My Sulfite Story Part I
Singapore, January 2, 2011. One of those important days in my life which I have added into my health puzzle diary. The day when my sulfite issues were confirmed. An anaphylactic reaction from a prosecco kiss. Not the best start for a New Year, but at least this diagnosis gave me some answers. And of course my head was full of questions I needed to get the answers. For how long I had been suffering from sulfite issues and were sulfites behind all of my health problems? What I need to change in my diet/life? Is there a cure for this or do I need to avoid sulfites rest of my life?
My diet was already pretty clean in this point. I wasn’t eating any precessed foods, I made all my food from scratch. I did used unrefined cane sugar, and certain gluten free flours/starches in my baking. I am gluten- and mushroom free since 2000. I am allergic to shrimps, but since I had an anaphylactic reaction from fish in 2003 I was avoiding all fish and shellfish. I am allergic to all legumes like beans, peas, soy and peanuts. I did more allergy tests in 2007 and after finding out that I am IgE allergic to corn, barley, baker’s and brewer’s yeast, malt, eggs I had cleaned all those from my diet as well. I was reacting to many vegetables like celery, bell peppers, onions, anything from cabbage family etc. I wasn’t able to tolerate many fruits. And I also reacted to the food smells, which made all these food related ‘allergies’ even more complicated, since it limited my life a lot. As a child I was only allergic to banana, and that allergy was confirmed at the same time in 2002 when my shrimp-allergy. But I have had many different so called food intolerances, and I was almost always avoiding some foods. Dairy in one point, tree nuts next, chicken next time, then some other vegetables etc. Shortly: my food intolerances were every time different when I did the test.
I hardly ate out since I was reacting to so many foods, and already in that point I had cut out almost all social drinking since the ‘hangovers’ after a couple of glass wine lasted three days.
After getting over from this sulfite hangover, which wasn’t just from the prosecco, but also from the medicines, I started to do some serious research with Google. Key words being sulfite and sulphite, because this lovely poison actually is written in two different ways in English. Of course I also did some research in Finnish and Italian, but didn’t find enough useful information in that point. One word kept coming out from my research and that was a trace mineral called Molybdenum. It is one of the key nutrients which is used by SUOX, sulfite oxidase enzyme/gene. (Aldehyde oxidase and Xanthine oxidase are also two other Molybdenum dependent enzymes. More about these two in other posts.) For me Molybdenum is as essential as clean water, without it I don’t know for how long I would survive.
Finding the Molybdenum from Singapore was a mission impossible, and I wasn’t familiar with Iherb back then. Now I am a Iherb’s VIP customer. This trace mineral is not available as a single supplement in Singapore and it is only available added in multivitamins. Well, that wasn’t much help for me, since all the multivitamins contain something I react. But then there are always foods high in Molybdenum? Well, yes there are, but I was reacting to almost all of those foods except to cucumbers, and there is just a certain limit how much cucumbers you can eat and drink per day.
Luckily I was flying soon to Italy and I asked my mum to send some Molybdenum for me. Molybdenum wasn’t available in Italy either as a single supplement back then. I haven’t even checked if it is as today, since my love relationship with this brand of Finnish Molybdenum, made by Naturamedia has only grown during these almost 3 years I have taken it daily. Of course I have also tried many other brands, some of them being excellent, but sometimes there is something with your first love which keeps you hooked, and I wouldn’t change this brand of Molybdenum to anything else since it works so well for me.
So when I took my first Molybdenum tablet in Italy, January 26, 2011, I was so excited that now I would feel better. I was aiming right away the moon, but I was left with a couple of stars. My asthma like cough stopped immediately, that was probably one of the best things I noticed. At least I wasn’t annoying people around me with my constant cough and wheezing, but I wasn’t able to add any new foods back to my diet and I was disappointed,
After removing all the possible foods with added sulfites and of course those which I was reacting due to the allergies and intolerances I was left with only a few things to eat. I know there are other people who can eat even less foods and different foods, so there is actually no safe list which will fit for everyone.
My diet was pretty boring back then, but it kept me alive, and even though I wasn’t totally symptom free I was feeling somehow ok. I still hadn’t figured out all my health issues and that’s why my health wasn’t improving even though I was totally sulfite free and I was limiting my sulfur intake, but I wasn’t taking all the right supplements either.
My safe food list contained also foods high in thiols/sulfur. High in thiols/sulfur=H, low in thiols/sulfur=L .
Almost all the foods I ate were organic. Oils/fat doesn’t contain proteins, so no sulfur amino acids in those. And luckily I was able to use different types of oils/fats, because those really change how a certain foods taste.
My food list during sulfite -elimination diet:
Chicken (free range, hormone- and antibiotic free) (L)
Hazelnuts, raw with skin (L)
Almonds, raw with skin (L)
Extra virgin Coconut oil (None)
Coconut flour (L)
Coconut milk, cream, without any additives (L)
Coconut water, fresh whole coconuts, not the pre-cut which does contain sulfites (L)
Flax seeds, light brown colour (ground) (L)
Chia seeds (L)
Hemp seed oil (None)
Extra Virgin Olive oil (None)
Unsalted butter, grass-fed, no additives or added vitamins (L)
Walnut oil (None)
Yoghurt, plain without any additives, gluten, sugar, thickeners, preservatives, no sugar-substitutes, no E-codes etc. (H)
Fresh cheese made from raw goat’s milk (maybe once a week) (H)
Grapefruit, also the fruit meat not just the juice (L)
Lemon, only the fresh juice (L)
Sweet potatoes, orange ones (L)
Brown rice, only a couple of times per week (L)
Himalaya salt (L)
Coffee, only organic (H)
Chocolate, only organic. (H)
Safe brands of bottled water (L)
I tried to rotate these foods as well as I could, but it didn’t work out and in one point I needed to leave out hazelnuts, almonds, coconut products except the oil, yoghurt and grapefruit because I had developed an intolerance to these foods.
The chocolate I was able to tolerate was made with organic cane sugar, and of course it was only a treat not a food I ate a lot. I tried to cut out coffee and drink green tea, but it made me feel even worse. After doing 23andme test I knew why.
But due to the sulfite issues cleaning and changing my diet wasn’t the only thing I needed to do. I needed to change almost all my personal care products, beauty products, laundry detergents, cleaning detergents etc. But that is an other story.
My story will continue in Part II…