anyone else had a reaction to xantham gum?

I made homemade gf pizza last night, using Doves farm selfraising white flour (which has xantham in it) and I added a 1 tsp of xantham as well. The topping was Sacla sun-dried tomato pesto, sliced bell-pepper, sliced mushroom, pimiento olives, sliced Spanish chorizo, and grated mozzarella cheese. I have eaten all those products before without any reactions. I found I got that familiar 'full' (as in heavy and gassy) feeling after one slice. I was then bloated and gassy for the rest of the night, but unusually for me (DH) I didn't get the itchy skin reaction. However, today I had a quarter of a slice cold from the fridge and I'm still itching over an hour later and the familiar blisters are popping up.

This is the first time I've baked with xantham gum, and the additional 1tsp was in error as I was following a recipe and forgot that the Doves selfraising already contained xantham...I have read elsewhere that it is not uncommon for coeliacs to be sensitive to xantham. Particularly in terms of bloating and gassy and itchy reactions. Anyone else had this?

14 Replies

  • Hi Lexy, I can't eat can't eat xanthum without terrible trouble (just gut) so never eat anything with it in. I use urid lentil flour so I don't need any gums in baking.

  • Thanks for that Lois. Have just binned my xanthan gum...hate to bin my Doves flour cause it wasn't cheap...but then who wants to pass on poison to a friend?! :0)

  • Many people can not tolerate gums because ther are hydroscopic so absorb a lot of moisture and are like super roughage.

    Wheat can be used as the source of xanthan gum as well.

    And Doves farm flour is milled in the same building as wheat flour. There's been a warning about Doves buckwheat flour containing over 20ppm on the FSA site recently. Where wheat flour is milled is when gluten from flour dust can be in the atmosphere.

    Now you've binned the xanthan gum I'd try something with a small amount of the Doves flour and see how you get on. But it's not easy when you're suspicious of something, so do let us know how you get on.

  • Hi Jerry, sorry to take so long to get back to you...I finally dared to make something with the Doves Farm selfraising flour (which contains xanthan gum) again... In fact I did a semi-controlled experiment! I made scones with Asdas gluten free flour (which does not have xanthan gum listed in the ingredients, so I'm assuming it's xanthan free); ate some of the them and got no reaction. Then I made some scones with the Doves Farm flour and lo and behold my ears started itching, my fingers started itching and the backs of my knees started itching...can it possible be a coincidence?? I think not. So I will have to ditch the Doves Farm flour along with the xanthan gum. Sigh. I'm so glad to have discovered Asdas gluten free flour. I've been using it without any issues at all. Phew!

  • Hi Lexy, all Doves Fram flours are all milled in the same building and gluten is airborne when it is milled. Doves Farm have recently had to recall a batch of buckwheat flour as it is above 20ppm. Buckwheat when milled away from 'normal' flours should not have any detectable gluten in it.

    Super sensitive coeliac avoid Doves farm flours because of this.

    So I think it could be either and the main thing is you have found a flour that is OK for you.

    For scones etc when we add eggs there's no need for gums anyway. I only use xanthan gum for bread.

    The main thing is you have some scones that you can enjoy so I am pleased for you. And thanks for the feed back as it's difficult experimenting on our selves!

  • Cheers Jerry, yes I can't sing the praises of Asda's gluten free flour enough! Unfortunately there is no Asda's right around the corner so I have to make a dedicated journey to get there, but that's a small price to pay for not having reactions when I make something with gf flour. Let's just hope they don't go changing their recipe!!! You are of course right, that it may just be that I don't cope with Doves Farm flours...or I suppose it may be a combination of both that flour and xanthan...but it's great to know what to specifically stay away from to avoid future issues.

  • Thanks for that Tony. I had been wary of using xanthan gum, but hadn't realised (until afterwards, when I did better research) about its origins. I now do NOT understand why it is in an 'gf' products at all, let alone non-gf products! I was unaware that Doves Farm flours were so dodgy. My friend made me a gf-pastry yesterday using Asda's gf plain white flour and I felt no reaction whatsoever! It has no xantham gum in it as per ingredients label. Am unsure of any ppm of gluten it may contain.

  • Xanthan gum does NOT contain any gluten. It's a sugar molecule. However there are a small number of people who are allergic to xanthan gum itself. This has nothing to do with your reaction to gluten. It's a separate issue. It's just like being allergic to say milk, celery or peanuts. There are many other products which have xanthan gum in them, and you will need to avoid them too. It's used widely in dairy products and salad dressings as a thickening agent. Xanthan gum can actually help people with IBS, so please don't knock it!

  • Hi hipchickmck, somehow you have misread my query and comment. At no point did I ever say that xanthan gum contained gluten!

    My query concerned a reaction to ingesting xanthan gum. I think of wheat as a poison too, given what modern technology and production has done to the original grain. I prefer not to ingest something which is regularly used in cosmetics (toothpaste, shampoos etc, which are generally not safe to eat). Our society seems bent on convincing us that we have to eat food that has been 'modified'. Personally I believe it is far better and healthier to eat simple food, unprocessed food, no additives etc.

  • Thanks for sharing Tony62! It's always good to get it 'from the horse's mouth' so to speak!

  • No but I have recently had a very severe reaction to Doves Plain Flour. My daughter cooked a roast dinner for all the family. She made gf Yorkshire puddings and gf gravy for me using Doves flour. I would class myself as a supersensitive coeliac who reacts to even the smallest amount of gluten. I try not to eat any gf products but it's really difficult if you want to travel and take a packed lunch. GF should mean GF, no "less than 20ppm" or made in factories where flour is used. I've started to use ground almonds instead of flour for cakes and crumbles and I'm trying to find almond flour to use to make bread and cakes. Nigella uses ground almonds for some of her cakes.

  • Hi violetkathy, interesting about Doves flour. My friend, who normally uses Asda's gf when baking for me, ran out and only had access to Doves. She made delicious gf brownies with it and surprise surprise I had a reaction, which lasted a week.

    Once that calmed down, I thought I'd try using xanthan gum again (for the first time in a year!) with Asda's gf flour and lo and behold, I had a, I'm not saying it's a 'gluten' reaction, but I definitely had an unpleasant physical reaction which mimicked a gluten reaction (stomach problems, gassy, bloating and the lovely skin eruptions - I've got Dermatitis herpetiformis).

    So basically I steer clear of xanthan (it's in SO many gf products) which makes eating out harder as most 'gf' baked goods contain it. There's no need! I've baked for a year without xanthan or guar gum, there is simply NO NEED for it. I do use eggs, so perhaps if you can't tolerate eggs AND egg-replacer (no idea what's in that) then one of the gums seems a viable option - but perhaps with a little research some other options are out there!

  • We would like to inform all readers of some misinterpreted information used within this forum thread, regarding Doves Farm flours:

    Although it is true that we do mill wheat and other gluten containing grains on site in Hungerford, these are done so in a controlled environment which is completely segregated from our gluten free plant. We have two separate dedictaed mills and bakeries, which ensure there is no cross contamination between our gluten free products and those which contain gluten.

    It is correct that our Gluten Free Buckwheat Flour is no longer in production. This is due to the contamination of the buckwheat grain which arrived at our site. We test all grains which are intended for use in our gluten free products before they enter the production areas to be milled or used to bake with, and any which test above the EU regulation of 20ppm are rejected. The buckwheat grain tested above 20ppm before it was milled, and was therefore milled in our non-gf mill and packaged as Wholegrain Buckwheat Flour which is suitable for those who do not have gluten sensitivities or coeliac disease. All gluten free products are also tested after production to ensure they still comply with the allergen labelling.

    Our Gluten Free Self Raising Flour does contain Xanthan Gum, therefore anyone with an allergy or sensitivity to this should not use the product. However, our Gluten Free Plain White Flour does not, therefore you could use this and add your own gluten free raising agent to create a self raising flour which does not contain Xanthan Gum.

    We hope that this information is helpful, and clears up any concerns anyone may have about our products.

    Doves Farm

  • I react to it like it's wheat.

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