Am I allergic to lactic acid? And what is it?

We’ve all heard of lactic acid. It’s present in our bodies when we work out and as the name suggests, it’s an acid that builds up in the body during intense bouts of physical activity. However, it is also often found in many different food stuffs including milk products, like yoghurt, as well as some processed foods such as olives, bread and beer.

To confuse matters further it can occur naturally in these food products so when you buy olives and lactic acid is listed as an ingredient it might not be lactic acid from dairy. It might be from the food acid, naturally found in olives that is produced during the fermentation process, similar to what happens when you make wine.

But how do we know which is which? When you have allergies you get used to scanning labels and spotting the ingredients that you can’t have, but is it really safe to ignore labels which say lactic acid when we see them on olives, or beer, which also ferments for that matter?

Whilst researching this I’ve unearthed some very conflicting results. Some websites say lactic acid is dairy free, some say it’s potentially dairy free as it can be prepared with milk as the initial growth medium, and some say that it should definitely be avoided by those with a dairy allergy.

On the Go Dairy Free website they say that: “Lactic acid is created via the fermentation of sugars, and can be found in many dairy-free and/or vegan foods. Most commercially used lactic acid is fermented from carbohydrates, such as cornstarch, potatoes or molasses, and thus dairy-free. Though lactic acid can be fermented from lactose, its use is generally (I said generally; where concerned, always check with the manufacturer) restricted to dairy products, such as ice cream and cream cheese.”

They have a very concise list of what to avoid and also some surprisingly dairy free ingredients which sound very much like they contain dairy from their name. Visit for their exhaustive list.

Now I’m really confused. Can anyone shed any light on this subject? Should those with a dairy allergy avoid lactic acid? or is it a little more complicated than that? Should we always check with the manufacturer before eating products containing lactic acid? Does the law mean that if lactic acid is derived from dairy that this should be stated in the ingredients?

Have I been avoiding lactic acid needlessly for all these years? or does all lactic acid mimic dairy in some way so that some dairy allergy sufferers still have a reaction regardless?

All comments and feedback on this one would be greatly appreciated as I will be rushing back out to buy those olives I put back on the shelf last week…

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. The lactic acid one is a puzzle, quite rightly as you have noted it can be derived from dairy however if this was simply the case then lactase enzymes would work with it and it would be digested no problem. Lactase enzymes however do not work with lactic acid. There are various reactions to lactic acid, one that I deal with at my clinic is the appearance of tiny pimples/whiteheads that appear over the face and neck area as well as a feeling of being unwell, the conditions of the eyes provide the answer to this reaction. Sore and itchy eyes indicate a problem with the liver and it would seem that a damaged liver that is unable to cope with the build up of acid from certain foods, is extremely sensitive to the lactic acid often used as a perservative. It is worth pointing out that if pimples/whiteheads appear for no reason especially after drinking wine, this can solely relate to lactic acid. My research showed that lactic acid is pumped into most new world wines to age them. Wines therefore from New Zealand and Australia should be avoided and only Reserve wines should be drunk from these countries as these DO NO contain lactic acid. The traditional way in which French wine has been made has also been interfered with by Australian wine producers so French wine should also be watched and only reserve wine to be drunk. Reserve wine is the first press of the grape and is full of flavour hence the reason why lactic acid does not need to be added (this information regarding wine was provided to me directly from a New Zealand wine producer). Italian and Spanish wine do not contain lactic acid. All reserve wines from any country will be fine. I hope this helps to explain lactic acid.

    • Hi Elaine, thanks for the comment. You say that lactic acid from dairy would be no problem due to the lactase enzymes – I’m not sure this would be the case if someone had a severe food allergy… can you confirm? For an intolerance then maybe, but when the body has got itself so worked up about a certain foodstuff evern very tiny traces can trigger and life threatening anaphylactic reaction. Very interesting what you say about the liver – I have no whiteheads but I do think my liver struggles with some things, and also very interestingly I love Spanish wine – perhaps because it’s so tasty and I rarely have a reaction to it – could lactic acid in wine be the connection? I have heard from another readed on a post about wine and what’s really in it that manufacturers no longer have to declare the presence of such tiny quanities of dairy etc. – I’ve never seen lactic acid on a wine ingredients label. How can they get away with this without telling us? It all seems very wrong to me. Thank you very much for the comment. Reserve, Italian and Spanish for me from now on then!

    • Sorry to rain on your parade, but lactic acid in wine comes from malolactic fermentation (MLF). This whole theory that reserve wines are less likely to go through MLF is backwards. Wines made for aging are more likely to have gone through MLF. MLF is induced to lower the titratable acidity in wine because malic acid has a higher pH than lactic acid. If a winemaker is looking to lower the pH of their wine, then they add tartaric acid or a blend of tartaric, citric, and malic acids. These are all natural grape acids. Wine makers aren’t adding lactic acid, but they do induce malolactic fermentation. If you are avoiding it, stick with high acid white wines like sauvignon blanc and stay away from chardonnay and all reds.

      • Hi Stella, thanks for the tip of which wine to buy. Some wine does now have a ‘contains milk’ warning… I KNOW if I drink these wines I wake up with a red mask of crusty, dry, tight sore face. So some DO contain dairy but lactic acid is an interesting one. I seem to react to it,regardless of how it’s been produced… Perhaps something else or the processing of stuff into non-food stuff that we think it’s ok to consume! I’d rather stick to real ingredients and be able to see the list of ingredients on wine. Hopefully labelling shd improve soon.

  2. I have developed a dairy sensitivity in the last 6 years, and this year it got bad enough that I went to an allergist and was declared allergic enough to have an epipen.

    Before the test and before I cut dairy out completely, I tried Tofutti in an effort to replace cream cheese and my mouth and throat felt very dry for days, and there is now a rough texture to parts of the skin inside my mouth. About a week later I was feeling stubborn and had an ice cream cone. All the skin that was affected inside my mouth swelled up and my throat felt like I had a bad cold/cough, very dry and croaky. The Tofutti is supposed to be totally dairy free but it does have “non-dairy lactic acid” in the ingredients list. Recently I tried a margarine from the brand Earth Balance, which also had “non-dairy lactic acid” in the ingredients, and I reacted to that too.

    So I’m not sure what is going on there. Maybe some people are just allergic to all dairy, but others are actually allergic to lactic acid no matter what it comes from???

    • I think there is something nasty going on with this non dairy lactic acid. I’ve been having similar problems. I’ll see what I can find out. Still confused about lactic acid. If it’s an acid perhaps that’s the problem? Keep away from it in the meantime. It’s not natural anyway!

    • Katie: We have a dairy allergy in our family too. We have researched and found that many who have a dairy allergy also have a soy allergy as well. So maybe that is what is going on with you. Ironically. My daughter had an issue with acidic food items before we found out that she had a dairy issue. I am guessing that they somehow are tied together after reading everyones posts. I came across this post to find out if veggie lactic acid would be okay, but now I am thinking not.

      • Mortiki says:

        Myself and My daughter are allergic to many thing and I am deadly allergic to many food and after 2 years in a research facility I have learned a good many thing and one of many was the different types of Lactic acid, I have also learned that many “candies” have either a preserve or made from beets unless otherwise noted as “contains dairy” as always be careful and try a very small amount and wait but most candy that is not clearly a milk derivative type should in theory be safe to try.

        • It’s a minefield isn’t it? and a lifelong journey to working out which products are safe and which not. I wish I knew more about how lactic acid was made, but for me, most processed things are out and lactic acid is most definitely a processed ingredient so I avoid it at all costs. The results are not pleasant when I do eat anything with lactic acid. Even when it should be dairy free. Weird.

    • By the way, most people think if you have a dairy sensitivity that they are lactose intolerant. That is not always the case. Lactose is a sugar. It can cause discomfort, stomach cramps and bowel issues (which can also occur in an dairy allergy) but is not actually an allergy. If I understand correctly, its the protien in the dairy that is an allergy problem and it affects the immune where the lactose intolerance does not. Therefore you would be more inclined to have other health issues such as eczema and sinus infections, anaphalatyc shock…etc. You can also have a dairy protien allergy and be lactose intolerant.

  3. Been struggling with this mystery of Lactic Acid myself. I have a dairy allergy. But starting about 5 years ago I thought I was oddly also developing a gluten allergy. After years of experimenting and trial and error, I found that when I ate anything with Lactic Acid (regardless if its stated dairy free or not), I had symptoms.

    Seems like they put LA in everything. Olives, pickles, meats, even jelly beans for petes sake.

    I also discovered that I cannot tolerate any food with Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate. Bread. They use it as a dough conditioner. So, I don’t have a gluten allergy, I can eat all the bread I want unless it contains Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate

    So my advice is that if anyone is having issues, either dairy or gluten, avoid the above two chemical additives for starters and see how it works. Hope this helps some.

    • Kurt I have similar problems myself. The purer and less processed the better for me. If it’s got a funny name is not actually ‘food’ then I seem to react. I wouldn’t be at all surprised that these things added to our food are not nice at all. No wonder we react. Wish I could find out definitely what this lactic acid is on labels though. Am inclined to avoid it as if it’s there they’ve added it and why do they do that? Give us fresh food!

  4. This is very interesting. I have been quite allergic to milk for a long time. I also have trouble with foods containing lactic acid, even if they are derived from vegetarian sources – they give me symptoms just like dairy foods do. This is something that has puzzled me, because even vegan sources of lactic acid shouldn’t give me any trouble according to what I’ve read, but they definitely do. I’ve had reactions from earth balance, toffutti, vegan sourdough bread etc. I have had an injury to my liver many years ago. They said that it would heal up just fine, and that I would have no lasting problems, but I wonder if that has any role to play?

    • Carol I’m beginning to think you’re right. I’ve been wondering what some of my unexplained reactions have been from and perhaps it is this lactic acid. For me, if anything is processed then I’m likely to have problems. If it’s not ‘food’ as such but some other thing added in manufacture for whatever reason my tummy doesn’t like it. We’re not made to eat this rubbish. This is all so complicated. Think I’m going to move to a commune. We just don’t know what we’re eating any more. Very frustrating. If I find our more about lactic acid I will write some more. I’ll ask my allergy specialist. What I want to know is, what is this dairy free lactic acid made from then? I can’t seem to find out. We continue the journey. We’ll find out one day.

      • Ruth, alot of the items that say dairy free lactic acid say they are processed from beets. I am still not clear whether they are safe.

  5. ann rosa says:

    Just wanted to comment-I bought a bag of Herr’s tangy bbq chip-advertised as “All natural-gluten free-no preservatives” and reacted immediately as if I had eaten milk , soy or corn-all severe allergies for me-can lead to asthma , hives, etc-
    Yet-none of those allergens were listed in the ingredients-everything looked natural-potatoe flour rice flour, natural flavors” wait-someone warned me “natural flavors ” may include a whole list of not-so-natural- and allergic ingredient like MSG, etc.
    When I called Herr’s they said the natural flavoring is Lactic Acid- when I looked it up online I found your above comments which I find VERY helpful and interesting so I now know- Lactic acid can be made from dairy or even corn- possibly also soy! The company could not tell me-on my initial call what the source is-they promise to call me back. But I think we should all call them-800- 523-5030-if we have issues with lactic acid and ask them to NOT hide behind the ” natural flavors” label. If I hadn’t read this site I would have been completely puzzled about why I was having an allergic reaction. Sometimes you think you’ve developed a NEW allergy-only to find it the same old one-hiding “in sheep clothing”- let the buyer beware!!!

    • I hate the ‘natural flavours’ label, a bit like ‘spices’ which is equally as unhelpful. I tend to stick to plain ready salted crisps now but I’ve noticed a trend for all crisp companies to now state, “May contain milk, soy, gluten due to manufacturing processes”. Let the buyer indeed beware and very aware!

  6. my son has a milk and egg allergy and also moderately severe eczema. i used some nappy wipes on him last week which i stupidly didnt read the label on (deeerr!!) and he came up in a nasty nettle like rash all over his bum within 10 minutes and was screaming. i read the label of the wipes and these had lactic acid in. i thought his milk allergy was due to the proteins cassein and whey that are found in milk. has anyone else had skin reactions due to lactic acid?

    • I haven’t had a reaction to lactic acid on my skin and I’ve seen it in washing up liquid as well, it could be to anything in the wipes though, sensitive skin can be tricky. Anything is possible though.

    • Hi Kat, I’m now researching this lactic acid because several times over the last few months now my son has been having skin reactions as though taking dairy products, but none of the items he eats/drinks contain dairy. I have just discovered that one of his gluten-free breads contains lactic acid!!! From what I’ve been reading of this forum, it seems the most likely cause as he’s had this bread the last 2 days! Yes, he gets skin reactions in his groin area which resemble a reaaaaly bad sunburn, and he can’t wear any clothes when that happens as it’s just too painful. So, another ingredient added to the long list I watch out for. I hadn’t been aware of this one before! Also good to know about the “natural flavouring” mentioned on packets! Thanks guys, for all your input.

    • My scalp develops large sores or painful rashes if I use any shampoo/conditioner with lactic acid in it. (I know that this conversation was started a long time ago, but I’m am so happy I found it!!)

  7. What luck to find this site. I’ve been narrowing the source of my allergy (vomiting, ezema, bowel, etc) to lactose, of which I finally (I thought) found all various forms. Today I discovered a new one: supermarket produce departments that spray lactic acid on cut-up fruit to preserve it under the plastic wrap. What I thought would be a lovely bowl of watermelon caused my entire lunch to be upchucked. Not a happy afternoon. Add one more health hazard, and this was even from a health food store! As if that’s not enough, be aware that Dulcolax laxatives, which are often recommended to prepare for a screening colonoscopy, has lactose in it. From this site, I now see why some wines have been giving me a hard time. What else is lurking out there in our food, drink, and drugs?

  8. Victoria Jones says:

    I`ve been wondering about lactic acid for a while also, I want to make red pepper jelly and the recipe calls for liquid pectin which contains lactic acid…after reading this I think I will make an attempt with poedered pectin which is lactic acid free. On another point, I have a milk protein allergy thgat gives me a reaction of having millions of tiny spiders crawling all over my body, very very annoying( happy to have Benedryl) At one point I replaced all milk products with soy products…within 2 years I was highly allergic to soy, same spiders plus headaches and flushes. Soy is in everything under so many different names. The gentleman who tried Earth Balance probably tried the regular stuff which contains soy. Earth Balance also has a soy-free margaine that has been working great for me so far. It is one of the very few soy-free margaines. All this to say that if there is some sort of link in the allergies then watch out for the many faces of soy in your food.

  9. I am gluten intolerant, dairy and soy intolerant, nitrates are out and I’ve been having big GERD problems, no known cause, the medications for it do not work or I have a bad reaction to the medication. I can no longer drink wine, coffee, tea, etc., and today I had some naturally cured ham that contained lactic acid. What an acid bath that caused. Anyone have any cure for over acidity in stomach? And maybe the problem with wine is partly the lactic acid?? I’m getting desperate!

    • Hi Pam, sounds like we are cut from the same cloth! I have all of the same allergies that you mentioned and, I have a great remedy for GERD! Drink some high quality (“Bragg” is the best), apple cider vinegar once or twice per day. I mix mine with some water and stevia sweetner. I would guess I probably use 4 tablespoons worth. It is nasty tasting, but it will clear up GERD in nothing flat! When I was waking up with a GERD attack, I would drink some and it settles it right down. It also has a whole list of other beneficial side effects. After just a few days of drinking it, my GERD went away for good!

      If you have problems with lactic acid build up in your muscles after activity, like working in the yard, you can take a warm bath with a cup of apple cider vinegar right after the activity and it will help to keep you from getting stiff and sore. If you don’t take the bath in it after the exercise activity and wake up stiff and sore the next day, take the bath then and it will relieve 90% of the soreness. It causes the lactic acid build up (the cause of stiffness and soreness) to release from your muscles.

      As I read these blog posts, I wonder if anyone that has problems with lactic acid has noticed that the naturally occurring lactic acid build up in muscles with exercise bothers them in an allergic way?

      • sally dunman says:

        I don t understand. on Google apple cider vinegar has lactic acid. I am lactose intolerant and have IBS I was hoping to try apple cider vinegar to help with the acid but will it trigger my lactose allergy? any help on irritable bowel syndrome anyone?

        • Jennifer Lowe says:

          Ive had IBS for 15 years and I suffer if I eat any fruit but that includes all forms of cider. I personally wouldnt have that product, but then IBS is different in each person.

        • There is over-the-counter (but not prescription) medicine called Floragen. It’s pretty incredible stuff- it has helped me get through IBS for years with very little or no symptoms most days.

    • Rajkurrun Naga says:

      My son has the same problem and manages it confidently with his choice of food and drinks. He never takes anything he is not sure of its components/ingredients. Nobody knows the inherent problems of allergies better than the person suffering from it. But my little piece of advice would be to practice some yogic postures that can alleviate the acidic problem. Everyday early in the morning do KAPALBHATI. It invigorates the controlling systems in the throat and kidney regions and helps the body to fend for itself with the digestive problems. After kapabhati for 5 to 10 minutes (can increase with time depending on health/problem-free body) you can breathe out as much air as possible from the lungs, cup in your tummy as much as you can and hold on till you can. This cupping in procedure helps to relieve the stomach stressed muscles and make them stress-free. Also you need to meditate to remain cool and composed. Do some research on the internet like Swami Ramdev and yoga movement. But, mind you, yoga can be safe and helpful only when medically you are ok and doing the postures on empty stomach. Cheer up! There are billion of people suffering more badly. So be content and composed with yourself and be some sort of your own doctor as regards to food and drinks. Note down what foods make you sick. Try adding sugar to the ones you feel lightly allergic and if that does not work, curtail them for good. Best wishes!!!!!

      • I love yoga and haven’t been for nearly a year. Booked back on with my old class from September. Not sure what Kapalbhati is so I’ll look that up, but I do find yoga extremely beneficial. Never quite mastered the meditation – I just fall asleep. Cupping sounds interesting too. Thank you so much for the comment. I’d love to hear what you think about the blog I wrote about yoga a while ago.

  10. I have a new milk allergy. After eliminating dairy products I have found that I have a reaction to lactic acid. I thought I was going crazy when I had a reaction to V8 Splash juice. Thanks for the post!

    • I definitely react to all lactic acid, despite manufacturers assuring me it’s not dairy… maybe it resembles dairy when it’s been processed or has a similar message in the body. Maybe it’s just a horrible processed thing we should avoid eating anyway?

  11. We just found out that our 2yo son is allergic to dairy, eggs, soy, wheat and peanuts. We took him to an allergist to find this out. We also feel he is allergic to citric acid, (which apparently can’t be tested for). The dr. tested him for acidic foods (oranges and lemons) and they came back mildly allergic, so the dr. said it’s not a big deal, but anytime he has juice, popsicles, anything w/citric acid he break out terribly all over his body and goes on a rampage! I’m wondering if non-dairy lactic acid will cause him the same problems. I’m trying to find a non-dairy, non-soy margarine but I’m not comming up w/anything. Whenever I find something it’ll say non-dairy lactic acid (which after reading this I’m afraid to try), or “natural flavors”. Why can’t they just print what’s in the darn stuff and be done?!?! SOOOOOOO frustrating!!! I can’t wait till my son is a little older and can tell me when he’s having a reaction to something he ate, and not having to wait until he blows up or guess what he ate when he goes on his rampages. When he eats something that bothers him he just becomes this mean, nasty little boy. So frustrating cause it’s hard to discipline him when we don’t know if it just from being 2 or from an allergic reaction to something.

    • I am finding that all of these processed things, not just lactic acid, cause me a problem. I’m sticking to a totally freefrom processed foods diet at the moment (I am having a bit of #GF bread I know is OK, plamil chocolate as a real treat and plain crisps… cheating I know) and finding it really helps. I don’t know what is giving me the problem sometimes but it’s anything processed that does it. It’s as if I’ve had dairy or soya but I haven’t. Could it be cross contamination? As for dairy free spreads, have you tried Pure dairy free spread sunflower? Ingredients: Sunflower Oil (40%), Water, Vegetable Oils, Salt (0.75%), Emulsifier (Mono and Diglycerides of Sunflower Fatty Acids), Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin A, Colour (Natural Carotenes), Vitamin D as D2, Vitamin B12. Alternatively you can buy coconut butter, I hesitate because it’s expensive, but that is then just one ingredients, pure coconut butter. I’ve bought some and using it sparing but it’s good. It does taste coconuty though so your son may not like the taste. Or there are also some processed coconut butters on Goodness Direct although health food shops stock lots of other brands so shop around.

      • There is increasing concern[by whom?] that the product labeling that includes “vegetable fat” or “vegetable oil” in its list of ingredients masks the identity of the fats or oils present. This has been made more pressing as concerns have been raised over the social and environmental and health impact of palm oil in particular, especially given the predominance of palm oil.[34]

        From 13th December 2014 all food products produced in the European Union will be legally required to indicate the specific vegetable oil used in their manufacture, following the introduction of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation [35]

  12. Elizabeth Lyons says:

    I so glad I can across this question. I didn’t buy this product because it said lactic acid. I don’t care that it said non dairy. My daughter is ALLERGIC. Allergic is different than an intolerance. While there are all different levels of how allergic someone is. I really wish people would understand that having a dairy allergy could be life threatening. Our family lost a beautiful cousin due to an anaphylactic reaction. She had a dairy allergy.

    • I am so sorry to hear about your cousin, that must bring it very close to home for you. So sad, an with food allergies, you know that it could have been completely avoidable if the mistake, whatever it was, hadn’t been made. I avoid anything with lactic acid in it, despite whether it says dairy free or not, I seem to have a mild reaction whether it comes from.

  13. I have had problems with milk since I was a kid but it wasn’t until recently that i had been diagnosed as allergic to cow’s milk (along with egg whites, wheat, tomatoes, oranges, beef, & pork) . After reading this though I am now wondering if it’s the lactic acid. I had narrowed down the lactic acid allergy some years ago after my lips breaking out after consuming diet margarine.
    The testing the dermatologist had done didn’t seem to be very thorough since it didn’t even mention my lactic acid allergy. She was testing me due to reoccurring problems with rashes. She said that it was psoriasis but all of the meds they kept giving me didn’t seem to clear it up. It wasn’t until I started taking a simple vitamin C & E complex that finally cleared it up. It is addressing the underlying issue of my immune system being weak.
    Hope this helps someone else too.

    • All these horrid processed things are not good for the body. I KNOW I react to stuff with lactic acid in it, so there is something funny going on with it. Not sure what but worth avoiding to see if it helps. Good luck! It’s in loads of things though!

  14. Christina says:

    I feel for everyone else’s struggle with this. My children and I suffer greatly from this also. My son reacts the strongest, then me and then my daughter. To Emily, I totally understand!! My almost 7yo boy is a total Dr. Jeckle/Mr.Hyde when he’s gets anything he reacts to. We are wheat, gluten, dairy, lactic acid, and most soy intolerant. On top of all that the three of us are adhd/add. I have done a lot of research along with tons of trial and error. What I have learned so far is that lactic acid is most definitely affecting us. I have also found that if the lactic acid is not from a milk source they (food manufacturers) consider it g.r.a.s.s. (generally recognized as safe)

    • Christina says:

      Therefore don’t have to list it. Lactic acid is also a naturally occurring substance when you pickle/ferment things. That is one of the reasons I think wine is a problem. The other thing is allot of wines are fermented in a wooden cask that has been sealed with a wheat or barley paste. We have reacted to all vinegar, pectin (is an extract), coco is fermented to get the seeds, grocery store meat has been soaked in potassium lactate as a flavor enhancer, preservative. Any processed meat. Anything that has natural in it, natural and artificial flavor, flavor,extract, spices, carmel color, corn/ high fructose corn syrup has vanilla extract in it. All antihistamines on the market have lactose monohydrate in them. This is just the tip of the iceberg. My son when he doesn’t have anything that affects him is the sweetest kid you would ever want to meet. When he gets wheat though he gets very belligerent and down right mean. He will start throwing a 2yo temper tantrum big kid size. The frustrating part is he has no idea of what he’s doing and no recollection once it’s over. When he goes into this mode there is nothing consitant to bring him out of it. These fits generally last approx 45 min at a time. He has no sense of consequences, or any thought of safety for anyone! When he has milk or any part thereof he will flood the bed 1-3 times a night the second night after he has eaten it. My daughter and I get headaches, stomach aches and generally feel like we’ve been hit by a truck several times.

      • The more I think about the more I am convinced that avoiding processed foods is the answer. All these highly processed non-foods we eat in our food without even knowing they are there could be what’s causing so many of us a problem.

        • I have had what was diagnosed but not confirmed as IBS for many years. I first had a problem with apples, then I noticed also lettuce and then strawberries. These are things I had eaten all my life but then in my 60’s all of a sudden I could not tolerate them. Within an hour (sometimes quicker) I had severe diahrrea. I try to avoid these at all times. I then also noticed a problem with those good hotdogs at Costco and one day eating chinese food. I took this to be MSG so I avoid those as well. I have tried such things as Florastor, Acidophilus, and that new stuff called Align … none of which gave me good relief. My Dr. has prescribed a medication called Olestyr which is primarily for cholesteral problems but is also used as a solution for loose bowel problems. It seems to be controlling the problem quite well but it still does not do the trick if I eat one of the above mentioned foods. The contents of apples, strawberries and lettuce are so minute compared to the level of water I am not sure what can be in them that causes a problem. Last night I ate a prepared rice package … Uncle Ben’s wild rice. According to the label it does not contain MSG but it does contain lactic acid, (which brought me to this site), potassium chloride, silicone dioxide and dextrose none of which I thought were a problem. Now I wonder about lactic acid.
          Anyone with similar problems particularly re apples , lettuce and strawberries.
          I ate them for 60 years with no problem … now it’s “no way”.

          • Hi Bill, this might be oral allergy syndrome. Do you get hayfever too? The foods you list could be cross reacting with a birch allergy. I can sympathise. I get problems with celery and cucumber! It’s just water right? Are you the same with the raw as the cooked food? We are complex beings. But what I am coming to realise is that all these artificial, manmade foods that manufacturers stuff ready meals and processed food with are not good for us. Some of us, like you are maybe more sensitive. Not such a bad thing though if you imagine what it’s doing to people who continue to eat the stuff without any side effects. Why apples and strawberries adn lettuce should cause a problem though is a bit of a mystery. But whatever is in this lactic acid which seems to be in a lot of stuff does not agree with me at all. Nasty stuff. Stick to natural food except the three you can’t have obviously!

      • Wow! These posts have been very enlightening. My kids have so many food sensitivities. What I’ve found is that they seem to be sensitive to the many hidden sources of MSG including many that you have listed…

  15. Jennifer Lowe says:

    I am so amazed snd pleased I have read this. For years I hsve had IBS but just recently I hsve s really bad reaction to sour cream. Having read this everything has sunk into place. I am intolerent to lactic acid. Not lactose because I am fine with most dairy products. But wine!!! Big no no. Sour cream gives me such horrendous nausea…..I am suffering now. Ive had natural yogurt once because of how ill I felt afterwards. I feel like this could be a break through!! THANK YOU!!!

    • There is something very odd about lactic acid. Glad to have helped and I hope you find some relief from avoiding it. But like you say, IBS is so different for each person.

    • Do you know of anyone who has ever used Valerian as an anti anxiety aid in the issue of IBS. I feel the intestinal nervous system has a lot to do with IBS. My Dr. could possibly agree with that but, if so, he is inclined to take a psychologist approach to it i.e. try talking yourself out of it. I’m not so sure that would work. I feel it is more of a physical thing and not a mental thing.

      • I am inclined to agree that these things are very often physical and caused by something but they can be exacerbated by stress. As for your questions above, I’m not sure. I do take Valerian, passiflora and hops if I can’t sleep as a natural remedy. It relaxes so I would say it cannot do any harm. IBS can be caused by stress as the body gets all knotted up like your brain does so there could be something in this.

  16. Gavin Denning says:

    A note about Lactic acid which forms in meat that is hung, thus tenderising it.
    I am dairy free, porridge oats are flatulence bomb, some foods seem to make my mucus membrane in my bowel overreact and produce a flatulence and excess mucus.

  17. My boyfriend has an unusual diet-related intolerance. He seems to be intolerant to lactobacillus. Not lactose. He can drink milk and eat ice cream or sherbet, no problem. Tiny amounts of Romano or Parmesan cheese, well aged (maybe 1/4 level tsp per meal), is also tolerated fairly well. But give him cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt (incl. frozen yogurt), kefir, or a probiotic containing lactobacillus, and his gut immediately tries to eliminate all contents. He also cannot have traditional sauerkraut or traditional pickles/olives, as those cause a similar reaction. I can’t speak about wine or beer, since he doesn’t drink, but I imagine ones that have significant lactic acid fermentation (lambics and some weissbeirs) would likely have a similar effect. He can take probiotics as long as they don’t contain any lactobacillus.

    • That is very interesting. I haven’t heard of this before but it could be something to do with yeast and fermentation. He is very unique your boyfriend. I wonder if he would be able to tolerate coconut yogurt? Coyo do a lovely range of dairy free yogurts but if they’ve added any cultures chances are your boyfriend might have the same issue. At least he knows what to avoid. Thanks for sharing this. I will have into look into it further. A new one for me.

  18. So interesting to read through this blog. I was told I was reacting to the sulphur dioxide in wine several years ago -made me very sad 🙁 . My symptoms were redness/inflammation around the nose and face and also crusting around the nose, congestion, sinus etc. I have a glass of wine very occasionally (maybe one a month) as seem to be ok so long as i dont have more in the following days. Wondering now if sulphur dioxide and lactic acid are connected? Ive also given up wheat, dairy and vegetables of the deadly nightshade variety so like many I seem to have multiple sensitivities.

    • Hi Robyn, I get the weird crusting around the nostrils and ears too. I don’t know if the two are i any way related, apart from both being unnatural manmade additives. You can get very low sulphite wines. Have you tried SoLo?

  19. My husband died last May.
    Then as I went through the grief process, I developed adverse reactions to various foods. These reactions appear to be diminishing but I miss my wine. I recently stopped drinking it because I read all these posts about lactic acid. But I do believe my body was reactin g to my grief. Someone once said, “The body keeps score” and I believe that.

  20. Like some were hinting at but didn’t fully explain, many foods will develop lactic acid naturally during fermentation without the need to adding any. For example, when you ferment cucumbers to make pickles, you are creating lactic acid, and the sam with soy sauce and sourdough starter, among other things. Some producers will add lactic acid when making these products, but even if they don’t, the product may contain it without the producer being required to list it as it’s technically not a separate ingredient. So beware any fermented products.

    I struggle with either lactic acid or lacto basillicus, or maybe it’s both. In addition, I can no longer eat mushrooms, iceberg lettuce, most carbonated drinks, more than a small amount of onion, and some other things.

    There are a couple of products on the market right now that everyone might want to look into: Nutiva butter spread and Melt butter spread. Neither contains lactic acid.

    I’ve started a blog with tips on dealing with dairy free living and recipes. Feels free to check it out and continue the conversation there.

  21. Lactic acid can cause health issues especially over time. Insufficient kidney output is one ailment. Baking soda has been used for some time to help relieve the build-up. Following a more alkaline (which soda is) than acid diet, 80-20 ratio, can also be helpful.
    You can Google about baking soda helping and about alkaline food lists.

    • Baking soda has so many uses! I’ve used it clear a nasty bout of cystitis before. Works wonders and means you don’t need antibiotics. It also cleaned the limescale in my shower! Thanks for sharing this. There is a lot of sense in having a more alkaline diet.

  22. If you have lactic acid issues please be careful if you take metformin.

    I’ve been dealing with lactic acid allergy since I was 15 or 16 and I’m now 50. It was easy to figure out at that point in time because the foods I was reacting to were different and the only common ingredient was lactic acid. It is so bad I have to carry an epipen.

    Anyway, my doctor had been wanting me to take metformin for years and I always refused because the main side effect (other than diarrhea) is lactic acidosis. So after being hounded to take it and being assured that was such a rare occurrence and would not happen in an otherwise healthy person, I agreed to take it. In less than a month I was admitted to the hospital and was almost placed on a ventilator. I was told that I had lactic acidosis. I have never been more terrified in my life.

    I was on 240mg of solumedrol a day for 3 days before seeing any improvement. I was in there a week and I ended up being released on 120mg of Prednisone that took 6 weeks to taper off of.

    So please be mindful of this when you see a medication with this side effect listed if you have lactic acid issues.

    Some things I have learned over the years:

    1. Read labels every single time you eat something. Even if you have eaten 1001 times before.
    2. Avoid anything that is fermented. This includes apple cider vinegar, hot sauces, beer and wine just to name a few.
    3. Coffee produces lactic acid when brewed. I learned this the hard way.
    4. Please see if your doctor will order you an epipen to have on hand should you have a *surprise* lactic acid content moment.

    *I am not a medical professional. These observations are from personal experience.

  23. I have no problems with dairy, when I eat anything with lactic acid I can have a reaction as mild as stomach ache or as extreme as puking until it’s all out of my system when I feel better immediately it’s gone. Could anyone tell me if this means I am intolerant or just joining the dots incorrectly.

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