citric acid intolerance - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 09-16-2011, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
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My 26mth old DD has had many issues related to food and possibly environmental sensitivities since birth.

She started eating solids at about 7 months and quite a lot since 9 months.


She has never had any issues with "thriving" or growing. And has been in the 95-97% since birth.


She has always had a hard time sleeping, been gassy, sneezes alot, itchy ears and mouth, diaper rashes etc.

She still often has runny stools, or not soft and "unformed" stools. She often has very smelly stools and often has undigested food in it.


We know for sure that she has reactions to citrus, tomatoes, berries (except blueberries), cheese, jams, any sauce or anything with citric acid in it. Her symptoms are red burning blotches on her face, arms and hands or wherever the food touches her. They coe up almost instantly. She has a chronic bright red vulva and anus. When she was in diapers she has chronic diaper rashes. She gets red circles under her eyes.


We have her on a dairy free diet, keep her from all the foods she reacts to (except she does come in contact with citric acid too often due to it being in everything). But even when she is citric acid free, she still seems to have other symptoms other than the rashes on her face and hands and she sleeps better without citric acid in her system.


Do you know anything about citric acid intolerance or sensitivity?

Do you think she may out grow it?

Do you feel that maybe her gut needs healing? How would you suggest we start?

Are there other things/words we should look out for on ingredients lists other than the words citric acid or lemon juice


She does eat very healthy amounts and types of foods. Many whole foods. Lots of chicken, fish, rice, bread with peanut butter, honey, avocado, broccoli, peas, sweet peppers, cucumber, cantaloupe, sweet potato, quinoa, squash, tomato free baked beans, apples and pears. She drinks only breast milk, fortified almond milk and water. She eats very little processed foods, which helps to keep her from citric acid.

But it seems like we are only feeding her the same foods over and over.


Thanks you.

Me 40 eat.gif. Partner to mamacolleen 33 superhero.gif. DD born July 2009 blahblah.gif. Twin boys born Nov 2012.

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#2 of 3 Old 09-18-2011, 10:16 PM
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To try to understand citric acid reactions we first want to recognize that it’s a natural chemical that our own body also makes and uses. This doesn’t necessarily make it totally benign, but it might eliminate the idea of allergy when that term is used in its strictest sense. Hydrochloric acid is made and used in our bodies too. While our tummies are usually at home bathed in it, our throats will burn when exposed to it, so just because something is found in our bodies it doesn’t mean it’s always nice to us. Interestingly I found a chemical intolerance study that used citric acid as the placebo. No wonder such studies have mixed findings.


Plenty of literature refers to skin sensitivities to citric acid and I’ll say that if the skin can be sensitive to it, so may the tissues in the mouth and throat, and these may trigger signals that affect other areas of the body. Irritant dermatitis or contact dermatitis seem to be  more medically accepted terms than allergy for those who react to citric acid, in the case you wish to not get those rolling eyes in the doctor’s office. Yes, she has a good chance of outgrowing her citric acid sensitivity or it may at least become much milder.


Most of the world eats the same foods over and over. As long as all the nutrients are covered, there’s no need for greater variety. The list of foods you feed your daughter makes up an excellent nutritional balance along with plenty of powerful antioxidants and plenty of fiber.


Your efforts are all heroic and she’s a lucky girl that you are able to help her so well. It does sound though as if there’s still more going on than you’ve been able to identify so far. One thing I’ll mention, this website lists 98 mg citric acid in a cup of cantaloupe  that’s maybe 1/6th as much as in one lemon. Maybe, hopefully, that’s your answer to her ongoing symptoms. More likely not though.


I’d want to find out if there are other foods besides dairy (are you avoiding all milk products too?) and citric acid foods that are problematic for her. I think it might be easiest with her diet to try gluten avoidance first. Her symptoms bring gluten to mind. It can take a few weeks for any improvements to show up with a trial gluten-free diet. If she’s still not greatly improved, I’d go for a full elimination diet where you bring her diet down to just a few hypoallergenic foods and then add in new foods one at a time. The best foods would be foods she seldom eats, so she hasn’t had the opportunity to develop sensitivity to them, but of course ones that you suspect to be non-allergenic for her. Hemp “milk,” yams (instead of sweet potatoes), turkey, tapioca, taro (poy), and almonds are some examples. Add back in the broccoli and some non-virgin olive oil, and this would be a great diet for the first week or two.


Yes, her digestive system does need healing. Deglycerized licorice, aloe vera, marshmallow root, and slippery elm are natural cell protectants that can reduce the burn and speed the healing of digestive tissues. Probiotics are a must and these can be found in milk-free/vegan versions. (Those that just say non-dairy just mean no lactose. You want no milk.) Fish oil supplements can help reduce the damage and reduce food sensitivities over time.

Linda F. Palmer, DC
"The Baby Bond"

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#3 of 3 Old 09-19-2011, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your time.

We were thinking of the gluten free trial, but were putting it off because we had already been stretched to our limits figuring out all the other stuff. But we are ready to go for it and give it a try.

We do have er dairy free. Every couple of months we give her a small amount of organic yogurt to see if she reacts to it. She still does have problems sleeping and rash from it.


We used to do the probiotics and fish oil. We stopped after awhile but will start up again.


Is one month a fair time for gluten free eating?

My hopes are maybe she can be gluten free but add back some dairy.



Me 40 eat.gif. Partner to mamacolleen 33 superhero.gif. DD born July 2009 blahblah.gif. Twin boys born Nov 2012.

We are a family that loves cold.giftreehugger.giffamilybed1.giffemalesling.GIFcd.gif

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