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Symptoms Associated With Tannin Sensitivity

by (341)
Updated about 9 hours ago
Created August 22, 2011 at 3:15 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.

47fbd704c0392c2f38e86a72f1a06c6c
341 · August 23, 2011 at 12:26 PM

I've also considered issues with FODAPS and MSG. I don't eat much with MSG, so I'm not sure that's it. I'm trying now to reduce/ eliminate the FODMAP foods and see if that makes any difference.

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341 · August 23, 2011 at 12:09 PM

I eat some cream & butter in moderation. I haven't seen much difference. The symptoms seem to come & go based on some factor that I just can't seem to nail down. My main problems are muscle aches (flu like) & joint pain- Muscle weakness: Heaviness/tired muscles, muscle fatigue doing simple things like going a flight of stars or holding my arms up to blow dry my hair- And GI issues: Bloating, gas, constipation, abdominal pain. I realize that the gi & the muscle issue may not be related. I have the GI issues on & off for the last 10+ years, but the muscle stuff has only been since last Fall.

47fbd704c0392c2f38e86a72f1a06c6c
341 · August 23, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Thanks for being willing to brainstorm with me. I really appreciate it! I was looking at tannins simply because of the commonality between two things that I have been consistently eating, though the rest of my diet has been changing. I am also considering caffeine, though I have been only being drinking decaf coffee for the last year (except for maybe 1 cup of regular a week) and eating chocolate in moderation daily. I don't eat potatoes, or nightshdes as a part of restrictions give by my naturopath. I'm on a low carb diet. No frutis, grains, sugars. I did a month of no dairy, but now

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459 · August 23, 2011 at 12:28 AM

Are there any other reasons why you are focusing on tannins? Might help us brainstorm with you.

47fbd704c0392c2f38e86a72f1a06c6c
341 · August 22, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Ok, so I looked up a little information on Mycotoxins.... I"m just so overwhelmed. Seriously, I'm sitting here in tears. It feels impossible to actually figure out what's going on. It's the worst thing to know that there's "something" wrong with me but not being able to figure out what it is... And having the drs not be able to figure it out... AND not being able to continue to pay them to guess for another year. There's this fear building that this is going to develop into something major simply because it's going unaddressed. Ugh. Sorry for the vent :-)

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341 · August 22, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Mycotoxins? Hmmm.... Something else I don't know anything about :-) Seriously, I wish feeling better wasn't so complicated.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
10497 · August 22, 2011 at 10:03 AM

I wonder if it isn't tannins but mycotoxins.

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614 · August 22, 2011 at 3:40 AM

Cannot answer *necessarily* in terms of chocolate and coffee, but when I drink red wine (lotsa tannins), I experience swelling -- of the body and sinuses in particular. I do not experience the same symptoms with chocolate and coffee. Excuse the non-adequate answer -- I always figured it was due to the sulfites in red wine, but I'm wondering if I just didn't notice with the others. Very interested in seeing what answers you receive.

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11 Answers

F4aff43df6a8a49a1c3879c1233ee560
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459 · August 23, 2011 at 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:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21769248

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.

47fbd704c0392c2f38e86a72f1a06c6c
341 · August 23, 2011 at 12:26 PM

I've also considered issues with FODAPS and MSG. I don't eat much with MSG, so I'm not sure that's it. I'm trying now to reduce/ eliminate the FODMAP foods and see if that makes any difference.

47fbd704c0392c2f38e86a72f1a06c6c
341 · August 23, 2011 at 12:09 PM

I eat some cream & butter in moderation. I haven't seen much difference. The symptoms seem to come & go based on some factor that I just can't seem to nail down. My main problems are muscle aches (flu like) & joint pain- Muscle weakness: Heaviness/tired muscles, muscle fatigue doing simple things like going a flight of stars or holding my arms up to blow dry my hair- And GI issues: Bloating, gas, constipation, abdominal pain. I realize that the gi & the muscle issue may not be related. I have the GI issues on & off for the last 10+ years, but the muscle stuff has only been since last Fall.

47fbd704c0392c2f38e86a72f1a06c6c
341 · August 23, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Thanks for being willing to brainstorm with me. I really appreciate it! I was looking at tannins simply because of the commonality between two things that I have been consistently eating, though the rest of my diet has been changing. I am also considering caffeine, though I have been only being drinking decaf coffee for the last year (except for maybe 1 cup of regular a week) and eating chocolate in moderation daily. I don't eat potatoes, or nightshdes as a part of restrictions give by my naturopath. I'm on a low carb diet. No frutis, grains, sugars. I did a month of no dairy, but now

1b8d7ad92236a4150b31b3a4f6f68181
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0 · May 04, 2014 at 3:11 AM

Thank you, this is really helpful!

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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.

1b8d7ad92236a4150b31b3a4f6f68181
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0 · April 28, 2014 at 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.

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15583 · 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.

131b2a019992f291c79800d75e0e474a
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0 · April 22, 2013 at 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.

3906f365058ad8fb8d0233ce6416bdc9
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0 · March 31, 2013 at 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.

54cd5ca565ffeb6566d82ab25daf5e0f
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0 · November 11, 2012 at 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.

447c0bf1d82df94510db455c660e4da7
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0 · November 07, 2012 at 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.

8fd6a3706bdd4bde9f16dd8251f51155
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0 · September 26, 2012 at 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.

1502c132ac1be38333e7dd30f157db4a
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0 · September 26, 2012 at 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.

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