Talking Allergies

Corn allergies...!
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Author:  batabid [ Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Corn allergies...!

Hello there.

I am allergic to most grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats and even notice reactions to stuff like teff) - diagnosed both by skin test and by obvious reactions. I've felt pretty amazing, and then I went on antibiotics, and I started getting some new symptoms again. I seriously don't trust antibiotics (my other allergies popped up after my first course of antibiotics!)

Anyway I had been replacing a lot of my food with corn, cornflakes every morning, baking with corn etc. basically it was in almost every other meal. I started to get similar symptoms to wheat when eating and some of my itchyness reappeared, aswell as heavy mucous and throat irritation when eating. I thought.. hmm "CORN! it must be!".

I had this in mind but didn't quit corn. The other day I tried some cornflake type cereals and I got a pretty scary reaction... it wasn't an anaphylactic shock but it felt like my throat closed up. I could breathe okay, but it was like there was a huge lump in my throat. this lasted for a couple of hours after eating the flakes, and then subsided. When it was over, my throat was very very sore. it was obvious corn was the culprit.

I have left some bloodtests - tested for basically all grains I haven't yet, quinoa, buckwheat, corn, rice, millet.... just to get it overwith. I am pretty much expecting a positive result on corn, but of course I am hoping it is something else since its easier to avoid.. but deep within, I know its corn so who am I kidding. I'll get the results in about a week, but I thought I might aswell make the change now.

I am just wondering about the HUMUNGOUS list of things to avoid on and sites, I have other allergies, and I have never heard of an allergy where you need to be this vigilant. some of these stuff have so little protein its not even detectable, but of course I realize from surfing the web that the reactions people are getting are very real, which makes me believe corn allergy is one to take seriously. but surely there must be differences in tolerance, and not everyone has to avoid all the stuff on the list. I guess I just have to find my own limit.

I'd just love if someone could point out which stuff on the list ( ... n-list.php) that you NEED to avoid if you are at the level of sensitivity that I am (Ie discomfort, but not ER visit), and which only need to be avoided by those where corn poses a big danger.

For example I noticed theres Mannitol in my pills! and I really need these pills... I've been searching the net and all websites say its extracted from seaweed...? why is it on the list? do I really need to avoid this?

So far I have avoided most stuff, even Sorbitol in my toothpaste, but not gone as far as avoiding chicken and salt. I also have huge problems with milk and soy so thats already a lot, and a lot of the stuff I've replaced with have salt. So I really don't think I will go that far! I am guessing salt avoidance is more an issue for those extremely allergic to corn.

I feel better already but I also wonder how long it took for you to get 100% better after avoiding corn, I remember it took about two to three weeks until all my wheat allergy symptoms dissapeared.

thanks a lot in advance!

Author:  Eldi [ Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:13 pm ]
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I'm sorry that corn may be another of your allergens. I encourage you to read all of the posts here and do as much research as you can. I am one of the many people with corn allergy who does NEED to avoid all of the things on the "dreaded" list. You will most likely find that the more corn you remove from your diet the more sensitive you become to it. Most people have noticed this connection.

Many of the things on the corn allergy list "can" be made from corn (and most of the time they are) but sometimes they are not made from corn. It's always a good idea to contact the manufactuer to find out. Most of the time they will tell you that it is made from corn but that it is so highly processed that there is no corn protein left. THIS IS HOGWASH! I will have severe reactions to such highly processed derivatives.

I am extremely careful with my very limited diet and yet I still get corned sometimes. Lately I've been having some trouble with fresh fruit. I am not allergic to any fruits yet sometimes I will have a corn-like reaction (skin). The likely culprit is that vegetable based coatings/waxes are used on some fruits and vegetables. As for chicken, there are some whole, frozen chickens that are safe. There might be some listed on the safe list. I can't have most pre-packaged or processed foods so the only salt I eat is Redmond's Sea Salt which I am fine with. A couple of years ago I decided to trial some regular table salt and tasted a few granules on the tip of my finger. Yeppers....I had a reaction!

If you are in Canada I might be able to help you with some safe foods that I have found. I have posted a link to the list of safe, corn free foods somewhere on this site as well. Please do be careful though because there are different levels of sensitivity and things might be safer for some than for others.

P.S. Buckwheat and quinoa are not grains (in the grass family). I do really well with both of these. I use a combination of buckwheat flour and tapioca starch for all of my baking.

Author:  batabid [ Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:31 am ]
Post subject: 

Yes! I'm basically living on quinoa and buckwheat right now. I'm not really digging the buckwheat though. maybe I'll grow to like it. I LOVE quinoa though, especially the red one. I haven't tried tapioca starch. however, I've tried Cassava several times!

Thanks for all the advice. I guess all you can do is "do your best".... it seems like corn is one of those things thats actually is impossible avoid completely, since no one knows where they put the stuff. I am a bit sick at the moment, and I looked it up and I can take none of the pills. I think sometimes you need to compromise. this is like wheat, I am SUPER careful, which allows me to have it in some obscure form in case of emergency.

about the chicken.. I actually refuse to buy non-organic chicken. Is it usually the organic chicken or the cheap ones that are fed corn?

I actually live in Sweden, and I've read at the back of salts, and none of them list a corn related anti-caking agent. I use sea-salt at home anyway, but even the ones with added ion don't have dextrose listed...hmm? My salt says: "NaCl, anti-caking agent E535/536". thats it. however, this is sea-salt, but I've seen iodized salt with the same listing.

Also corn is a lot more prevalent in north america, so I am not sure I have the same level of sensitivity that you have, since you are exposed to it so much. I've only eaten it in trace ammounts until I went wheat-free.

I guess I will try excluding it all except the salt (in processed food, however i use sea salt for cooking anyways) and the chicken for now, but if the IgE results are high, maybe I will have to be as vigilant as you are! some additional research shows that not all need to be as careful to get a reaction, its about finding your limit, like with all allergies. with wheat I am pretty sensetive nowadays, I even find the smell bothersome. I've spoken with a few other corn allergic people here in Sweden, and this type of information about corn that exists in North America is not known here. I even went to the biggest site for allergic individuals, and there the list was very short, and they even said that most people tolerate cornstarch and modified starch in small ammounts, and that only those extremely allergic individuals need to avoid these. Also some E numbers were mentioned (all starch based). but other than that, the list was about one thirtieth of the list on! So I am not sure if all these corn derived ingredients are also corn derived in Sweden..?

thanks again for the advice

Author:  Eldi [ Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:22 pm ]
Post subject: 

I think I have already posted these links but here are a few sites that have a lot of information for corn allergic people: ... n-list.php

As for chicken, I do not have a problem with corn fed meat or poultry. I can use one brand of whole frozen chicken that is not organic. It's the corn derived organic acids that are used to wash/rinse meat that I have MAJOR problems with. These organic acids are used to keep the meat fresh looking and also to keep the bacteria count down. I have posted links to sites that explain this process as well. I get my beef from a local farmer who ensures that no organic acid washes are used.

Sometimes additives are not listed as an ingredient. I think it's because if it is less that a % of the total product then it does not have to be listed. Many additives are referred to as GMP which simply means "Good Manufacturing Procedure" and are often not listed. Also, processing aids do not have to be listed either. Many processing plants use corn starch on equipment and in packaging to keep food from sticking. Citric acid can be added to fresh fruit and vegetables during processing (i.e. canning and freezing) to keep the colour and texture. Try searching for the CODEX list of allowed additives to see how and where additives are allowed. You will be surprised as to how many of them are corn derivatives!

Author:  Eldi [ Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:33 pm ]
Post subject: 

P.S. Here is a link to a Canadian corn allergy site with a lot of useful information:

Author:  batabid [ Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you very much Eldi! I'll have a look at all those links.

I got my bloodtest results back today actually. As suspected, I tested positive for corn (class 3). I also tested class 3 for quinoa (I have been in denial about my reaction to quino and blamed it on having a "sore throat") and millet. Tested class 2 for rice & buckwheat, so I am gonna challenge those foods to see if I can handle them.

this is overwhelming to say the least! but at least it confirmed my worries...

I've decided to basically go all the way now since it was a class 3, and not a 1 or 2. So I'll probably be excluding the salt for now, processed food aint good for you anyway. I found some wonderful sea salt in the store which I am going to try.

Do you have any ideas as to what you can bake on tapioca flour and potato flour, or possibly recipes?


Author:  Eldi [ Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:13 am ]
Post subject: 

Testing positive to rice does not surprise me because it is also in the grass family. But...buckwheat and quinoa are usually safe for those with grain allergy. I don't have much experience with baking with just tapioca and potato flours. I use both of these in combination with buckwheat flour. I think that baking would turn out a little like clay if you were to only use these flours. You might want to consider some of the other non grain flours such as chickpea flour or bean flours. Small amounts of guar gum should be safe to improve the texture. Do not use xanthan gum...there have been many, many reported reactions to it.

You will need to do a lot of experimenting to find your own method of baking. For bread, I simply make buckwheat/tapioca waffles. They freeze well and I always have them for breakfast with some safe peanut butter and safe jam (corn and pectin free).

I hope you are able to use's the only thing I have found that bakes into something decent...texture and taste wise...

Author:  batabid [ Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:25 am ]
Post subject: 

Hey Eldi!

Actually I am not just "leaving out" anything on the list unless I have a reaction, I'm just saying what i tested positive too. Millet I haven't tried so no idea (but after the results wont try either). I am allergic to a pollen related to quinoa, so thats probably why i reacted to it. It's not oral allergy syndrome though, becuase I react when cooked too. The other day when I ate it I got very sleepy and lethargic aswell, like I do with wheat, so its a true allergy. Corn and rice I've had reactions too, those are quite obvious and I've suspected them for a long time obviously.

However, buckwheat I really don't think I am allergic to. I've had it several times and never reacted. So this one might be a false positive. I am trying some buckwheat poordige tomorrow (a few days after rice challenge at home, which I did with some pure rice pooridge after eliminating for a week). If theres no reaction, I'll keep eating buckwheat. I don't think I'll react.

I made some tapioca panncakes today (with only tapioca), based on a recipee I found. they were delicious and the texture was really great! Buckwheat only recipees tend to be a bit fragile sometimes but these were not. maybe the optimal thing would be mixing them both with eachother.

It's really been a pain trying to find a jam without pectin. I looked all over and I just could not find a single brand that didn't have pectin, even the organic brands had pectin in them! I am hoping I'll find one in the end, but it sure seems they all have pectin.

Author:  Eldi [ Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:32 pm ]
Post subject: 

Yes, it is very difficult to find jam or jelly without things like citric acid or pectin (dextrin/dextrose is used as a stabilizer). I usually make my own jam using rhubarb and raspberries out of my garden or other fruit that I was absolutely sure hadn't been "corntaminated". I did find one jam from Croatia which contains only plums and sugar. It's not always available but it is such a TREAT to not have to make jam from scratch on top of everything else I have to make!

Author:  batabid [ Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

I found a jam at last! a wonderful lingonberry jam that is 100% safe!

whats happened so far:

I had a terrible reaction to a soap (I think it was the citric acid) and it burnt my hands really bad. it looked like I lost it in a fire! one of my hands is still (three weeks later!) red and covered in an itchy rash. It was very unexpected...

I don't know, but I seem to be reacting to Corn chicken. we have a special brand here called corn chicken that is raised almost exclusively on corn. I don't react to all meats, but this chicken I do react to every single time! I thought - it must be a coincidence - but I can clearly see the pattern now. its not a bad reaction, I just get very itchy and it feels like my face is covered in little ants! Maybe its not what they are fed (I still find this hard to believe) but I am reacting to something in them - or on them! chicken is off the list for now. theres plenty of safe lamb and beef alternatives so thats no problem.

What is it with corn that makes people react even to traces - even stuff thats got no detectable protein? I am much more allergic to wheat (as far as I know) and I dont react to wheat fed meat at all. maybe they cant digest corn properly so its stored in them? I dont know. I have never heard of any other type of allergy that lists the fodder as something to look out for -even other life threatening allergies. maybe corn isnt supposed to be in our diet!

Author:  Eldi [ Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:20 am ]
Post subject: 

I am sorry that you are having such a difficult time. I don't understand why corn is so unlike any other allergen in that it does NOT require a protein to cause a reaction. I wish the medical professionals and the food industry would come to terms with this! I get so sick and tired of being told that this and that cannot cause a reaction because there is no corn protein left in it and that is too highly refined to cause a reaction. IT DOES!

It is very common for people with corn allergy to experience a higher level of sensitivity as more and more corn is removed from their diet. You will need to continue to find and eliminate what it is that is causing you to react. Try to stick to whole, fresh foods. I will get a very similar breakout/rash from unknowingly ingesting corn derivatives. Could it be that you are experiencing a delayed reaction the the "corny" chicken you mentioned? Is this chicken cut up and in the cooler section of your grocery store? Most of us have trouble with meats because they are washed/rinsed in corn derived organic acids. I do great with whole, frozen chicken and turkey from one particular company. I checked with them before trying their chicken to make sure that they do not use an organic acid wash. I have no problem with corn fed meats...just what they put on them!

Here is a site that explains the use of corn derived organic acids on cuts of meat (usually on soaker pads) sold in U.S. grocery stores (I'm sure in Canada as well because I will have horrific reactions to it). I have also had problems with frozen chicken parts and frozen porkchops from the grocery store. I get my beef from a farmer who has it cut, wrapped and frozen for me without any organic acid washes. ... -additives

I have issues with soap/shampoo as well. I'm not sure how many of these items are available in Sweden but there are some safe soaps listed on this corn free list:

You will need to be very cautious because it always depends on how sensitive you are as to which of these products will be safe. I have also had itchy, raw skin from reactions to the point where I have had to sleep in a warm tub of water with baking soda. The sleep wasn't great but I didn't scratch myself raw.

I hope you are feeling better soon...

Author:  batabid [ Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

oh my.. thanks for the info. I am not sure how it is in Sweden. this makes a lot of sense because I do buy meat thats been chopped up.. well somewhere!. I am gonna look into this but I am not sure the use of citric acid for meat is the same here, as the use of corn is not as extensive over here. I'll have to go trial and error. I really don't have much choice...I really need food and I have lots of food allergies as mentioned before. I was even considering going vegetarian before finding out about them..!

Regarding shampoo I had to switch about three times for whatever reason. I would itch and I'd get redness/slight burning. The shampoo I am on now is okay, and I use Aleppo (pure olive and bay leaf soap) for washing hands. This seems like the only soap I can handle okay!

And yes it seems you are very right about tolerance levels correlating to amount of trace elimination! Corn allergy really is quite unknown here, I have only heard of one other person around me who has it and there's very little info on the internet.

Right now my body isn't "right" so I am not quite sure why I get hives, itching, swelling all of the time. It's something in my diet for sure. Could be corn that is not completely out but also something completely else! I am writing a food diary and as time goes on, the patterns become more clear. I'm sure I will track down whatever the problem still is in time.

I am okay with a monotone diet as long as it is free of reactions, it gets very tiring to react to food all the time. I am not letting it put me down though and I plan to travel and all that stuff too. Its all about finding ways.

thank you for the help!

Author:  batabid [ Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

I bought a plastic kind of thing to put in one of the cupboards. I noticed after handling this I started to get itchy. I looked up what was in it and it said "Ethylene vinyl acetate". I could not believe I found vinyl acetate on the corn allergen list! I can't believe this, not even a plastic underlay is safe! Has anyone actually reported reactions to ethylene vinyl acetate or am I the only one?

Author:  Eldi [ Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:00 am ]
Post subject: 

Yes, many corn allergic people have reported reactions to handling things like vinyl and plastics. I have trouble just walking through a store because of all of the "out-gassing" of different products and packaging. Sometimes, by the time I leave the store my eyes and throat are burning and itching and when I get home my nose is a lovely red colour...very flattering...NOT!

Is this liner in a cupboard where you will be keeping food? You might want to remove it and replace it with paper.

Author:  batabid [ Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:51 am ]
Post subject: 

No, its where I keep my kitchen utensils. I made sure that none of them actually touch the surface so i put in some bowls to put them in, so that should be okay now since I wont actually ever touch it. it doesnt smell at all so there shouldn't be any allergen spreading.
I've made sure not to use plastic wrap anymore now that I found out that too could have corn on it! I'll have to use an additional plate to cover food from now on.

thanks for the heads up, now I know that it WAS actually the vinyl! I'll be sure to not touch it when taking out my utensils! corn is everywhere"! incredible

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