Sodium stearoyl or better known as sodium stearoyl lactylate or SSL is a food additive incorporated into processed food products. According to Medline Plus, a website supported by the National Institutes of Health, food additives help maintain product consistency, improve and preserve nutritional value and maintain the wholesomeness of food items. Food additives also help control the food’s acidity and alkalinity as well as provide color and enhance flavor. SSL is commonly used in commercial baked goods such as breads, cookies and crackers. Using sodium stearoyl has several side effects.
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Most food additives including sodium stearoyl lactylate are considered safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration. These substances are put on the generally recognized as safe or GRAS list which is evaluated on an ongoing basis. Still, although not very common, some patients may have allergies and food intolerance to SSL or any of its composition. A person who is allergic to sodium stearoyl lactylate has an immune response that’s oversensitive. This oversensitivity causes itching, swelling, mucus production, muscle spasms, hives and rash formation once the allergen is ingested or comes in contact with the person. The best way to prevent allergies is to avoid the allergen. In cases where allergic reactions are severe, emergency interventions are done to prevent death and mortality.
One of the possible side effects of sodium stearoyl lactylate is food intolerance. Food intolerance has similar manifestations to food allergies, but it does not involve the immune system. With food intolerance, ingestion of the food item in small amounts is possible but it large quantities, it can already cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping and diarrhea. Food intolerance to sodium stearoyl lactylate is caused by abnormal digestive reactions to the food additive. It is important to distinguish food intolerance from true allergies; by doing this, proper management can be done.
Using excessive amounts of sodium stearoyl lactylate can potentially lead to abnormal sodium levels. According to MedlinePlus, normal sodium concentrations in the body range from 135 to 145 mEq/L. Abnormal sodium levels can be due to many factors such as dehydration, hormonal imbalance and excessive or deficient dietary sodium intake that comes from food, dietary supplements and food additives. Higher than normal sodium levels are called hypenatremia while lower than normal sodium levels are called hyponatremia.