Document Detail

Sulfite sensitivity: significance in human health.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8586770     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Endogenous sulfite is generated as a consequence of the body's normal processing of sulfur-containing amino acids. Sulfites occur as a consequence of fermentation and also occur naturally in a number of foods and beverages. As food additives, sulfiting agents were first used in 1664 and approved in the United States as long ago as the 1800s. With such long experience with their use, it is easy to understand why these substances have been regarded as safe. They are currently used for a variety of preservative properties, including controlling microbial growth, preventing browning and spoilage, and bleaching some foods. It is estimated that up to 500,000 (< .05% of the population) sulfite-sensitive individuals live in the United States. Sulfite sensitivity occurs most often in asthmatic adults--predominantly women; it is uncommonly reported in preschool children. Adverse reactions to sulfites in nonasthmatics are extremely rare. Asthmatics who are steroid-dependent or who have a higher degree of airway hyperreactivity may be at greater risk of experiencing a reaction to sulfite-containing foods. Even within this limited population, sulfite sensitivity reactions vary widely, ranging from no reaction to severe. The majority of reactions are mild. These manifestations may include dermatologic, respiratory, or gastrointestinal signs and symptoms. Severe nonspecific signs and symptoms occur less commonly. Broncho-constriction is the most common sensitivity response in asthmatics. The precise mechanisms of the sensitivity responses have not been completely elucidated. Inhalation of sulfur dioxide (SO2) generated in the stomach following ingestion of sulfite-containing foods or beverages, a deficiency in a mitochondrial enzyme, and an IgE-mediated immune response have all been implicated.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
M R Lester
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the American College of Nutrition     Volume:  14     ISSN:  0731-5724     ISO Abbreviation:  J Am Coll Nutr     Publication Date:  1995 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1996-03-28     Completed Date:  1996-03-28     Revised Date:  2008-06-23    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8215879     Medline TA:  J Am Coll Nutr     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  229-32     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Administration, Inhalation
Food Additives / adverse effects
Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology,  etiology*,  metabolism
Immunoglobulin E / metabolism,  physiology
Mitochondria / enzymology,  physiology
Oxidoreductases Acting on Sulfur Group Donors / metabolism,  physiology
Risk Factors
Sulfates / metabolism
Sulfites / adverse effects*,  metabolism
Sulfur Dioxide / adverse effects,  metabolism
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Food Additives; 0/Sulfates; 0/Sulfites; 37341-29-0/Immunoglobulin E; 7446-09-5/Sulfur Dioxide; EC 1.8.-/Oxidoreductases Acting on Sulfur Group Donors

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