Sulphites and Ulcerative Colitis

A study at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee suggests that foods containing sulphites (E numbers 220-228) may cause problems for people with ulcerative colitis (UC). They also found that patients with severe UC appeared to have lower levels of the protective bacteria bifidobacteria living on the surface of their guts.

Sulphites are known to destroy vitamin B1 (thiamin) in food, a vitamin which plays an important role in keeping gut bacteria healthy. This suggests that those with UC might do well to avoid foods high in sulphites: beer (except German beer which is sulphite-free), wine, sausages and burgers (unless, like some organic brands, they are not sulphited) and sulphite containing-soft drinks.

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First published in January 2006

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