[629] ‘Severe and unpredictable asthma’ due to sulphites (February 2008)

Our food journey started with me picking up your Fed Up with Asthma book from the bookstore after our three year-old had just experienced a bout of wheezing. I read it all in one sitting and was left both horrified and hopeful. We decided that since we had nothing to lose that we would try the diet as a family in an attempt to pinpoint the trigger of our daughter's asthma. I was optimistic about finding a trigger but not really expecting to find it. Grace did the sulphite challenge with an apricot fruit bar as recommended by our dietitian - she had no reaction to the salicylate or amine challenges. I gave her the bar at the start of a short car journey. Within 5 minutes of finishing the bar, her breathing had become so laboured and wheezing so loud that I had to stop the car to give her Ventolin.

Over the next few months I repeated the challenge with a different brand of fruit bar, berry flavour and again with 4 dried apricots. Same results each time. Prior to the diet she would eat dried fruit, sausages and non-organic grapes quite often and was on a substantial twice daily preventer medication regimen as well as Ventolin about 1-2 times per week. Funnily enough it had never occurred to us that ‘healthy’ food could possibly trigger asthma.

We had been told by the paediatrician that Grace had severe and unpredictable asthma and required aggressive preventative treatment to avoid the life-threatening attacks that she had experienced. Obviously we now strictly avoid any sulphites and Grace no longer requires Ventolin or preventers. We have found that her asthma is indeed predictable and is treatable without any medication. I would even go as far as to say that she no longer has asthma, she merely exhibits asthma-like symptoms in response to sulphites.

Grace’s growth had been stunted by her asthma medication. From her growth chart you can see the month she swapped to the stronger medication and also when we took her off it (post-diet). She grew 1cm a week for two months after she came off the meds. Her rate of growth is now normal .– reader, Qld