Tuesday, July 31, 2012

14 Days to a Sneeze Free Home -- Day 10

Hidden Allergies....

Vitamins and your Pantry...

I have a feeling that food allergies are over-diagnosed these days and are wrongly made out to be the culprit for a lot of ailments.  On the other hand, some people truly do have very serious allergies to certain foods.  Besides, if avoiding a food works for you, who am I to say differently?

Some may also have other health reasons than an allergy for avoiding certain foods.  For example, I have a disease that attacks my thyroid.  Soy is thought to have a harmful effect on the thyroid.  So, to be on the safe side, I avoid soy when I can.  I also try to avoid MSG as both my parents have had a reaction to MSG.   I may hit the genetic jackpot on that one, but why take chances? 

Since I am no expert on food allergies, the focus of my series  "14 Days to a Sneeze Free Home" has been more slanted toward dust, pollen, dander, mold, and things that we can "clean" away.  However, I did learn something about a food concern recently that I thought was worth mentioning.

In researching my autoimmune disease, I came across something I had not even considered:  Most multivitamin/multimineral tablets and another of other nutritional supplements have enough soy in them that many suffers of thyroid disease avoid them. That led me on a quest for soy-free vitamins, which turned out to be hard to find. (I happen to have a bottle of Women's Your Life Multi 45 plus in my pantry, and they seem to be soy-free.  They contain more ingredients than I personally would like to take, but I've decided to use them up for now.  If you know of another soy-free vitamin/mineral, let me know!)  Apparently, some vitamins are often extracted from soy.  Since soy is thought to have many health benefits, soy is even added to some vitamins, especially those for heart health and for perimenopause/menopause.

(Note:  I had the wrong vitamin listed as being no soy.  It's Women's Your Life Multi by Nature's Bounty.  
If you know of other soy free vitamin/minerals, please comment!)

In my research, I found that many people also search for supplements that are gluten free and dairy free, which are somewhat easier to find than those which are soy-free.  The bottom line is that if you are avoiding a particular foodstuff for health reasons, check to make sure that you are not inadvertently consuming it through supplements.

Likewise, don't assume that supplements or teas which contain herbs are allergy free. Be especially thoughtful when it comes to formulas which combine many herbs.  A friend of mine took a multivitamin/multimineral supplement with many herbs in it and had a serious allergic reaction to something in it, though I don't think she ever knew exactly what was the cause.

There are many other ways that certain food substances can slip into our pantries unaware.   MSG and soy, for example, both are used in many forms and appear on many labels under various names.  If you are trying to eliminate MSG, for example, you must also avoid hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and hydrolyzed pea protein.  We're all aware by now how many foods contain added sugar or high fructose corn syrup, even those that are not sweet to the taste.      

If you or someone in your family has an acutely dangerous food allergy, you're probably already alert to the many ways that certain substances can be hidden in processed foods, cosmetics and toiletries, and nutritional supplements. If you've never had a serious problem but do have a health reason for avoiding a substance, it's worth a little research to find foods and supplements that are safe for you.



JoannaTopazT said...

I would also be interested in what you find out about soy-free multivitamins. I quit taking a multivitamin because I figured out that it was what was making my thyroid medication "off," but I hadn't figured out the soy connection.

Elizabeth said...

I had not put that together either, Joanna. I feel pretty well on Emergen-C, but found out that they, too, have enough soy to be troublesome to some. Let me know if you also come up with any alternatives.