Vinegar is a sour-tasting liquid containing acetic acid, obtained by fermenting dilute alcoholic liquids, typically wine, cider, or beer, and used as a condiment for pickling. It is a staple for most households and some use it for cooking, cleaning, as an insect repellant, and even used in gardening. It also helps treat various health problems such as balancing alkali, treating allergies, fighting microbial, treating hypertension, fighting cancer, fighting oral bacteria, promoting hair growth, maintaining skin elasticity, lowering high blood sugar, helps burn fat, helps lower cholesterol, relieves acid reflux, and improves digestive health.
Historically, it was used by Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans as food flavoring and medicine. Vinegar can be made from anything that can be fermented but nowadays, it can be manufactured from various sources such as sugarcane, rice, malt, coconut, kiwi, apple, raisin, dates, honey, beer, and palm.
Not known to many, vinegar can also cause allergy to some people. The mechanism of developing such allergy is the same to all allergic reactions wherein the cells of the immune system overreact to antigens of the vinegar alarming the body to produce antibodies. These antibodies attack the antigens and create symptoms of either local (itching, tingling, and redness of the skin) or systemic reaction (swelling of the mouth, the area around the eyes, tongue and larynx). A more severe symptom/reaction is that of anaphylaxis wherein there is generalized swelling and closing of airways with a significant drop in blood pressure.
Other common symptoms include: headache, migraines, sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, heartburn, vomiting, sore throat, runny nose, wheezing, coughing, fatigue, nasal congestion, constipation, skin rash, diarrhea, and a white coated tongue. This usually occurs minutes after ingestion of vinegar but may take hours for some people with delayed reaction.
There is not much study or research documented on vinegar allergy so the best thing to do when you feel you have these symptoms is to consult your doctor to obtain proper diagnosis. Some people may have already identified their allergy to vinegar but further tests and laboratories should be undergone (such as skin prick test and blood tests) to confirm these reactions are that of vinegar allergy since it has the same symptoms with other allergies.
The best remedy to vinegar allergy is to avoid vinegar-containing products. Always examine tags of products, labels and ingredients. Keep off yeast when you are in a yeast-free diet as vinegar may cause problems except for distilled vinegar. Prepare your own meals and know food and drinks containing high levels of vinegar. When eating in restaurants, watch what you eat. Seek assistance from the waiter on which foods to eat that doesn’t contain vinegar. In some cases, you may be prescribed by your doctor corticosteroids, antihistamines or adrenaline shots to control allergic symptoms but in severe cases, immediately rush the patient to the hospital. It is always good to visit your doctor if there is a suspected vinegar allergy. They will be able to help you manage the symptoms and avoid the triggers. The tests you undergo will also help determine if you have an allergy to vinegar of if you have another kind of disease.
This material is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be relied as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication or supplements.