anthocyanin and tannin sensitivity

Jack Campin jack at purr.demon.co.uk
Fri Oct 24 18:43:18 EST 1997

[ Note, this message is crossposted to two groups. ]

I have an assortment of mostly minor food intolerances.  One rather
unpleasant thing that has surfaced recently appears to be a sensitivity
to anthocyanins.  I've known for a long time that I have a problem with
tannins, which as I understand are anthocyanidin polymers - I wake up in
the morning with aching hips, as if I had mild arthritis; the pain
dissipates within a few minutes of getting up and walking around.  (Foods
that do this include tea and rowan or whitebeam berries and products
thereof, like the vast batch of rowan jelly I made last year).  The
anthocyanin problem is much more painful; instead of hips, it's shoulders
and upper arms, and while it's worst in the morning it can persist for
days after I eat a lot of anthocyanins.  I sleep on a futon on the floor,
and the problem has sometimes been bad enough that I ended up getting into
bed with something like a parachutist's roll rather than take the weight on
my arms.  And I've had flashes of pain down my arms that mimic RSI when I'm
working at the computer.  The only similar pain I've had before was several
years ago, after a day of walking with an immensely overloaded rucksack and
the straps cutting into my shoulders.

OK, I know what sets it off (black plums, fruit drinks like Vimto that use
anthocyanins as colourings, and worst of all, red cabbage).  And I know how
to deal with it; don't drink Vimto (sob!) or eat red cabbage, which amounts
to an inconvenience rather than a catastrophic diminution in quality of
life (though I *like* Vimto!)   But I want to know what the heck is going
on.  What normally happens to anthocyanins in the body?  Is there a specific
enzyme that plays an essential role in metabolizing them that I might have
got knocked out somehow?  If so, am I more likely to have knocked the enzyme
out by sheer overloading with anthocyanins ("EDINBURGH MAN'S VIMTO ADDICTION
HELL", as the Daily Record might put it), or is there some other substance
that irreversibly binds to it, or what?  And what would squiffy anthocyanin
processing be likely to do to nervous or muscular tissue?

(I'm assuming this is a metabolic rather than an immunological problem;
the symptoms aren't much like those of an immune reaction.  But I could
be wrong).

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Jack Campin   2 Haddington Place, Edinburgh EH7 4AE, Scotland   0131 556 5272
http://www.purr.demon.co.uk/purrhome.html  food intolerance data and recipes,
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