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.

As a result, it is sometimes labeled as a pseudoallergy. Nonetheless, some people may encounter symptoms resembling allergies due to an intolerance or sensitivity towards specific ingredients or chemical compounds found in vinegar. (1, 2) 

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. (1)

Can you have an allergic response to Salicylic acid in vinegar?

Yes you have an 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. (3)

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. (4)

Can you have an allergic response to Histamine in vinegar?

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

Histamine intolerance results from a disequilibrium of accumulated histamine and the capacity for histamine degradation. The main enzyme for metabolism of ingested histamine is diamine oxidase (DAO). 

An impaired histamine degradation based on a reduced DAO activity and the resulting excess of histamine may cause numerous symptoms mimicking an allergic reaction.

When you intake vinegar, histamines from vinegar make their way into the body and also cause the body to produce them. It may provoke diarrhea, headache, congestion of the nose, wheezing, hypotension, arrhythmia, urticaria, pruritus, flushing, and other conditions. (5)

Can you have an allergic response to Acetic Acid in vinegar?

Yes. Some people can be sensitive to the main ingredient in vinegar that is acetic acid. 

In very few cases of hypersensitivity reactions after wine drinking, skin prick testing showed positive immediate-type reactions to ethanol or its metabolites – via acetaldehyde dehydrogenase – acetaldehyde and acetic acid. (6)

Can you have an allergic response to Sulfite in vinegar?

Yes, 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. (7)

What are the symptoms of vinegar allergy?

People who are susceptible to rare cases of vinegar allergies may experience symptoms such as widespread hives (urticaria), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing (dyspnea).   (7)

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. In such cases, treatment options might involve administering epinephrine injections, using steroids, and taking diphenhydramine. (1, 7)


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. 


  1. Jillian Kubala, Cecilia Snyder, Vinegar Allergy: Causes, Symptoms, and Alternatives. Healthline Media LLC. 2021.
  2. Martini Nataly Apple cider vinegar. Journal of Primary Health Care 13, 191-192. 2021.
  3. Gajewska D, Kęszycka PK, Sandzewicz M, Kozłowski P, Myszkowska-Ryciak J. Intake of Dietary Salicylates from Herbs and Spices among Adult Polish Omnivores and Vegans. Nutrients; 12(9):2727. 2020
  4. Baenkler HW. Salicylate intolerance: pathophysiology, clinical spectrum, diagnosis and treatment. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 105(8):137-42. 2008.
  5. Maintz, L., & Novak, N.  Histamine and histamine intolerance. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85(5), 1185–1196. 2007.
  6. Wüthrich B. Allergic and intolerance reactions to wine. Allergol Select.2(1):80-88. 2018.
  7. Nanagas, V., Tipton-Hendershot, S., Cook, C., & Holland, C. P285 Anaphylactoid reaction to mother of vinegar. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 117(5), S106. 2016

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