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Allergy to sodium benzoate 211 a common complaint

An allergy to sodium benzoate (211) can be a challenging allergy to manage. Sodium benzoate (also shown as 211 on labels) is a preservative used in many foods and beverages and can be difficult to avoid.

It is often found in fruit juices, cordials, sports drinks, jam, pickles and soft drinks but also lurks in less obvious place like cosmetics, medicines, pet food and vaccines.

Sodium benzoate is derived from petroleum and has a reputation as a trigger for asthma, hyperactivity and behavioural problems in children, eczema and allergies. In fact, there aren’t too many symptoms that aren’t linked to the consumption of sodium benzoate.

Research has found that the impact of sodium benzoate on health is cumulative and dose related. This can make it challenging to ‘diagnose’ an allergy to sodium benzoate and even a small amount can act as a trigger. Removing all sources of sodium benzoate from the diet is the best action to take, especially with children. A ‘challenge’ test (removing sodium benzoate from the diet for a week and then introduce it as a test to see what happens) will soon confirm your suspicions of an allergy to sodium benzoate. Familiarise yourself with foods to avoid with asthma and make a difference.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world. She lives in the Yarra Valley with her partner and two young children.

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