One morning, a few months after my diagnosis of Alpha-Gal Allergy, I was swishing mouthwash as part of my morning routine. For some reason this morning, I noticed in the mirror that my face was turning beet red.
Looking through the ingredients list of the mouthwash, I see glycerin. Some quick online searches reveal that glycerin can be plant or animal based. A quick search on the Facebook support group shows many others react to glycerin and avoid items that contain it as an ingredient.
The surprising thing for me with this revelation was that this Alpha-Gal Allergy was not simply what I eat. It’s not just avoiding beef, lamb, pork, and even dairy. It’s much more than that.
Glycerin, according to Wikipedia, can be either plant or animal based. Animal-based glycerin is from tallow, or beef or mutton fat.
Glycerin is also widely used in various products.
In food and beverages, glycerol serves as a humectant, solvent, and sweetener, and may help preserve foods. It is also used as filler in commercially prepared low-fat foods (e.g., cookies), and as a thickening agent in liqueurs.
Glycerol is used in medical, pharmaceutical and personal care preparations, mainly as a means of improving smoothness, providing lubrication, and as a humectant. It is found in allergen immunotherapies, cough syrups, elixirs and expectorants, toothpaste, mouthwashes, skin care products, shaving cream, hair care products, soaps, and water-based personal lubricants. In solid dosage forms like tablets, glycerol is used as a tablet holding agent.
Wow! So I’m potentially allergic to all that! And that’s just one ingredient. When you look at other ingredients like gelatin, lanolin, and magnesium stearate, you start to see that this allergy is much more than just a meat allergy, and it’s much more than a food allergy.
If you look hard, you will find many products that don’t contain mammal. The best course of action is to look for vegan or plant-based alternatives.
For vegan mouthwash, I like Uncle Harry’s Remineralization Liquid for Tooth Enamel, and for vegan toothpaste, I use Redmond Earthpaste. After you purge your pantry of potential hazards, be sure to look over your toiletries and other non-food items as well.
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