Can you be allergic to vinegar? (3 Possibilities)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “can you be allergic to vinegar?” We will discuss the reasons that cause an allergic reaction to vinegar including the chemical compounds and ways to deal with vinegar allergy. 

Can you be allergic to vinegar?

You can be allergic to vinegar. Allergy toward vinegar does not count as a real allergy because it is intolerance or sensitivity rather than an allergic reaction. 

The intolerance toward vinegar can be mistaken as an allergy because it presents similar symptoms as food allergy including asthma, hives, itchy skin, and stomach pain. 

What is a vinegar allergy?

Vinegar allergy is different from other allergies because the immune system response is different from other food allergies. 

A sensitivity towards one or more chemical compounds occurs that causes an immune response that is similar to food allergy. 

It is called pseudoallergy and can be toward the chemicals in vinegar including salicylate, histamines, sulfites, acetic acid. The immune response tends to vary depending on the severity of the allergy. 

Allergic response to Salicylic acid in vinegar

Salicylate or salicylic acid occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables such broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, radishes, spinach, apples, and avocados. Salicylic acid is present in foods that have a high amount of vitamins and minerals and is a beneficial compound.

Thus, Salicylate acid is not usually harmful or a potential allergenic but some people who are sensitive will need to control and manage healthy fruits and vegetables in their diet to prevent a reaction.

Salicylic acid can cause you to have asthma, nasal sensitivity, diarrhea, hives, and a stuffy nose.

People who have a family history of allergy to salicylic acid or similar allergies such as asthma or hives are prone to be allergic. Children are at a higher risk to be allergic to salicylic acid as compared to adults. 

Allergic response to Histamine in vinegar

Another compound that can be a source of allergy is histamine. Histamine is also present in fruits and vegetables, thus occurring naturally. It is also present in the body. 

Histamine serves an important function in the body by controlling inflammation, response towards an allergic reaction, and controlling the body’s immune system. 

When you intake vinegar, histamines from vinegar make their way into the body and also cause the body to produce them. 

Some people can be sensitive to the main ingredient in vinegar that is acetic acid. An allergic reaction causes a person to experience abdominal pain, congestion, constipation, diarrhea, headache, itchy skin, and a rapid heartbeat. 

Acetic acid makes 5 percent of vinegar and has many health benefits to the body including controlling blood sugar and having an antimicrobial effect.

Allergy to acetic acid is possible, however not prevalent. The allergic reaction is caused by contact or by oral digestion of the acid. An allergic reaction brought on by acetic acid causes asthma, hives, and a stuffy nose. 

Sulfite sensitivity is caused by fermented foods and liquids such as wine, beer, and vinegar. People who have asthma are more prone to being allergic to sulfite and experience similar adverse effects.

How to deal with vinegar allergy?

Vinegar allergy, like other allergies, does not go away. You need to keep away from vinegar or foods with vinegar to prevent the trigger of symptoms. 

There are many compounds in vinegar, one or more of which you can be allergic towards. Hence, vinegar allergy can be hard to diagnose. If you think you might be allergic to vinegar you should see your health care practitioner, physician, or allergist. 

Instead of missing vinegar completely from the diet, you could reduce it to trace quantities if it does not trigger an allergic reaction. 

The chemical compounds that cause an allergic reaction could be either histamine allergy or salicylate allergy. If you are allergic to either of these compounds, you will need to avoid some fruits and vegetables that have this chemical compound. 

Should you see a doctor if you have a vinegar allergy?

If you are allergic to either salicylate or histamine, you need to see a health practitioner or dietician who will help you get the nutrients from the fruits and vegetables that you will need to avoid. 

You also need to steer clear of the following foods including; pickled foods, soups and stews, condiments, salad dressings, sauces, and marinades. You also cannot add Worcestershire sauce and soya sauce as they also have vinegar added. 

To substitute vinegar in your diet, there are other alternatives such as lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, tamarind paste, or cranberry juice. 

Other FAQs about Vinegar that you may be interested in.

Can you be allergic to apple cider vinegar?

How to make vinegar stronger?

What can I substitute for white vinegar?


In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you be allergic to vinegar? We discussed the reasons that cause an allergic reaction to vinegar including the chemical compounds and ways to deal with vinegar allergy.