount of sulphur. I hope I am making sense here. This is why it is so hard to say if it is safe to eat something or not: depending on its origin, a batch of raw almonds, for instance, may or may not have been treated. Sulfites should be clearly labeled on products and produce no matter what the amount. It certainly would make cooking easier!

  82. Mona says:

    Dear Tracy,

    I’M sorry to say that but.. IM SO HAPPY TO READ YOURS SYMPTOMS such as they are the same as me!!!!!

    I really want to do the allergic tests but nobody does 🙁 Do you have a reference for here in quebec, canada?

    So you tell me that with all the symptoms you listed above, you are still NOT allergic but VERY sensitive?

    This gives me so much hope cause i was really begining to worry for my life.

    Thanks so much for your blog i’ll surely look forward to read all of it!

    NB the question i am asking myself right now is; is there a lot more people suffering from sulfits issue without knowing at all this is it? I think so… altough it seems the kind of symptoms we have are atypic a doctor said to me.



    • Tracy says:

      Hi Mona – Yes those are my symptoms and I am not allergic, just very sensitive. It is a distinction, but a sensitivity can still be life threatening. My throat does swell, and I know people who have had severe enough reactions that they had a heart attack. That is no reason not to have hope, though! I am certain lots ofpeople are suffering with this and don’t know – it took 20+ years for me to get a diagnosis, I am sure there are plenty of others. Feel free to ask any questions you want. I am here to help you on your journey if I can!


      • Mona says:

        Thanks so much for answering me Tracy. I avoid all sulfits as much as i can. Yesterday i re-introduced an egg such as i taked them off for a while after reading it was high on sulfur. It went well. I think i will put some in my recipes with parcimony.

        There is one more question im asking myself today; its maybe i am also histamine intolerant because i read the symptoms and some looks like mine.

        Do you also find similarities between sulfits And histamine sensivity?

        Thanks a lot,


        • Tracy says:

          I find that lots of people have multiple sensitivities and it is pretty common for people to have both sulfite and histamine sensitivities. I also know a lot of people that have mast cell disorder, which also has similar symptoms. I personally have multiple chemical sensitivities, which also has crossover symptoms.

  83. Mona says:

    Could anyone tell me more aout the bottled water and the presence of sulfur such i am very sensitive and i want to make sure there isnt any ? Thanks in advance

  84. Joëlle says:

    Same here, my husband can eat coconut sugar without reacting. It’s just a tad expensive though, so we mostly stick to pure cane sugar.

  85. Mona says:

    Dear Tracy,

    I just made my traditionnal morning smoothie with fresh veggies and fruits, adding a classic avocado and taking it without any problems almost every morning. The only new thing i added today was chia seeds.

    WHAT a mistake! I tought it was good for me, it is organic also.

    About 1 hour after taking my smoothie, i felt a very sudden high of heartbeat which is classic for me as a reaction to sulfits. I try to calm down, almost took a benadryl pill because i didnt want to get to the hospital as the last time my heartbeat went so high (130 in the past, and im sure i was quiet near to that for about 20 minutes) and drank 3-4 glasses of water, concentrated breathing… and then it decrease faster that the other time.

    I didnt know bio chia seeds were possibly containing sulfits? I’m really not sure if i can eat the other cereals/seeds/lentils i bought recently in the intention to variate my food.

    Thank you so much for answering me.


    • Tracy says:

      Mona –

      I do ok with Chia seeds, so I am not sure what is going on there. One suggestion – when my heart races, I take some baking soda in water and that seems to calm it down – I usually take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon. Don’t take too much, though, it can give you diarrhea (which for me is preferable to heart racing, so sometimes I do take too much!)

  86. Mona says:

    Dear Tracy,

    Now that i am almost used to live without sulfits, i notice that i still have weird symptoms sometimes that makes me think maybe i react to something else more than sulfits.

    I am wondering about histamine intolerance and salycitates.

    The symptom that remain is i’m often tired, and the chest pressure still stays sometimes but i tought maybe it was just anxiety. The other important symptom that stayed is frequently (mostly on the evenings much later after had eaten anything) i feel my heartbeat very clearly, my neck has a very evident pulse.

    I felt really better by avoiding sulfits but still i am not 100% sure it was only sulfits.

    The only possible trace of sulfits that i still take is sometimes in my butter and i dont have symptoms everytime.

    I noticed also that i cannot have much peaches/plums as i used to because i react a little sometimes (oral allergy) because i am allergic to pollen but it’s not everytime and not so bad.

    The only symptom that really annoy me is tiredness and very noticeable heart beat (but not racing) almost every day.

    Thanks so much for your answers.


    • Tracy says:


      Most of the people I know with a sulfite sensitivity have some other sensitivity as well. As far as I can tell, salycilates are a pretty common one to have in combination with the sulfite. If you are having an issue with stone fruit, I would check into a latex sensitivity. I absolutely get chest pressure, too strong heartbeat and extreme tiredness (along with anxiety) when I am having a reaction. My issue iw multiple chemical sensitivity in addition to the sulfites, but the symptoms are the same as yours.

  87. Mona says:

    Dear Tracy,

    I really don’t know what to think if i have to avoid salycitate also it feels like there is nothing i will be able to eat… i already survive with rice, quinoa, fruits and vegetables, avocados, corn, potatoes, beef a little… i really dont know what i will eat now 🙁

    • Tracy says:


      I know how disheartening this can all be when you start out. I am so sorry that it is difficult and I know how overwhelming this can all feel. When I was in the worst part of my reactions I did really well with chicken and lettuce. If you can tolerate those, I suggest trying bone broth to help heal your gut. It s very nourishing and can help lessen reactions if you do have leaky gut. I have some friends that have both sensitivities, so if you want me to connect you with them, let me know.


  88. Mona says:

    Thanks very much Tracy and yes i would like very much to be in contact with them. So i understand that you are not salycitate intolerant?

    There somethings that tells me right know that all of this could be in relation with a leaky gut. I have received no diagnostic for that but it makes sense as i read about it.

    Thanks a lot for your support which i appreciate more than you could ever imagine.

    Mona xx

    • Tracy says:

      No problem, Mona!I will reach out to a couple of people and send along your email address. Leaky gut is really the underlying cause of so many things and it is so easy to develop with the way our food system works, I would not be surprised if it is part of your issue. I am always happy to help and hope that your start feeling better very soon!

      Tracy xoxo

    • Tracy says:

      Also, you might want to try this facebook page for salicylate sensitive people:

  89. Mona says:

    Dear Tracy,

    The more i go without sulfits and salicylates, the better i feel except i’m still often tired i think all these changes affected my energy and also i dont eat that much as you can imagine.

    I feel like my tolerance in decreasing also. Today i ate a little natural soy sauce (Bragg one) before i had no problem with it. Today, i had retarded symptoms (about 3 hours later) such as white plaques in my mouth, in sheeks and also a little bit on my uvula , and feeling strange and being anormaly thirsty. It has happen in the past when i ate tomate paste. I think i reacted a little to brag sauce. Now what. I feel like i wont be able to eat anything at all.

    Almost all foods i was surviving on are now on the no-no list for salicylates and it looks like my tolerance is dimunishing a little more everyday even if im already VERY strict.

    I’ve already lost more than 15 pounds in only three months. Now i have worries about my future health. 🙁

    • Tracy says:

      Oh, Mona, I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling. Many people find that their sensitivity does increase over time – but there is hope. Everyone I know that has stayed away from sulfites for a period of time seems to have their sensitivity decrease, so you may just be in a very sensitive state right now, but it could get better. Have you done any testing? I think that you might think about a RBC blood test, a hair mineral analysis and a 23andme test. These will help you to understand where your body is at and what you might be deficient in that may be exacerbating your symptoms. The genetic test will also help you determine what forms of supplements to take. For example, I am deficient in vitamin B, but when I took it, I got much worse. As it turns out I have methylation issues and I can’t take the most common form of B12, which is methyl B12. I now take a hydroxy B12 and it is helping me a lot. PM me on Facebook if you want more info!

  90. Eileen says:

    I have improved. A very detailed diary if what, amount, time it was eaten.
    At first I could eat organic beef, lamb, legumes home cooked. All grains except those with gluten, I’m coeliac. Everything had to be extra fresh. Well before reaching the expiry dates it would affect me. I ate chappattis, home made. I later found one type of oatcake I couod buy.
    I was advised by the allergy clinic that they could not help with sulfite problems and gave me a print out stating no to: flavourings, colourings, preservatives, etc, etc.
    In other words nothing manufactured – even gravy mix.
    I found I could not cope with any flour made from a vegetable, cornflour, potato flour.
    All vegetables caused swelling and all fruit.
    I’ve kept off for two years abd now I have dairt, well cooked and eggs, and liver in small amounts.
    Nut oils including coconut when used on my skin caused swelling. I had problems with chai but feel I may have improved enough to try them again. Ok with a littke tahini.
    Hope this info helps you understand it better. It can take days to build up in your system before causing a reaction.

  91. Mona says:

    I am very interested to know more about testing intolerances reliability. I am sulfit ultra sensitive and im suspecting a lot salicylates. since i eat none of these everything rocks. When i eat them, i have tachycardia and problems breathing 🙁

  92. Stephanie says:

    Is there a connection between having an allergy to sulfa drugs and being sensitive or allergic to sulfites? I have almost every single one of your symptoms and I have had numerous tests and labs done…save for a few high results here and there (slightly elevated RA factor, and high IgM) everything else is normal. Gluten is horrible for me. I have a known allergy to sulfa and that’s allergy panel is completely normal. Sounds like mentioning this to a doctor will not prove helpful.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Stephanie,
      I have heard over and over again that sulfa drugs andsulfites are completely different and one sensitivity has nothing to do with the other. Iwill tell you what, though – my mother has a severe allergy to sulfa drugs and she has sulfite issues. I won’t take sulfa drugs because I am convinced there is a connection. I tested completely normal on a regular allergy panel as well – a sensitivity won’t come up as positive on that kind of test.

  93. Janice the Elder says:

    Don’t know if this blog is still active. Good comments.

    I’m about to turn 66. Probably have had numerous food allergies/sensitivities all of my life, but it took a long time to figure them out. When I was a kid, nobody even talked about food allergies. If your parents didn’t force you to eat everything they served, they were bad parents. Then, after figuring out the food things, I ran into the problems with chemical additives. We never get a break, do we?

    I’m sitting here, having had a dramatic week of hives, mostly on my back, but slowly spreading around to arms and legs. Sulfite. I had convinced myself that I could use dextrose without treating it with ozone (ozone converts sulfites to sulfates). Well, the experiment was a resounding success, in that I know now that the dextrose definitely has sulfites, and that treating the dextrose with ozone does indeed work. The equipment that I used for treating the dextrose broke down, which led to convincing myself that it was unneeded.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Janice –
      I have not been around much lately (I stopped getting notifications about comments, so didn’t know they were backing up!). I am interested to hear about how you treat things with ozone. What kind of equipment do you use? It really does never end! I have major problems with all sorts of chemicals as well! I look forward to hearing more about your journey and what you have discovered that helps you manage your health!


  94. barbara says:

    hi tracy,

    Been reading your blogs and extremely interested with what I have read!!!

    Question… it possible to have a sulphite reaction from cosmetics? i.e. lip balms?the ingredients listed are purely natural and organic…however, when I apply it on my lips, within a an hour , I get a reaction! I would certainly appreciate your input.thank you.

  95. hi tracy,

    is it possible that lip balms can contain sulphites? it is not listed on the ingredients, which is stating its all natural and organic. horrible reaction within an hour.

  96. Sophie says:

    Hi, I’m new to this site… I’ve been battling chronic hives and lump in my throat sensations for years now. The hives are all over my forehead and chest most days. I’ve seen several doctors, haematologists, and dermatologists who have just diagnosed chronic urticaria, and have said there’s no cure other than to take a high dose of antihistamines which make my symptoms much worse. I think I have a sulfites allergy and I’m at the very beginning of figuring out what I can and can’t eat. I’d already cut our eggs, dairy and wheat, I’ve lost a stone in weight and feel like I’m wasting away. I’m scared to eat and drink incase I react. I feel drained by this illness and I just want to feel better and live a normal happy life. I am a mother to 3 small children and I feel like my allergy has really affected them so far, I’ve got to the point where I don’t like leaving the house incase my head swells up, it’s awful… this website is amazing but I have so so many questions. Where do I start? What “safe foods” Can I start with and how Can I stop losing so much weight. I’d like to be able to eat a healthy balanced diet, so many sites advise different foods and I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. Please help me! Thank you Sophie

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Sophie,
      I hope you are managing a bit better. It is really hard to define a safe list that works for everyone. It seems that everyone reacts a bit differently, so an elimination diet really works the best. It can seem like you are reacting to just everything and that can be so frustrating. I hope you feel better soon!

  97. Nicole L. Zaidi says:

    I’ve been researching this wildly since the doctors can’t figure out what my mom’s issue is. We’ve narrowed it down to this one, and her reaction to sulfites includes a severe, uncontrollable shaking from the inside out. Then her tongue and throat swell. Initially we had to take her to the hospital for these reactions. Eventually a doctor in the ER found 4 pills ( that knock her out by the way), that stop the reaction. This all started after her chemotherapy. She did have one reaction prior to the chemo 10 years ago, yet the chemotherapy intensified her sulfite sensitivity. It used to be like once a month. Now she is so sensitive, it’s down to 1-2 a week. She is sleeping her life away and I don’t know what to do to help her. I’ve pleaded with her to only eat dull food, yet she insists that certain things she’s never had a reaction, and then all of the sudden I get a text she is having yet again another reaction. Besides these pills, she is allergic to all medication as well since they have sulfites ( even vitamins). Has anyone found a cure for this or is this a permanent thing? Does anyone know a specialist in California that could help? Thanks .
    Concerned daughter,

    • Tracy says:

      I have never heard of a cure, but people do get better as far as fewer and less intense reactions with a strict diet and the proper supplementation. Can your mother do a genetic test to see what her SNPs indicate she may be sensitive to? Also a RBC blood test and an HMTA will tell her what is going on in her body and help her decide how to supplement.

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