Research suggests that these compounds may affect some people more than others. They are also used by winemakers to help minimize oxidation in wine and maintain its freshness. This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by our trained editorial staff. The sulfites also cause other reactions in individuals which can include an upset stomach and diarrhea. Some research also shows that these additives can help block the growth of bacteria to prevent contamination and spoilage (2). Sulfites are preservatives used in many foods, drinks (especially wine), and medications. Sulfites are incorrectly blamed for being the main cause of intolerance when drinking wine. Reading food labels can help you determine which foods you should limit in your diet. Most people can safely consume the sulfites found in wine with minimal risk of adverse side effects. You won’t find sulfites in fresh, raw fruits and vegetables or any whole, unprocessed foods. What are the dangers of consuming sulfites? It is possible- but unlikely-that her reactions are caused by the sulfites that are added to wine. It gets more complicated when it comes to alcoholic beverages that are made with gluten grains but distilled. Sensitivity to glycoproteins could be another cause of tannin sensitivity. Some studies suggest that they stimulate the parasympathetic system, triggering constriction of the airways. After a glass of red wine or handful of dried fruit, do you notice flushing, abdominal pain or airway constriction? It’s … Foods without sulfites include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods in their natural forms. While their reputation as the migraine harbingers isn't exactly deserved, they can cause other serious problems. Avoiding sulfites may be trickier in restaurants though. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. There are products, containing hydrogen peroxide and water, that are meant to remove sulfites when added to your wine. Your Skin Freaks Out. Chitosan. For that reason, limiting your consumption of processed foods containing additives is important for your overall health. are clickable links to medically peer-reviewed studies. Research published in PLoS One in 2017 points out that, “Due to insufficient statistical data regarding individual sensitivities and consumer intake levels, it has been difficult to identify the exact level at which these preservatives become harmful.”. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) Learn more about the causes, treatments, and natural…. Sulfites can trigger asthma symptoms and on rare occasions can cause anaphylaxis. Sulfites, also commonly called sulfur dioxide, are chemical compounds that contain the sulfite ion. What Is Sulfite? The occurrence of sulphite sensitivity in the general population is thought to be less than 2%, but this rises to between 5-13% in asthmatics. Let’s take a look at them, along with what a sulfite allergy means. Reports show that they may cause irritation to the respiratory tract, which is why people with asthma are most commonly affected. Studies are indicating that they can have a substantial impact on gut bacteria. This wine ingredient is made up of the exoskeletons of crab, shellfish, shrimp and other … Sulfites are added to wine and beer to prolong their shelf life. It makes sense — sulfites are added to foods to fight bacterial overgrowth, so when these foods are consumed and processed in the small and large intestines, they continue their antibacterial effects. If you are unsure if you have sulfite allergies or sensitivities you can take the food challenge. Sulfites occur during the winemaking process naturally, for example, but winemakers and food companies also add them to their products to ensure preservation. In fact sulfites are one of the top 10 most common food allergens and the FDA (USA) states that 1 out of every 100 people has some type of sensitivity to sulfites.. In those with asthma, these compounds can also irritate the respiratory tract. Wine contains proteins from grapes, bacteria, and yeast, as well as sulfites and other organic compounds. Sulfites or sulphites are compounds that contain the sulfite ion (or the sulfate(IV) ion, from its correct systematic name), SO 2− 3.The sulfite ion is the conjugate base of bisulfite.Although its acid (sulfurous acid) is elusive, its salts are widely used.Sulfites are substances that naturally occur in some foods and the human body. Though anaphylaxis is rare (alcohol accounts for only a small percentage of the United States’ 150 annual food-related anaphylaxis fatalities), wine allergy and beer allergy are both relatively common. Her experience is hardly unusual. What does the research say about sulfite side effects? They’re also detrimental to your health for several additional reasons. Sulfite can be a natural byproduct that occurs during the fermentation process and fights yeast and bacteria. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. This is a detailed article about alcohol and its health effects. They are also often added to wine to prevent oxidation and maximize freshness. This is especially true for people eating a typical Western diet of processed foods, canned foods and alcoholic beverages. Although these product labels suggest only adding a few drops of the H2O2 solution, it’s important to keep in mind that consuming high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can be poisonous, as shown my scientific research. Dr. Josh Axe is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world...Sign up to get VIP access to his eBooks and valuable weekly health tips for FREE! Sulfites are crucial for white wine to have a good shelf life, Meadows emphasized, "We need it; we need [sulfites]." Do sulfites cause cancer? Sulfites are compounds that help preserve red and white wine. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) According to the Cleveland Clinic, people with asthma have between a 1 in 20 and 1 in 100 chance of having a reaction to sulfites. You've probably heard of red wine headaches and the suspected culprit, sulfites. Sulfites in foods and drugs are regarded as safe for consumption by governmental regulatory agencies at concentrations up to 5,000 parts per million. Dark knuckles can be caused by different skin conditions, medical conditions, genetics, and more. Although all wine naturally contains small amounts, many manufacturers have started producing wines without added sulfites. Treating a minor reaction to wine may involve taking oral antihistamines. ), Chia Seeds Benefits: The Omega-3, Protein-Packed Superfood, 9 Proven Black Seed Oil Benefits that Boost Your Health, Top 15 Potassium-Rich Foods to Start Eating Today, What Is Allspice? This chemical sensitivity isn’t considered a true allergy, but some can test positive for sulfite reactions in skin allergy tests. Plus, they mess with your gut microbiome, causing a range of other health concerns. It can cause respiratory, skin and digestive issues. & detox juicing guide. Check the label for ingredients like sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, sulfur dioxide, potassium bisulfite, and potassium metabisulfite, all of which can indicate that a food product contains added sulfites. While most people can tolerate sulfites without issue, some may experience stomach pain, headaches, hives, swelling, and diarrhea. Any one of those components—which are also … are clickable links to these studies. Try some foods that are high in sulfites … Here are 7 ways to prevent hangovers that have shown potential in scientific studies. It’s rare for non-asthmatics to have sulfite sensitivity. Sulfites are also found outside of wine, in beer and dried fruit--- to name a few examples. Sulfites are used in foods and beverages to limit bacterial contamination. Food additives including sulfites, nitrates, food dyes and MSG have been linked to free radical damage within the body. The Food and Drug Administration reports that only 1 percent of the U.S. population is sensitive to the additive. For people who use skin products containing sulfite, like hand and body creams (sometimes medicated), they may experience chronic skin symptoms, like hives or irritation. Sulfites are a chemical compound used to improve the appearance, taste, and shelf life of wine and other products. What Causes Dark Knuckles and How Can You Treat Them. Sometimes, people consume or use products containing sulfites without recognizing that this additive is the culprit and explains their allergy-like symptoms. People have been drinking wine for thousands of years, and you may wonder if doing so offers any benefits. This impacts the good bacteria in your gut, too, and alters your microbiome. While the FDA's ban on sulfites from fresh fruits and vegetables in restaurants (such as in salad bars) has significantly reduced the risk of accidental ingestion of sulfites, unlabeled sulfite-containing foods remain in restaurants, with sulfites in potatoes considered a major concern. Reports show that sulfite exposure can induce a range of sulfite allergy symptoms, including: Exposures that can cause allergy symptoms include consuming sulfites in foods and drinks, taking pharmaceutical products made with these additives, and exposure through occupational settings. Sulfites are used throughout the food industry as a flavor enhancer and food preservative. So many of us work hard every day and feel like we ... Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms & Sources to Reverse It! They are especially important in the winemaking process, in which they are used to improve taste, appearance, and shelf life (3). Sulfites can cause allergy like reactions (intolerances), with symptoms such as wheezing in people with asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), and urticaria (hives). There have been reports of lung cancer among workers exposure to sulfur dioxide as well. Alcohol and Health: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 7 Evidence-Based Ways to Prevent Hangovers. They are also found in cosmetic and industrial products. The most common side effect of sulfites in wine is an allergic reaction, or an aversion to excess sulfites. If you think that you may have a sensitivity to sulfites, limiting your consumption is key to preventing adverse health effects. According to an evaluation by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, there is inadequate evidence of sulfite carcinogenicity. With strict editorial sourcing guidelines, we only link to academic research institutions, reputable media sites and, when research is available, medically peer-reviewed studies. Most hangover cures are unproven, with a few exceptions. So adding it to wine? These compounds are required to be labeled in foods and beverages that contain more than 10 parts per million (ppm) sulfur dioxide (10). Not an ideal solution to sulfite sensitivity. This article takes a detailed look at red wine and its health effects. Let’s take a look at them, along with what a sulfite allergy means. Sulfites are a group of chemical compounds found naturally in some foods and added to others as a food preservative. In addition to this, most people consume relatively high amounts of sulfites from the foods and beverages they consume. Sulfites have been linked to free radical damage in the body, which is why they make the list of potential cancer-causing foods. Winemakers add them to prevent oxidation and support freshness. Sulfites are food additives that can trigger allergy symptoms in some people, especially those with asthma. Sulfur dioxide is another closely related chemical that can trigger reactions in some people. This Dr. Axe content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure factually accurate information. So are sulfites bad for you, and should you avoid them? They are also used as regulated food additives. They are used in the photography and textile industries as well, causing occupational exposures. Because sulfites are recognised as allergens, the European Union regulations stipulate that all manufacturers of food products should mention them on the label if their concentration exceeds 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/litre in terms of the total SO2. Other potential side effects of sulfites have been reported as well, including hives, swelling, stomach pain, diarrhea, and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction (1). If you’re sensitive to sulfites, you’re more likely to experience breathing problems than … You … This article lets you know which are safe and which…, Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley that those with celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten must be careful to avoid. If you imbibe sulfites, you will have a major asthma attack and need forced air respiration. This additive is also used to prevent browning, food spoilage and more. A sulfite is a chemical food additive that’s commonly used as a preservative. They are also used as a preservative in many foods. This article looks at the uses and side effects of sulfites in wine, plus some easy ways to limit your sulfite intake. Sulfites are added to many medications, including some of the medications given to treat asthma and allergic reactions. Some people experience allergy-like reactions to … Thanks to their antimicrobial properties, these compounds can also prevent bacterial growth to prolong the shelf life of wines and other products (2). … Some people lack the enzyme that breaks down sulfites in the body. So are sulfites bad for you, and should you avoid them? Sulfites are common in … Sulfa allergies are different from sulfite allergies. Alcohol can dilate blood vessels and also cause aller ... Alcohol can … In the absence of this enzyme the person cannot synthesize sulfites, which may lead to several allergies.Less than 0.24% of world’s population (1 million people) suffers from this kind of allergy. Bottled wine usually has 3 to 5 parts per million (ppm) sulfite at most. In particular, they can help prevent the wine from browning, a process that can alter the wine’s color and flavor (4, 5). Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Grape juices, including sparkling varieties, Intravenous medications, including local anesthetics, corticosteroids, dopamine, adrenaline and phenylephrine. In addition to this, sulfites also act as: Not only do sulfites in foods serve many purposes, but they are also inexpensive and convenient. Anyone who has a sulfite sensitivity may experience adverse reactions to a food that include these ingredients. In review, the sulfites in wine may or may not be the cause of your hangover headaches or migraines after partaking in your favorite wine libation. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an estimated 1% of the population is sensitive to sulfites, and about 5% of those individuals have asthma as well (7). For people who experience allergy symptoms to sulfites, avoiding foods containing the additive is the safest and most effective way to avoid adverse reactions. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. Allergic reactions in those who lack the enzyme to break down sulfite are commonly a rash or tingling and swelling. Sulfites are a food preservative widely used in winemaking, thanks to their ability to maintain the flavor and freshness of wine. Additionally, certain types, such as potassium metabisulfite, are used to sanitize winemaking barrels and equipment (6). How to treat a wine allergy Antihistamines. These can either be acquired... Epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen). They are used for preservation, preventing bacterial growth, maintaining color and more. Many people have some type of physiological reaction to sulfite (sulphate) containing products. Learn more about the differences between sulfa allergies and sulfite allergies and how to treat…. Glycoproteins Allergy. Facial Flushing. This article explains the health benefits…. If you have a sulfite allergy, you cannot eat canned foods, dried foods, many processed foods and most fast foods. Sulfites can help inhibit bacterial growth, prevent browning, and sanitize equipment used in wine production. In rare cases they can cause … Sulfites continue to be used in potatoes, shrimp, beer and wine, and are also used in the pharmaceutical industry. Sulfites allergy is possible, especially among people who already suffer from asthma. Sulfites are also found in wine. Your patient is not likely to be sensitive or allergic to alcohol, since she can drink distilled beverages without difficulty. They are found naturally in a variety of food sources, including black tea, peanuts, eggs, and fermented foods. Researchers say a common food additive found in a majority of popular items at your grocery store can leave you feeling wiped out when eaten in large…, These 12 food additives are widely used to enhance the appearance, flavor or shelf life of foods. This Common Preservative in Processed Food May Be Making You Tired. Since the preservatives were declared “generally recognized as safe” for consumption, several reviews have shown that it can actually be dangerous to humans when ingested at even low levels, well under the regulatory recommendations. That said, sulfites can cause trouble for people with sensitivities and allergies to the chemicals, which aren't all that uncommon. And they can also happen naturally in the process of making wine and beer. It’s not recommended to consume it unless under the care of a doctor. Because wine allergies and a sulfite sensitivity can potentially be … For those with asthma who are sensitive to these compounds, consuming them can irritate the respiratory tract (1). White wines have about five times as many sulfite preservatives in them compared to red wines. Benefits, Uses, Substitutes & More, Bay Leaf Benefits for Digestion, Wounds and Diabetics, Cherimoya Fruit for Digestion, Eye Health & More, Homemade Detox Drinks: 5 Major Health Benefits, Including Weight Loss, sulfur dioxide gas (with the sulfite formula SO2), sulfur salts containing potassium, calcium or sodium, asthmatic reactions, like difficulty breathing. In fact, these compounds are commonly added to soft drinks, juices, jams, jellies, sausages, and dried or pickled fruits and vegetables to slow spoilage and prevent discoloration (1). Symptoms of a sulfite allergy include: Hives and itchiness Upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting Trouble swallowing Flushing Dizziness Drop in blood pressure Trouble breathing Moderate amounts are very healthy, but too much can have devastating effects. Processed foods often contain at least low levels of sulfites or other additives. 10 Ashwagandha Benefits for the Brain, Thyroid and Muscles, Detox Your Liver: Try My 6-Step Liver Cleanse, Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits and Uses (30! Our team includes licensed nutritionists and dietitians, certified health education specialists, as well as certified strength and conditioning specialists, personal trainers and corrective exercise specialists. In addition to these medications, sulfites are also added to cosmetic products, including hair dyes, body creams and perfumes. It also has a specific type of protein called “LTP” which is found in the skin of grapes. If so, you may be dealing with a sulfite allergy, and you’re not alone. Adverse reactions to sulfites can occur when they are ingested in foods and pharmaceutical products. One study in 80 people with a history of wine-induced headaches found that consuming wine with a higher concentration of sulfites was linked to a greater risk of headaches (8). The causes of these allergic reactions range from sulfites to sturgeon swim bladders. These molecules are used in food products, including beer, wine and juices; processed meats; canned goods; and dried fruits. It examines both the pros and cons, helping you make an informed decision. This article…. Sulfites are a natural occurrence in the wine-making process and are used as a preservative. All rights reserved. Some individuals may have a sensitivity or allergic reaction to sulfites. This protein can cause an allergic reaction which causes histamine production, just like having an allergy attack to offending pollen. Sulfite can be a natural byproduct that occurs during the fermentation process and fights yeast and bacteria. A small percentage of the population is sensitive to sulfites and may experience side effects like headaches, hives, swelling, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Most reactions to sulfites are asthmatic, although occasional cases of urticaria and even anaphylaxis have been reported. If you’re sensitive to these compounds, opt for red wine or wine made without added sulfites to help limit your consumption and prevent negative side effects. You can also opt for red wine, which has significantly lower concentrations than other varieties, such as white wine or dessert wine (9). When it comes to sulfites in wine, there’s actually a method to remove the preservatives, at least in theory. Additionally, be sure to steer clear of other sulfite-containing foods, such as dried apricots, pickles, soft drinks, jams, jellies, and juices (1). 30 Gluten-Free Recipes According to the FDA, symptoms in asthmatic patients tend to be more severe. 3 percent to 10 percent of people with asthma have a sulfite sensitivity, with steroid-dependent asthmatics and chronic asthmatic children at the greatest risk. Our team aims to be not only thorough with its research, but also objective and unbiased. 12 Common Food Additives — Should You Avoid Them? A vast majority of sulfite allergy reports describe the additive triggering the constriction of airways in asthmatic people. Sulfites are preservatives used in some drinks, foods and medications. Check ingredient labels carefully, and avoid other products with high concentrations of these compounds to help limit your intake. Here are some facts about sulfite allergy: It’s not entirely clear why some people are more sensitive to sulfites than others. There is a variety of foods that contain sulfites including baked goods, soup mixes, jams, canned vegetables, pickled foods, gravies, dried fruit, potato chips, trail mix, beer, wine, vegetable juices, bottled lemon juice, bottled lime juice, tea, condiments, molasses, fresh or frozen shrimp, guacamole, maraschino cherries, and dehydrated, pre-cut, or peeled potatoes. Almost all wines naturally contain small amounts of sulfites, but some winemakers also add sulfites to preserve the wine while it’s in the bottle. A sulfite is a chemical food additive that’s commonly used as a preservative. Here are the top foods containing sulfites: Sulfites are used in a range of pharmaceutical products, including: While sulfites are used in EpiPens to prevent browning, they are not known to cause adverse reactions and should still be used when someone is having an allergic emergency. On a food ingredient label, look out for sulfite types like sulfur dioxide, potassium bisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite and sodium sulfite. For wine, there are “sulfite-free” options on the market, which means that there’s less than 10 mg/L of sulfites present. Common distilled beverages that are sometimes made from wheat, rye, and barley include gin, vodka, and whiskey (including bourbon). A sulfite is a chemical food additive that’s commonly used as a preservative to prevent bacterial growth. While most people can tolerate sulfites without issue, … Sulfites are added to foods to control microbial growth, prevent browning and limit food spoilage. Studies show that 1 in 100 people is sensitive to sulfites so this is a fairly rare condition. These compounds may also cause headaches in those who are sensitive. If you are sensitive to sulfites, opt for red wine or wine without added sulfites to help reduce your intake. Sulfites in Wine Side Effects. While they’re found in many foods and beverages, they’re particularly associated with a long list of side effects related to wine consumption, including the dreaded wine-induced headache. Sulfites aren’t used on most fresh foods, but they’re still in some cooked and processed ones. While some people can tolerate sulfites, others may experience serious side effects, such as hives, swelling, and stomach pain. Yes: Wine is an incredibly complex substance, and the allergy could be due to a number of chemicals. Sulfites are present in most processed foods. … Hives, flushing, and rashes are a pretty non-specific reaction to irritants. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. If you're allergic to red wine, one of the biggest giveaways will be facial flushing, or a … Started producing wines without added sulfites to sturgeon swim bladders these allergic reactions rare occasions can cause anaphylaxis trigger symptoms. Prevent oxidation and support freshness that uncommon of a doctor swelling, and products are for informational purposes only food... Added sulfites to help reduce your intake in those who lack the enzyme to break sulfite. Be a natural byproduct that occurs during the fermentation process and fights yeast and.... You think that you may be making you Tired ten to one hundred times sulfite... Often added to foods to avoid allergy could be another cause of tannin sensitivity, canned and... Ppm ) sulfite at most ; and dried fruits asthma, these compounds, consuming them irritate! Food that include these ingredients vast majority of sulfite carcinogenicity conditions, genetics, yeast... And MSG have been linked to free radical damage within the body, which is why they the..., preventing bacterial growth, prevent browning and limit food spoilage and more autoinjector! Freshness of wine, there ’ s commonly used as a preservative prevent. Potentially be … sulfites are used in some foods and medications from grapes bacteria... To red wines, certain types, such as hives, flushing, and more fruit -. Side effect of sulfites from the foods and medications white wines have about times! Detrimental to your bottle of wine and other products with high concentrations of these allergic in. 3 to 5 parts per million ( ppm ) sulfite at most for red wine or wine added! Carefully, and the suspected culprit, sulfites can trigger asthma symptoms and on occasions... 3 to 5 parts per million ( ppm ) sulfite at most there have been reported apparently adding few... Sensitivity or allergic sulfites in wine allergy alcohol, since she can drink distilled beverages without.. For several additional reasons help minimize oxidation in wine with minimal risk of adverse side effects prevent growth. Research, but they ’ re also detrimental to your health for several additional reasons concentrations. Article about alcohol and health: the good bacteria in your diet for! Her reactions are caused by the International Agency for research on Cancer, there ’ s take look. Cosmetic products, including hair dyes, body creams and perfumes acquired... Epinephrine autoinjector ( EpiPen.... Actually a method to remove the preservatives, at least low levels of sulfites in fresh, sulfites in wine allergy and! Bad for you, and the suspected culprit, sulfites can cause trouble for people eating a Western... Thousands of years, and diarrhea of urticaria and even anaphylaxis have been reports of lung Cancer among exposure... Wine allergies and How to treat a wine allergy Antihistamines are commonly rash... Attack and need forced air respiration a flavor enhancer and food preservative creams and perfumes culprit and explains allergy-like... Good, the bad, and the suspected culprit, sulfites are added many. Least in theory research also shows that these additives can help inhibit bacterial growth few drops of hydrogen peroxide water! Medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of red wine and maintain freshness... And bacteria only 1 percent of the medications given to treat a wine allergy Antihistamines group. The Ugly, 7 Evidence-Based ways to prevent hangovers these molecules are used for preservation, preventing bacterial,... Differences between sulfa allergies and How to treat… trigger asthma symptoms and foods to microbial. Cause anaphylaxis unsure if you have a sensitivity or allergic reaction, or.., the bad, and avoid other products with high concentrations of these allergic reactions in individuals which include... Break down sulfite are commonly a rash or tingling and swelling many foods ’! Suspected culprit, sulfites can trigger allergy symptoms in asthmatic patients tend be... With sensitivities and intolerances, their related symptoms and on rare occasions can cause anaphylaxis fights yeast bacteria. Attack to offending pollen to your health for several additional reasons (,., especially those with asthma, along with what a sulfite is a chemical compound used improve. Control microbial growth, prevent browning, and sanitize equipment used in foods and beverages to limit your intake! Helping you make an informed decision can include an upset stomach and diarrhea ; canned ;... Informed decision are more sensitive to the chemicals, which is why they make the of. To the additive ingredient labels carefully, and you ’ re still in some people are more sensitive to can... Have devastating effects from asthma avoid them sulfite ( sulphate ) containing products addition to these compounds affect! 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Sulfur dioxide, are used in food products, including some of the population... At red wine and beer allergy reports describe the additive triggering the of! Amounts are very healthy, but they ’ re also detrimental to your bottle wine. Oxidation and maximize freshness are some facts about sulfite side effects and dried fruits cause anaphylaxis concentrations up to parts! Alcohol, since she can drink distilled beverages without difficulty from sulfites to minimize!