Pickles and grapefruit
September 26, 2006 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Is there a link between deli-style pickles and grapefruits that both cause a baby's face to have a skin allergy? Do they share any traits or ingredients that would have that reaction? Are their juices too acidic/basic?
posted by fijiwriter to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
I can tell you that both brine and grapefuit are fairly acidic. I'm no dermatologist, though, so I don't know if it would cause a rash.
posted by chrisamiller at 2:17 PM on September 26, 2006

There's a chemical in grapefruit called niringin that I was allergic to as a child. Apparently it's in all citrus fruits, but grapefruit has high concentrations of it (and that's why it tastes so distinct). People who are severely allergic can't have any citrus. No idea if it's in your pickles, but some people (especially kids) are allergic to grapefruit.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:30 PM on September 26, 2006

I meant to add that skin irritation (hives) is also a major symptom of the allergy. But if your baby does have a grapefruit allergy, s/he could grow out of it. I did, and so did my cousin who also had it.

(Also, googling suggests that the chemical is called "naringin.")
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:49 PM on September 26, 2006

posted by markovitch at 3:55 PM on September 26, 2006

The chemical Mayor Curley refers to is a P450 blocker. P450's are a very important family of liver (and other organ) enzymes which are responsible for key steps in the metabolic degradation of almost all drugs and other exogenous compounds, as well as some endogenous compounds, such as bilirubin.

Lemongrass, a very common ingredient in pickles, especially in South Asia, also contains significant amounts of a P450 blocker (beta-myrcene).
posted by jamjam at 4:52 PM on September 26, 2006

Is it really an allergic reaction or is it more of a reaction to the irritant/acidic properties of both foods? Parents frequently mention concerns about allergies when their child develops redness and irritation on the face in areas where the food has come in contact, and both of these seem capable of causing local irritation. Our kids got horrendous redness from ketchup, salad dressings, etc.
posted by docpops at 7:32 AM on September 27, 2006

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