Tuesday, August 18, 2009 sulfite sufferer, Community Member, asks

Q: sulfite allergies causing rapid heartbeat? what to do?

i am very healthy, no known allergies other than sulfite (1 glass of wine makes me lose my voice and my heart beats like crazy!) which has now spread to many foods, mainly when eating out. had everything checked by various specialists but none adressed the sulfite problem. wore a 1 month heart monitor and yes, very rapid heartbeat. now i take flecanide which does not help. my entire left side "vibrates" inside and the heart is racing, i cannot breath normally, can barley puff up the stairway and get dizzy to the point of blacking out. i have never had the sulfite allery confirmed but that is what i believe is ailing me. i feel if i could burp it would feel better. any suggestions?

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Answers (3)
CD, Community Member
11/15/09 12:52am

There are many websites relating sulfite allergy information, look at all of them.  Sulfites also cause my heart rate to accelerate, and I can get short of breath.  Here are some of the basic foods containing sulfites, which you must avoid:


corn starch, corn syrup, lemon juice concentrate, frozen/dried potatoes (including restaurant potatoes, such as french fries, only eat fresh potatoes), molasses (except unsulphured molasses, which the label will specify), caramel color, all vinegar (except distilled white vinegar and rice wine vinegar).  These things are found in so many foods it seems impossible to stay away from sulfites, but you can, you just have to really work at it.  Also, chocolate, dough conditioner, and cheese all contain sulfites (although cheese contains such low levels that it is barely noticeable to most people, but maybe you are just that sensitive--the older (aged) the cheese, the more sulfites it has, so buying fresh mozzarella compared to the processed kind might make a difference for you).


Hopefully by now you know the names of the sulfite additives, such as sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, sodium metabisulfite.  Basically, stay away from anything containing the words "sulfite" on the label. 


Oh, and grapes!  Stay away from grapes, including anything with grape juice or grape juice concentrate in it.  Although the FDA has banned sulfites on fresh produce, grapes are exempt from this, so long as only every other package contains sulfites (grapes have a history of being preserved with sulfites, which is why they are allowed to continue with it--it is tradition.  This is a little known, but true, fact.)


Also, biotin, found in most multivitamins, increase sulfites in your body.  Stay away from it.  As well as limiting garlic and onions, which are high in sulfur.  And stay away from MSM, a supplement sold at health food stores, supposed to be good for arthritis, but is pure sulfur.


Hope this helps, it only touches on everything, but at least it covers the basics.  And don't listen to the doctors if they poo poo your sulfite allergy, mine wouldn't listen, they thought I was crazy, but I stopped eating sulfites, and my life totally turned around for me.  It absolutely makes a difference.


Oh, one last thing, stay away from powdered sugar (which almost always is mixed with corn starch).  Be careful of sugar in general, stay away from it if you can.  The most pure sugar you can find is best, like organic cane sugar.  Hope this helps.

irishheather, Community Member
6/18/10 9:26am

The info in the response above is very acurate.

I have just been diagnosed with this horrible allergy and it's really super high maintenance.  I have the same symptoms as yours, but my allergy slowly accelerated to where it attacks my joints now and they freeze up with pain for a few days.  If you still want to commiserate with anyone, you can check out my new blog at http://winenot69.wordpress.com/

Good luck!

LINDA B., Community Member
1/15/13 9:20pm

My son has just been diagnosed with a blood disorder called Hemochromatosis and was told that his family should also get tested.  It is too much iron in the blood.  I have been alergic to iron since I was a kid.  It seems that palpatations are one of the side effects of what he has.  I know that I am alergic to sulfate and sulfite but my doctor is going to run blood tests in the morning.  The reason I mention it to you is that severe joint pain is one of the symptons.

Finally Free, Community Member
5/20/12 11:20am

I have always been very healthy, but began to experience bouts of irregular heartbeat and was diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation about 6 years ago (age 55). I got no useful help from the medical profession, other than a prescription to metoprolol (a beta blocker), which can help after the fact. My heart structure was found to be normal, but one doctor wanted me to consider invasive experimental surgery (thankfully I balked at this). About two years ago I realized that the problem was entirely due to sulphite additives in food, after I did extensive reading and undertook a lot of trial and error in diet. I have always enjoyed wine, nuts, seafood, fruit, and potatoes, which on their own are generally very healthy. I now always choose organic products in these categories, and look for explicit labels that they are without sulphites/preservatives. The added cost is worth every cent. There are only a few wines that I now will drink, because they are explicitly very low in sulphites. I am very careful when eating out. I am now virtually free of the problem! I wonder how many of the millions of cases of atrial fibrillation diagnosed in North America are actually due to this poisonous food additive.

LINDA B., Community Member
1/15/13 9:17pm

I totally agree with your self diagnostic.  I have found the same one on my own.

Not only have I rid my eating of sulfites, but I have rid my body of the same.

I have now found sulfate free shampoo, underarm deodrant, toothpaste, creams, makeup, etc.  What a difference!  We should be doctors.  My doctor just laughs at me.  But we know our own bodies.

LINDA B., Community Member
1/15/13 9:12pm

I have been having extremely strong palpitations for about 7 years and have been admitted into intensive care twice.  The doctors put me on several medications and Warfrain.  I started to keep a food diary.  I now know that if any food has any form of sulfate or sulfite I must at all cost avoid it.  I have also rid my body of any makeup, shampoo,toothpaste, underarm deodrant, etc. that has sulfates in it.  I have eliminated my episodes to about 98%.  Restaurants are a problem though because you never know.  For instance, I get it a lot when I eat Italian food and just thought it was something someone would put in Spagetti Sauce.  I went to the store the other day because I was going to cook spagetti and after checking all of the spagetti boxes, discovered only one that was sulfate free.  Buy Frey wine which contains no sulfates.  I read every single lable of everything that goes in or on my body.



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By sulfite sufferer, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/15/13, First Published: 08/18/09