Are sulphites bad for you?

Written by Benjamin Semmens, Registered Nutritionist (BHSc)

Maybe you’ve heard that sulphites are the reason for your headaches after drinking red wine. In recent times, sulphites have been condemned as a preservative that is damaging to our health, yet sulphites have been used for thousands of years in the production of food and wine. Read on to find out where sulphites are found in the diet and if they’re as damaging to your health as we’ve been led to believe. 


What are sulphites?

Sulphites, also known as sulphur dioxide, is a chemical compound that occurs naturally in certain foods and are also widely used as a food additive to enhance flavour and preserve freshness due to sulphite’s antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

Sulphites have been used since the ancient romans when they first discovered that it would prevent their wine from turning into vinegar. To this day, sulphites are still used in the wine making process to preserve the flavour and freshness of wines.

What many people don’t realise is that there are also other foods and drinks that contain sulphites such as fruit juice, cordial, instant tea, soft drinks, dried fruits, dried vegetables, pickled vegetables, condiments, jarred fruit, gelatin, coconut, baked goods, and other commercially prepared foods.

Exposure to sulphites can also occur through the use of cosmetics (hair colours and bleaches, creams, and perfumes) and medications (eye drops, topical medications, adrenaline, phenylephrine, corticosteroids, local anaesthetics).

Are sulphites bad for your health?

Food Standards Australia New Zealand concluded that the safety of sulphites has been thoroughly investigated and for most people sulphites are safe. However, some sulphite-sensitive people, many of whom also have asthma, may react to sulphites with allergy-like symptoms that affects approximately 3-10% of asthmatics.

Should I avoid sulphites?

If you suspect you have a sulphite allergy you should avoid foods and medications that contain sulphites, but its best to first consult with your healthcare professional to confirm that the cause of your symptoms are from sulphites and not some other type of allergy.

Why does TheraJoint+ have sulphites?

You may have read that TheraJoint+ contains sulphites. Trace amounts of maltodextrin (a type of carbohydrate) are used as part of the production process. Maltodextrin has 10mg/kg of sulphites max, meaning that the sulphite amount found in our capsules is less than 0.001% that could be considered negligible. In Australia, sulphites must be declared on the label of a packaged food when present in foods in concentrations of 10 mg/kg or more.

If you have any questions or need support with your health, feel free to email our head nutritionist Ben at


This article does not constitute medical advice and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please see your medical professional before implementing the above