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Sulfites linked to UC flares (has anyone done more research on this?)

If you guys are like me, and I know you are, you go through periods of intense research looking into UC.

Has anyone read this article?  Do any of you have a sulfite allergy, or sulfite reactions?

Basically this study concluded that sulfites and caffeine are main triggers of UC flares.  The reason sulfites and caffeine cause flare ups is due to their anti-Thiamin properties.  Thiamin is important in feeding and maintaining the balance of our gut flora.  The study even lists what foods should be consumed weekly (in measurements of grams).

Sulfite intolerance is also common in Celiacs.

I had a serious flare (my first serious flare, after the disease worsened dramatically over the last year) in November and have been customizing my diet to mostly adhere to the SCD.  I eat a few illegal grains (Corn, Quinoa, Brown Rice, occasional sushi) with no issues (absolutely no gluten or refined sugars though) and will share more when I’ve figured out what is working for me and have been continuously symptom free for a much longer period.  I’ve been almost completely symptom free (no blood, 2-3 large healthy bms daily, sometimes small harder ones but always solid) for the last 3 months and have been off the prednisone for over 2.  I have been making a ton of homemade probiotics; yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut (but may discontinue the sauerkraut due to the large amounts of sulfites which I think may be bothering me).  I am on 2 Asacol HD ever 12 hours and 1 Canasa per day.  My girlfriend (not a UCer) seems to have a ton of Celiac symptoms, and I believe our previous (ridiculously high in gluten) diet over the last year before my flare had A LOT to do with it.

Thinking back I believe sulfites have always bothered me, especially in wine.  Anyone else notice a correlation?

11 thoughts on “Sulfites linked to UC flares (has anyone done more research on this?)”

  1. Absolutely! Caffeine, sulfites, MSG, alcohol, dairy, ….. all pure EVIL! Sugar & corn syrup not far behind either. Read up on the Candida / leaky gut syndrome / food allergy thing too. Good luck!

  2. Hey DeKay,

    awesome post, and awesome link to the NIH article. Fascinating(at least to me) thx for sharing it.

    About your question, I can clearly remember during my several year flare before my diagnosis, going to a dinner party and trying to be the man and putting back way to much sweet white wine, and any paying the price for days afterwards with heavy bleeding. and what was interesting was even though I had symptoms for years before that night, I never was sent so hard to the bathroom with such quickly increased severity of bleeding like after that night of wine drinking.(i rarely drank wine before that, and never do now)
    thx again,

  3. YES Wine truly aggravates this disease. I did not know about the sulfides, but i realized that wine was bad, so i dont touch alcohol now. Your link was very enlightening thank you.

  4. I found this interesting, “The sulfite-containing, alcoholic beverages; wines and beers, were associated with increased UC disease activity, but spirits were not, which suggests a role for sulfite rather than alcohol in the disease process”

    My question is, which spirits were not associated with increase UC activity? Any suggestions?

    IMO, I have found wine to have a somewhat, laxative effect – anyway – before I was diagnosed with UC, and of course – even more so, during what is my first “flare.”

    Its becoming more obvious to me, now, that if one has inflammation of any organ to any degree which may be interfering with your life, then its hard to see what, if any benefits alcohol would have in healing the body. I hate to say it, but it’s probably better to steer clear from alcohol, especially during a flare.

    1. Well I’m not so sure, red wine is supposed to have benefits heart wise and the more serious alcohols, Whisky, Gin, Brandy are likewise good at thinning the blood for someone with blood pressure. I personally, although not a serious drinker, find that Vodka has a soothing effect when suffering stomach cramps but really with UC, each of us is unique and what’s right for one may not be right for another.

  5. I’m confused as when I mentioned wine, more specifically red wine to one of my consultants he did not seem perturbed and said every *man has to have his treats.

    *I suspect ‘man’ includes women as I’m sure he would not wish to cause offence :-)

  6. Was diagnosed in Sept of 2010 with UC and was put on Asacol(asulfasalazine);I have a severe sulfa allergy and became very ill.UC symptoms lessened but random fevers of 101-103 , heart racing, and asthmatic like breathing began….with research and chats with the Rx I found I was slowly poisoning myself.Doc took me off the meds . If you truly have sulfa sensitivity you may want to revisit the pharmacology of Asacol.

  7. I responded to this awhile ago, I guess it put it in the spam folder for some reason. This is what I wrote:

    Denise, Thanks! I delved into researching all of those and am practically drowning in all of the information, haha. There’s so many different sides to every food/allergy/method of healing. It seems that there are always arguments for and against everything we could possible try and everything that could be making us feel worse. Right now I’m trying to figure out if some symptoms are candida die off or food intolerances. It’s a shame every thing that can possibly be wrong with you has the same symptoms.

    Hey Adam, thanks for the response! I owe so many of the things I’ve been implementing in my own diet and lifestyle to this site. I probably wouldn’t be feeling better without it. Thanks!

    J, Carageenan really is in a ton of stuff. I haven’t really noticed a reaction, but I’ve only had sushi rolls twice in the last 4 months.

    Uma, Yeah I’ve definitely always noticed that it irritated my stomache. I was trying to replace beer with an scd safe alternative, but it still seems to bother me.

    TammyBB, probably the other SCD safe alcohols would cause much less irritation. Although according to that study only the alcohols with sulfites (beer and wine) were associated with an increased chance of flare.

    Tony(UK), haha. With UC we probably have to be more particular about our treats.

    LBH, How long before you had those symptoms? I actually had a lot of those (heart racing, high bp, trouble breathing) prior and during the flare. Since cutting out gluten/refined sugar and limiting grains I’ve felt much better and haven’t really had any of those problems and I’ve been taking the asacol regularly. I relapsed slightly during the first month that I was on prednisone because I ran out of asacol for a week, but as soon as I got back on it the flare cleared up again. I definitely have to do some more reading on sulfa/sulfite allergy. I think I read somewhere that they’re similar but not the same? As in you may not necessarily have both?

    Thanks for the comments!

  8. I too suffer more if I have dairy! Which is a pain, as I have recently started to drink a lot more cups of tea! Also, there is caffeine in tea, isnt there….so obviously I am getting 2 bad things!
    I have a couple of cups of tea in the evening (once the kids are in bed) and within 30mins, my tummy is gurgling away, I feel bloated and have to rush to the loo several times!!
    I think I might stop the tea drinking and see if that makes things better!

  9. Yes, sulfites had me in a horrible cycle of IBS. I was so ill, I could not believe it. I could not leave home. My doctor is giving me Vitamin B shots to help build me up. I am finally feeling human. Also, pay attention to the Annatto in cheese, chips, ice cream, etc.. It caused me really bad IBS problems. I just found out that saccharin has sulfites too.

    Once I cut out the sulfites and Annatto, it was like someone turned off the switch and magically the IBS went away.

    I was sick from red dye #40 (from petroleum oil) in foods for 40+ years. I had migraines all of that time. Finally, no more migraines!

    I wish all of you so much luck on feeling better. I am 64 years old and finally feel better than any time in my whole life!!

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