Infused vinegarsA few weeks ago we had an email from Joyce who, for some reason, I think lives in the US… I could be completely wrong! Anyhow, she was really addressing her question to Dr Janice Joneja who runs an on-going Q&A series for us at Foods Matter on the subject of histamine intolerance. And her questions was as follows:

“When I eat anything that has vinegar in it I have food poisoning reaction. Severe stomach cramps. Nausea, diarrhea and pounding headache. Is this something I should be concerned about? It has only been over the past 5 years that these symptoms have come on (I’m 64).
Doctors just tell me to stay away from vinegar.  
Any input would be appreciated. “

I responded:

We are not doctors, as you know, so cannot give you any medical advice but, if you do not react to any of the foods from which vinegar is made (wine, apples, raspberries etc) then it would seem that it is the fermentation that is the problem. But do you react to any other fermented foods  – sauerkraut, fermented cheeses etc?

To which Dr Joneja added:

I completely agree with your response, Michelle.  One could proffer theoretical reasons for such a reaction, but to what end? She would still need to avoid vinegar!  Unless she has reactions to other foods, I would tell her not to worry.

And Joyce replied……

Thank you for your reply.
To answer your question, Sauerkraut will put me on the floor doubled over in excruciating pain with diarrhoea afterwards. Cheeses don’t seem to bother me as much in normal (small) amounts. 

I took a antihistamine tablet last week, not for any of the above symptoms but did notice that when I ate a deli sandwich that had pickles, oil and vinegar on it, I was not bothered. I wonder if there might be a connection.

To which I responded…….

Well the vinegar fermentation would seem to be a relevant issue here – cheese is also fermented but the base (milk products as opposed to fruit) is different which might be the explanation. 

The antihistamine could, I guess have helped with your deli sandwich although maybe it had more to do with the fact that the pickles were heavily diluted and masked (from you stomach’s point of view) by the other starchy and fatty components of the sandwich?

Shall I put your query up on my blog and see if anyone else has any suggestions to offer?
To which she said: Yes please…..

So I am!  Any input gratefully received!!

(Infused vinegars image, courtesy of Williams  Sonoma!)


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