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Reader reports from the Food Intolerance Network
("benzoate","210”, 211” keywords only)
 Asthma: hospital admissions - from one per week to one per year (March 2011)
First, I have to thank you for the work you have done. It is just over 3 years since I first picked up a copy of Fed Up with Asthma after my then 16 month old son was diagnosed. The medication did not seem to be working as it should, and I knew there was something else going on. He has major difficulties with sulphites, MSG and flavour enhancers (and natural glutamates) and benzoates (although we still avoid all preservatives and artificial colours because we are used to it now!), and after seeing an allergist and finding a nut allergy as well, all the pieces fit together. He is now a happy and healthy little boy about to start pre-school, whose nut al ergies have been decreasing over the last two years - in fact his peanut allergy is totally gone - and has gone from one hospital admission a week to one every 8-12 months. We truly thank you, because it was your book that put us on the right track. Clare, NSW
 Toothpaste for sensitive teeth (August 2009)
I’ve been doing a little research about the ingredients in the available toothpaste options for sensitive teeth – they all contain colours and flavours, and about half also contain two benzoate preservatives (which give me throat clearing/coughing for at least an hour afterwards). Most of them contain Potassium Nitrate as the active ingredient. I think this chemical is causing me to feel extremely unmotivated, disinterested in life, sometimes depressed.– by email, Vic. (Potassium nitrate is preservative 252, one of our nasty additives to avoid. It is even used in a particular brand of sensitive toothpaste labelled rather misleadingly “no added preservatives”. See th See also a Nitrates - Alzheimers link in Research, For prevention of sensitive teeth, see
 Thrush and a preserved herbal drink (June 2009)
I am interested in the possible effects of sodium benzoate. I note that this preservative is used in an aloe vera drink. When I increased my dose of the aloe vera drink, it was around the same time that I developed a case of candida. [Aloe vera contain salicylates, so it could be a combination of the salicylates in the drink drink as well as sodium benzoate preservative which is chemically very similar to salicylates.] - by email
 Heart symptoms from benzoates, bread preservative and sulphites (December 2008)
My 14-year-old son has Aspergers syndrome. He experiences arrhythmia and severe heart palpitations every time he consumes any additives 211, 282, 220 etc. If he has been free from these additives for over two weeks then he wil get away with the first exposure and then it accumulates and gets worse. We saw a heart specialist and he found no problems, just blaming it on anxiety. He
also gets more aggressive and violent once it accumulates. . like Jekyll and Hyde. Sadly it is so hard to convince and be believed by doctors and his psychiatrist that these additives affect him. – Therese, by email
 210: Croup, asthma, behaviour related to benzoates or sulphites (November 2008)
My daughter ended up with croup and asthma from doing the sulphite chal enge and that she also ended up with croup, asthma and a chest infection from doing the lemonade (sodium benzoate 211) challenge. Her behaviour changed so much with the lemonade chal enge that her pre-school teacher asked me to stop the chal enge on the second day. This stil resulted in high behaviour and many other conflicts with anyone she was around, very short fuse amongst other things – reader, Qld
 210: Severe reaction to a chromium supplement with unlisted benzoate (February 2008)
I recently purchased a bottle of liquid Chromium Picolinate supplement which I was told contained water and the mineral. I took 1ml of the liquid with my lunch - 5ml is the correct dose but I always need to be cautious. Within 10 mins I started to feel spaced out and then over the next 2 hours had blurred vision, heart palpitations, was disorientated and needed to lie down. My tongue and throat had the feeling of swelling and breathing was slightly laboured. After a few hours my joints became swollen, inflamed and painful.
My husband phoned the telephone number on the bottle to see if there was anything added to the liquid other than those things stated on the bottle. He was told that it has a preservative in it cal ed Methyl Paraben or Methyl 4-Hydroxbenzoate [preservative 218]. There is nothing on the bottle to suggest this.
I am intolerant of many preservatives, additives, salicylates and amines etc. but never before have I had such and quick and violent reaction. Today 24 hours later I'm feeling much better but certainly nothing like normal.
My reason for writing is that the firm did not take any responsibility for not having the bottle labelled, were unconcerned about my condition and refuse to credit us the price of the product which cost $16.50. To whom can I write and complain about this appalling breach of labelling and also warn others of its danger? [answer:Consumer Adverse Medication Events Line: Ph 1300 134 237, – by email
 From ‘severe inattentive ADD’ to ‘normal’ due to diet (November 2007)
In 2006 my quiet 7 year old daughter was diagnosed by her paediatrician as having severe inattentive ADD. He offered Ritalin to help the symptoms. I was not comfortable giving her this as a first step because in the 2 weeks since our last appointment I had read 10 books and scanned the net. A common theme kept coming up. If your child has an intolerance to a food group there is a likelihood of more than one intolerance which can lead to behavioural issues. I felt I had to investigate this before trying medication because we already knew she had a dairy intolerance as a baby.
I chose to fol ow the Fed Up elimination diet by Sue Dengate. Fol owing are the results when food groups or additives were re introduced.
Colours - anger followed by tears, inattention, lack of concentration, memory loss, head banging and rocking
MSG/635/Glutamates - nausea and stomach cramps
Antioxidants (310-312, 319-320) - nightmares and trouble going to sleep and staying asleep
Propionates 282 - bedwetting and daytime bladder control issues
Dairy - nausea, stomach cramping, diarrhea, inattention, fatigue
It has been 14 months since adapting to my daughter’s dietary needs. She has been reassessed for ADD with a normal out come. Her school work has progressed. She is able to concentrate. She can tie her shoes, hold a knife and fork, remember her phone number, ride a bike, and skip a rope. She is able to follow multiple directions and hold attention to the task at hand. She has friends. We have also discovered she is a budding artist.
Through dietary changes we helped many of our daughter’s physical and behavioral issues including fatigue, tearfulness, emotional outbursts, inattention, lack of short term memory, lack of application at school, bedwetting, vaginal irritation, rash, insatiable appetite, imbalance and clumsiness (she could not ride a bike, skip, hop), nausea and stomach cramps.
My daughter did not need medication. She has food intolerances. As grandma said ‘Whatever you are doing keep doing it. She is a different child’ - Trudi, NSW
 Covered in eczema at age of three (January 2007)
By the time she was three, my daughter was covered in eczema and watching videos al day as she couldn’t keep up with other children. We now have a healthy five-year- old after one year on the diet. Her energy improved within three weeks of starting the diet. Reading your book was a comfort as I thought I knew lots about al ergy and eczema. She had been on the healthiest foods: wheat free, sugar free, chiropractors, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, biocom, skin specialists …
I was exhausted and pretty fed up when I started learning about failsafe foods. One year on we have a clear picture of what we can have and it is expanding every month. Sulphites, benzoates and salicylates are our main problems, but we stay off any preservatives and colours. Thank you for helping us. Reading your book helped me feel not so alone and laugh at some of the crazy mistakes I made. – by email, South Australia
 210: Cough and asthma from benzoates in cough medication (March 2006)
Since the age of two I have seen a pattern develop in my daughter Jaslyn whereby she gets a cough every time she gets a cold. If I treat her with cough medicine the cough persists and becomes chronic, sometimes lasting weeks and causing great distress. In the worst episode two years ago she developed a serous asthma type wheeze with obvious distress and difficulty breathing after drinking soft drink – which she rarely has – and taking cough medicine.
Since them we have discovered that her symptoms and cough are greatly lessened if we do nothing when she has a cold and let it take its course. What we have found for the past two winters is that now if she gets a cold she will get a cough but it will last only for one or two nights if we do not give her any cough medicine. We have a strong family history of allergies and asthma and although I was aware of avoiding sulfites and preservatives in her food I was not aware of the use of benzoates in medicines. I realise now that the benzoate preservatives in cold medicines exacerbate my daughter’s symptoms and turn her persistent cough into difficulty in breathing and asthma like symptoms. – Julie Eady
 210: Benzoates are his worst enemy (March 2006)
My 4.5yr old son has been our biggest chal enge. Al his problems are proving to be food related – it’s amazing. His issues are aggression, ODD, poor impulse control, argumentative, continual congestion and ear infections (2 lots of grommets), continual rashes, blotches, sore tummies, burning anus, bloating, bedwetting etc, all of which are being control ed now by diet. We had been giving him decongestants, antihistamines, nasal sprays and antibiotics since the day I stopped breastfeeding him at 6 months . He was a wild little boy but we've now found out that benzoates are his worst enemy. His nose his dry now and needs no medication. – by email, NSW
 Stuttering related to preservatives and salicylates (March 2006)
My 9 year old son started stuttering when he was around 4 years old. He seemed to be sensitive to preservatives especial y 211 and I have steered clear of this preservative, but a few weeks ago his stuttering came back in ful force, around the same time I had apple juice in the house. He is a big juice addict, and thinking back, has always had juice, either straight or diluted. I have always watched out for the preservatives in juice, and bread, but I now think he is intolerant to salicylates as well. I have changed all of his foods to failsafe foods, and his speech is now good. He has calmed down a bit as well.
 210: Benzoates in medication and stutter (March 2006)
My daughter is allergic to mosquitoes and while we were doing the elimination diet she was badly bitten. Our doctor recommended daily double doses of claratyne liquid. On the second day my daughter started to talk incessantly and stutter a little (this had previously been a problem months ago). Then on day 3 at daycare she became drunkish, social y withdrawn and stopped talking (selective mutism, although not gone, had improved on failsafe). The staff at daycare had been amazed to say the least about her improvement on the diet, so this was obvious. When my husband came home, he picked up the bottle of antihistamine and read the label, to my dismay it contained
sodium benzoate! Well, that went in the bin, we got claratyne tablets, she had a half, and the next day at daycare she was back to normal.
 210: Asthma and benzoates in medication (July 2005)
After hearing about sodium benzoate in asthma medication at your presentation recently I was a bit shocked, and sure enough it was there in my son’s medication - standard Ventolin Sugar Free Oral Liquid used for under fives. I talked to my GP about my son’s asthma and that the preservative that can cause asthma was in the medication and he was extremely shocked.
My son had suddenly developed asthma when he was two months old, just after his first immunisation shot - although at that age they don't call it asthma. When the asthma finally went away we got the second shot. After that he frequently stopped breathing and was on so much medication we took turns at sitting up with him through the night. Final y we decided that the medication wasn't working constantly enough and took him off it without tel ing the doctor – and our son slowly got better. He would still have small attacks on occasions so after my husband read your book he decided we should try diet. We noticed there was a difference when we found some sultanas that didn't contain sulphites. We were doing great and had almost six months free of any medication then last week our son developed an ear infection and was put on Amoxil antibiotics and Panadol for pain, both containing sodium benzoate. Within three days he had an asthma episode. After much enquiry I have found that sodium benzoate is in almost every single baby medication including pain medication (often along with artificial colours and flavours. Our pharmacist said that the small amount of sodium benzoate couldn't possibly create a reaction like asthma, it's unheard of, and as sodium benzoate is so effective as a preservative it is the most commonly used preservative in medication today and likely to be in the future. God help us!! – mother from Qld.
[See the article Asthma worsened by benzoate contained in some antiasthmatic drugs, by Balatsinou L and others, Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol, 2004 ;17(2):225-6: "Drug and food additives are known to induce pseudo-allergic reactions such as urticaria, eczema, asthma and rhinitis. These reactions are often under-diagnosed, above all in allergic patients treated with additive containing drugs. On the contrary, attention to the additives present in some drug formulations and foods may often permit more correct diagnosis."]
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