This blog is about corn allergy, but it’s no secret by now that I don’t “just” have a corn allergy. I also have a mast cell disorder, and that is likely the reason my corn reactions are so severe and sensitive. It is also the reason why I react to so many other things besides corn. More and more people with corn allergies are looking into mast cell disorders for themselves, so I figure it’s high time for me to discuss them here.
What Are Mast Cell Disorders?
Mast Cell Activation Disorders (MCAD) are abnormalities of your mast cells. Mast cells are a very important part of your immune system and are involved in your body’s defense against pathogens. They protect your body from invaders by releasing inflammatory factors including histamine, such as in an allergic reaction. When you have too many mast cells, or they are malformed or dysfunctional, you can have allergic reactivity without the same immunological pathways involved in allergies. There are two types of mast cell activation disorders: Mastocytosis, and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS).
Help! I’m Reacting to Water???!
This is a message I’ve gotten a few times, and I haven’t had a very complete response to it to date because I haven’t been able to solve the problem for myself. And now that I have it mostly solved, I still don’t have any clear explanation for the phenomenon or any guaranteed solutions for anyone. Just some suggestions. But here is literally everything I know about and have tried re: finding safe water to drink when you have corn allergy, chemical sensitivity, or a mast cell disorder.
I am making many claims below that need elaboration or references. I will come back and add details and links as I have time, but I thought it was important to just do a brain dump ASAP because there are people who need this info that currently don’t have safe water.
tl;dr – The Short Version
If you are allergic to corn and are reacting to your water, DO NOT DRINK Dasani or Aquafina. These are KNOWN to contain corn derivatives in the form of “added minerals” and/or the bottles are made from corn plastic.
Try buying Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring brand (owned by CG Roxane) bottled water before you try anything else. It is cheap and easily attainable in many areas at drugstores, grocery stores, dollar stores, liquidation stores, etc. There are several spring sources and not all of them work for everyone, and also there are still people who cannot tolerate this water. If that doesn’t work, begin trialing: Fiji, Starbucks Ethos brand, Voss in glass bottles, Poland Springs. Also join the Facebook Corn Allergy and Intolerance group, because you are going to need some real-time group support getting this figured out.
Where’s the Corn (or other allergens) in Water?
Quite honestly, I do not know why precisely water is such a problem for corn allergy folks. It definitely is but I really can’t provide a lot of clear physiological explanation for why that would be. It is true that some corn derivatives may be used in water treatment, and that mineral fortification treatments may have corn-based excipients in them. However the degree to which we see water issues really outpaces what could be explained by that, in my observation.
I think it is likely an issue with multiple sensitivities and the intersection of mast cell activation disorders that causes the issue. And the result of that is that there is no universally tolerated water, and there are several folks within my online social circles at any given point in time who are not completely tolerating *any* water.
Here are the things that I have observed can be problems for myself and others with corn allergy and/or mast cell activation disorders:
Bottles: Glass Sanitizers
Antimicrobials seem to be a huge trigger for corn allergy folks as well as MCAD folks. No-rinse bottle sanitizer products can contain corn derivatives and even corn starch when they are the drop-in tablet form.
Bottles: Glass Mold Release/Coatings