Because I no longer keep up with the goings-on in the Corn Allergy community, I am no longer maintaining this blog. I did not want to leave the data sitting here, growing moldy, but nor did I want it to vanish completely.

Corn Allergy Girl [] agreed to share the data on her blog, so click over, or copy & paste her URL, and you’ll find the data there.

I did leave three posts here, but it’s reasonable to assume the data contained within them will become outdated at some point, so **do your homework**!!

Many thanks to Corn Allergy Girl for giving my many hours of note-taking and research a place to continue living and breathing!

Compounded Medications

It is close to impossible to find prescription or over-the-counter medications that don’t contain some corn derivative or another.

If this is new news to you, take the Corn Derivatives List and start comparing it against the ingredients (active *and* inactive) of your prescription and OTC meds. If you set those meds aside, you probably aren’t left with many, if any at all.

The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia says in their May/June 2007 newsletter, in an article regarding corn-related allergens and non-medicinal ingredients that do not appear on drug labels, “Pharmacists are requested to use caution and be aware that many drugs and medications contain undisclosed potential allergens in the form of sugars, starches, and celluloses.” To that I would add “citric acid” — it’s a very common ingredient, and is derived from mold fed a corn solution more often than it’s derived from citrus fruit.

The following info has been pulled from various “compounded meds” threads at the Avoiding Corn forum. If I make additions to this post in the future, I’ll be sure to add a new post to this blog letting y’all know this post has been updated and to refer back to it.

Some things to consider when having medications compounded:

1. Ask your physician to write on the prescription: “corn-free and free of all corn derivatives” — to be as concise as possible and not leave wiggle room for assumption or misinterpretation on the pharmacist’s part.

2.  Not all meds can be compounded. For example, as of the date of this post, it’s my understanding Allegra and Zyrtec cannot be compounded because they are not available in small enough quantities for compounding, however Claritin can. If the med your doctor suggests is not available for compounding, see if your physician or pharmacist can suggest a similar medication.

3.  Be sure the pharmacy will use the pure medication, rather than just crushing a pill and referring to that as “compounded”. A crushed pill will very likely contain corny ingredients, and that’s what you’re trying to avoid!

4.  Any compounded med that goes into a body cavity *other than* the mouth (the nose, for example) must have sterility testing performed on it, which can be expensive, plus the chemicals used to protect sterility may be corny. You might want to look for other options.

5.  If a med is water-soluble, you might want to consider having it compounded in just water (no flavoring added), to not have to deal with fillers or capsules. The pharmacist may need to add baking soda to balance the pH. Drawbacks to having a med compounded in just water: (a) the taste might be downright nasty (no flavoring added, remember!); and (b) a liquid compounded med typically has a shorter shelf-life than capsules.

6.  If a med isn’t water-soluble, ask about having it compounded in suppository form — it may be absorbed better, and, for some folks, having a medication bypass the digestive tract makes for a much happier digestive tract! An Avoiding Corn forum member recently had some meds compounded in suppository form for her corn-allergic kids, using a safe-for-them coconut oil (please note the suppositories would need to be kept in the fridge since coconut oil becomes liquid when not chilled!). If the pharmacist wants to use polyglycol, be aware it can be derived from corn — if you cannot get a clear answer on the source of the polyglycol (“it’s synthetic” is *not* a good answer!) and the pharmacy is insistent on using it anyway, you may wish to reconsider having the med filled in suppository form.

7.  If a capsule is used, what type: gelatin or cellulose? Cellulose can be made from corn, although it isn’t always — ask the pharmacist to find out. For both types of capsules, sometimes cornstarch is used to prevent capsules from sticking to each other. Be sure the capsule does not contain a dye. Each time you have a prescription compounded using capsules, confirm the source of the capsule because it may not be the same source as the time before. If you have problems swallowing capsules, or if you’re concerned about the corn-safeness of the capsule used, it may be possible to dump the capsule ingredients into some applesauce or to dump it straight on your tongue and chase with water — be sure to ask your pharmacist if there would be a concern with doing this with the particular medication you’re having compounded.

8.  For capsules, ask the compounding pharmacist what they use as a filler. “It’s synthetic” is not a good enough answer — from what raw ingredient is it derived? Some folks on the Avoiding Corn forum take their own proven-safe starch to be used as a filler (tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, or potato starch would work).

9.  What type of gloves does the pharmacist or pharmacy tech use to prepare the med, and are they powder-free?

10.  Is the pill bottle made of plant-based plastic?

11.  If you have insurance that covers your prescriptions, ask if your pharmacist will run different scenarios through the insurance to see how many capsules you could get for the same price. Lisa on the Avoiding Corn forum gave a great example for that, which I’ll shamelessly copy to here ;-) (thanks Lisa!): “I knew we would need much more compounded Mucinex than Tylenol, as the capsules only have a 6-month guaranteed shelf life. I didn’t want to pay $50 for 120 Tylenol that might not be used. I preferred to pay $30 now for only 60. It was different for Mucinex though, as [my son] has severe spring allergies and gets a lot of sinus infections. We were able to get 120 Mucinex now for just $10 more than 60 capsules….but if we had gone with 60 at first, then refilled later, we would have had to pay the cost of the pharmacist’s time, prep, etc. at the later date. It was smarter to pay $50 now for 120 pills I *knew* we would use, instead of $30 now for 60, then $30 again for 60 at a later time. It saved me $10 in the long run.

If you’re not having luck locating a compounding pharmacist, you can use the search feature on the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists’ website; go HERE.

Don’t forget to take any other allergens you have into consideration when having medications compounded! Be sure the starch you use as a filler for capsules is safe for you; be sure the capsules themselves are safe for you (folks who are sensitive to MSG should confirm the safeness of gelatin capsules); if you’re having a suppository made, be sure the oil used is safe for you; etc.

If you know of any info that would be good to add to this post, please leave me a comment =).

Dental Visits

In this post I’ve compiled notes from multiple “dental visits” threads on the Avoiding Corn forum. I’ll create a “Dental Visits” entry on my “Where’s the Corn in Medications/Medical Procedures/Medical Supplies?” page and link back to this post.

If I edit this post to add more info in the future, I’ll add a new post letting y’all know this post has been updated so you’ll know to check back to it.

Dental visit considerations for the corn-allergic include:

1.  Take your own cloth napkins or cloth hand towels to be used as the “bib”, and also to be used for blotting up or wiping away anything that gets on your mouth or face.

2a.  Take your own safe-for-you water for swishing / rinsing and your own cup.

2b.  You might also inquire about the water used *during* the cleaning or whatever procedure you’re having done (the water that comes through the hose and is squirted directly into your mouth). Is it tap water? Is it filtered in-house? Is a water softener used; if so, what kind of softener salt is used? Is a cleanser of some sort used to clean the hose and sanitize the line?

3.  Take your own safe-for-you toothpaste or tooth powder. (Squigle and VitaMyr toothpastes might work for you; check ingredients! You can also make your own tooth powder — some Avoiding Corn forum members have successfully used Mountain Rose Herbs’ White Kaolin Cosmetic Clay with THIS tooth powder recipe.)

4.  Take your own safe-for-you floss. (POH floss is used successfully by some Avoiding Corn forum members.)

5.  Ask them to use an unflavored dental pumice, or take a safe clay with you to be used during the polishing process (see #3 above), or skip the polishing process entirely.

6.  Be sure a clear liquid being handed to you to swish in your mouth is water, not clear mouthwash!

7.  Opt out of the fluoride treatment.

8.  Opt out of the dye used to show plaque.

9.  Ask what kind of gloves are used and if they are powdered. If the gloves normally used will be problematic for you, ask if they have other gloves or if you can bring safe-for-you gloves for them to use.

10.  Ask if they can use regular soap to wash their hands, rather than alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

11.  If their medical masks are dusted with cornstarch, you want to be sure they don’t touch their mask (to adjust it, for example) and then touch your mouth.

12.  If x-rays are necessary, ask if the film and film holders can be rinsed before being put into your mouth. (If they or their packaging were dusted with cornstarch, having them rinsed first might eliminate, or at least reduce, a reaction from the cornstarch.)

13.  If you’re reactive to fumes, ask for the first appointment of the day to lessen your risk of exposure to the fumes of other patients’ perfume, cologne, hair products, deodorant, cigarettes, etc. Find out if there’s a hygienist who doesn’t wear perfume/cologne and hair products (or who would be willing to wait to use them until after your appointment), who doesn’t smoke, and who would be willing to wait to apply their deodorant until after your appointment. Find out if the office is cleaned the night before (allowing the fumes to dissipate overnight) or in the morning before the office opens (could be rather fume-y still). An early-morning appointment reduces the risk of being exposed to food fumes, particularly microwave popcorn.

14.  If you’re contact sensitive, be sure to wear long pants and long sleeves, to avoid residue on the chairs from other patients’ body moisturizer and/or from any disinfectant used to clean the chairs.

15.  Topical numbing agents are corny; consider having the numbing injection *without* having a topical numbing agent applied first.

16.  Ask what is used for the numbing injection. Septocaine and Carbocaine *may* work for you; check ingredients, particularly if you have other allergies or sensitivities!

17.  If an IV will be necessary, don’t forget to request a Saline IV.

18.  If pain meds will be needed, be sure to have them compounded *before* your dental visit.

19.  If you’ve been asked to take antibiotics before and after a treatment, do the legwork to see if you can get a compounded antibiotic . . . or at least one with no corn-derived inactive ingredients . . . or if maybe an antibiotic can be given in injection form less often than oral antibiotics would need to be taken.

20.  Dissolvable stitches can be corny.

The topic of dental visits / dental care comes up often on the Avoiding Corn forum. If you have a question that hasn’t been addressed in this post, please ask it on the forum rather than asking it here — you’ll get an answer much quicker there than here, and the folks there have way more experience and knowledge about this topic than I.

Also, I don’t generally mention product names because ingredient changes can render a previously corn-free product, corny. However, I’ve mentioned several different brand names in this post, but my disclaimer will be that you should always, ALWAYS, check ingredients before using a product or medication. This is especially true if you have other allergies or sensitivities (for example, Squigle is not a good choice for folks with birch allergy).

If you have information you think would be helpful to be added to this post, please include it in the comments.

Commercial Products Used to Ripen Produce

For folks whose bodies react negatively to corn and corn derivatives, it can be a rude awakening to discover fresh produce can be corn-taminated by products used commercially to help that produce be more appealing on the grocery store shelves.

Produce that is not ripe when picked can be ripened to ready it for store shelves. If you’re curious how that works, check out THIS link for one company’s tips to vendors re: how to use the company’s products to ripen avocados, bananas, citrus, kiwi, mangoes, honeydew melons, nectarines/peaches, papayas, pears, plums, and tomatoes. Eye-opening, yes?

What jumped out at me, on another page at that site, is this quote: “Ethylene will penetrate most substances. In fact, it will permeate through produce cardboard shipping boxes, wood and even concrete walls.” Why should that be a concern? Because the skin of the fruits and vegetables mentioned above are most definitely porous….more porous than concrete walls, wouldn’t you say?!?! The product this company sells to help ripen produce is comprised of ethanol, ethyl acetate, and isopropyl alcohol [source]….and there’s a pretty good likelihood the ethanol is derived from corn.

Lest you think you’re safe from that because you opt for organic produce, think again: the ripening agent may very likely be approved for use on some organic produce, including bananas — interestingly, commercially-grown bananas (organic and non-organic, alike) seem to be the one fruit which is problematic across the board for folks at the Avoiding Corn forum. Some folks have been fortunate enough to score some ungassed, green bananas (although ungassed bananas are extremely difficult to come by), and, after letting them naturally ripen, have NOT had a corn reaction to them.

I’ve recently done my own guinea-pigging of organic commercially-grown bananas and nectarines and, sure enough, I reacted to both fruits. (I trialed each several different times, with no other changes in my diet when I trialed each of them.) I don’t care so much about the bananas, but it’s a drag about the nectarines!! I’m not sure if those can be grown local to me, or, if so, if I can find organically-grown versions. We’re heading into some pretty strict drought restrictions, so planting fruit trees isn’t a good option for us at this point in time….which is a drag and then some because any fresh fruit at the grocery store has been shipped from across the States or from out of the U.S., increasing the odds tremendously that the fruit has been treated in some way or another to ripen it, pretty it up (waxy coating), extend the shelf life, or all of the above. :::sad face:::

Now I can relate to why it was such a treat, decades ago, to receive a fresh orange in the bottom of one’s Christmas stocking!!