My Story of Personal Hell from Food Additives – the ‘Ribo Rash’

Six years ago, I began to suffer from a horrifically itchy rash that started around my eyes and under my arms but eventually covered my body from head to toe. It seemed to have come out of nowhere when I arrived in Australia for a working holiday. I wound up having the rash for over 2 years of what I call ‘personal hell’. Even after countless medical tests, the doctors could not find anything wrong with me. They eventually told me it was in my head.

Luckily I was stubborn enough to keep searching for a cause.

I started what is known as an ‘elimination diet,’ and began by taking out all wheat and gluten products. I kept a food diary, writing down what I’d eaten and also when I had become more itchy than normal. After 9 months I was able to identify the cause of my rash to 3 different food additives. Within 3 days of taking these out of my diet, the itching stopped. After 3 months, the rash was completely gone. The only change I made was to simply remove those additives from my diet.

These are just some of the many foods that can contain 635, 627 or 631 – Best to AVOID!

I now know that what I had is known as the ‘ribo rash,’ named after the flavor enhancer ‘ribonucleotide.’ It can also be called disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate or identified as 635, 627 or 631. These additives add a salty, savory taste to food similar to MSG (621). My intolerance to these additives resulted in an extremely itchy rash and a general puffiness in my face and eyes.

The reaction time with ribonucleotides can be up to 36 hours. If I ate something with 635 in it on Monday, I would not get itchy until Tuesday night. This is partially why it took me so long to figure out. In my case, I only needed to eat it 2 or 3 times a week to have a rash the whole week.

The types of foods that can contain this additive are things like: flavored potato chips, flavored rice crackers, flavored tofu products, Asian food, canned soups, powdered soups, oyster sauces, jars of curries, movie theatre popcorn, wasabi covered peas and many other salty snacks. This additive can also be ‘hidden’ other other names, mainly ‘yeast extract,’ ‘pea protein,’ ‘spices,’ ‘natural flavors,’ ‘onion powder,’ ‘tomato extract,’ and ‘rice extract.’

Now I always look at labels before I buy.

Today my skin is healthy, vibrant and clear. In fact, I get compliments on my nice complexion all the time. Honestly, six years ago, I could have never imagined anyone telling me I had beautiful skin again. These days I try to stay away from all food additives and keep my diet as natural, whole and pure as possible. I know first-hand that healthy skin on the outside is a reflection of a clean diet on the inside!

For a more complete list of foods containing ribonucleotides, go to

If you think you are suffering from the ribo rash, please consult your medical doctor.

This article written by Jennifer Thompson for

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