Symptoms Associated With Tannin Sensitivity

by 353 · May 04, 2014 3:11 AM

I have been trying to understand the possible ill effects of Tannins, but having some trouble pinning down "typical" symptoms. It seems like there isn't a ton of information online... Aside from a concentration of info on Tannins and headaches/ migraines.

If you have a tannin sensitivity, what kids of effects do you feel from it? And to what extent do you need to limit them from your diet?

I've been trying to pinpoint any possible sources for joint and muscle pain and muscle weakness, as well as some GI issues. I recently realized that two items I've yet to eliminate from my diet, chocolate and coffee, are both high in tannins.

Total Views

Recent Activity

Last Activity
1101D AGO


Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

11 Replies

459 · August 23, 2011 1:19 AM

I broke out my copy of On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee (amazing book for food nerds) to see what other comonalities coffee and chocolate might have apart from tannins. They both contain alkaloids, which are a type of plant toxin. Chocolate contains two related alkaloids, theobromine (the component that makes chocolate toxic to dogs) and caffine. While there is lots of information on theobromine toxicity in animals, I couldn't readily find a good source for human toxicity. As far as caffine goes, a quick pubmed search for caffine and muscle weakness pulled this up:


Do you have any reason to believe you are sensitive to other sources of alkaloids, such as potatoes?

Sorry to add to your list of questions, but maybe someone else can chime in whether this is a usefull line of inquiry.

0 · May 04, 2014 3:11 AM

Thank you, this is really helpful!

0 · April 28, 2014 at 12:46 PM

@CL The best way to find out what the culprit is would be to try an elimination diet. But that only works if you eliminate ONE item each time for a week at least, so it takes quite a while to figure out the culprit. Either that or just avoid all the things that you think might be causing problems for you. The best possible suggestion on finding the culprit in tannins allergy is trying an eliminate diet. For week at least eliminates one item each time so you can identify the source of tannins in your diet. Just eliminate that option from your diet thereafter, which may cause the problem.

Apple Juice and cider, Apples Red-Skinned, Tea and red wine all these contain Tannins. Sulfites is one of the preservatives that is used mostly dry foods that contains Tannins. Artificial sweetener used in other foods and beverages also contain tannins.Caffeine contains tannins and people sensitive to caffeine can develop migraines.

0 · April 28, 2014 2:30 AM

Thank you for posting this; Very helpful for me! How does one get tested for a tannin allergy? I suspect that is my issue, which developed into Gastritis.

15334 · July 12, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Hi Themommybug. I too definitely have this reaction to 'tannic' foods (tea, coffee, chocolate, some herbal teas, some spices like cumin, even some berries!) even if they're decaffeinated and with significant reduction if I dilute the food in question with some binding protein (like milk). It's not worth worrying about precisely what plant chemicals are responsible: just eliminate the problem foods.

There is no reason whatsoever to trace these symptoms to mycotoxins.

0 · April 22, 2013 8:39 PM

Hi. i definetly have an allergy to tannins. my reactions are migraines, muscle pains and vomiting. its only after i vomit that my symptoms are alleviated. if i stay away from chocolate, coffee beans, vanila and cinnamon, im symptom free. sometimes my reactions are delayed. i dont get them until the next day.

0 · March 31, 2013 4:56 PM

Tannin allergy can definitely cause gastrointestinal problems. My baby has a tannin allergy, so I've been researching it. Espresso drinks have much less caffeine than drip-brewed coffee, so you might try that. Have you tried cutting out other high-tannin foods? A lot of fruits are high in tannins, especially berries. Cinnamon and other spices are high in tannins, and nuts, especially walnuts. (peanuts and almonds are ok if the skin is removed). Beans have tannins, except for white beans. Red wines, white wines if aged in oak, and beer (hops) all have tannins. The alcohol combined with tannins can cause an immediate headache, whereas tannins alone usually cause more of a delayed reaction.

0 · November 11, 2012 2:53 AM

Tannins as well as alcohol also keep the body from absorbing certain vitamins like thiamin, biotin, magnesium too, I think. Biotin suppliments help me slightly, but I still can't drink coffee, tea, alcohol.. If I do, the pain and stiffness come back and hang around for 3 days. Im to a point where I abstain from everything known to be unhealthy.

0 · November 07, 2012 5:55 PM

YES. I have joint pain and GI upset from coffee and tea, and, to a lesser extent, red wine and chocolate. There is SOMEONE else in the world with this problem!! I have very similar joint symptoms from titanium dioxide too, but I think that's unrelated. I know it sounds painful, but see if you can cut out the coffee - that's going to be the worst offender for tannins. I can't drink it at all.

0 · September 26, 2012 9:50 AM

Hi, have you considered checking your environment (home or work) for fungal growth? There might be a possibility that your condition has nothing to do with what you eat.

0 · September 26, 2012 6:26 AM

Hi, I found cutting out gluten solved my digestive problems, and tannins in tea and red wine were definitely causing joint paint.

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account