Soy products are much more than simply an alternative for those individuals who have a dairy allergy or are lactose intolerant. In fact, soybeans are one of the major American crops. Soy can be found in such a large variety of foods that a soy allergy can sometimes be difficult to manage on your own. However, there is expert help available. The allergy physicians at Accent Allergy in Gainesville, FL can assist you or your child in confirming your allergy, avoiding symptoms, and learning about which foods to stay away from.
What are soybeans?
Soybeans are part of the legume family, the same classification that encompasses several other beans as well as peanuts. Soybeans contain various proteins, and people who are allergic to soy products have an abnormal immune response to one or more of these proteins. Their bodies see the soy protein as an invader, causing the symptoms that are detailed below.
Soy allergy symptoms
Fortunately, soy allergy symptoms are typically mild. These can include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and itchiness and swelling, particularly around the mouth, nose and eyes. More severe cases may manifest as wheezing, fever and blisters.
A small percentage of allergic individuals have an extreme reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is life-threatening, and is characterized by shock, difficulty breathing, swelling of the mouth or throat or seizures. These people should always have injectable epinephrine on hand. If you suspect anaphylaxis, call 911 and seek professional medical care immediately.
Soy allergy causes
For many people, soy is a health food and a great alternative to dairy products. For others, however, soy can be the cause of their allergy symptoms. Like most legumes, soy is full of protein. In fact, soybeans contain over 14 different proteins. Allergic individuals can have a reaction triggered by any of these proteins, caused by their immune system responding inappropriately.
A soy allergy can be frightening, especially in young children. The symptoms may include rashes, stomach problems or even something more severe.
Is soy sensitivity the same as soy allergy?
Soy sensitivity and soy allergy are similar, but not precisely the same. A true soy allergy is caused by your body’s immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. Soy sensitivity, which is much more common, is mediated by your body’s immunoglobulin G (IgG). Soy sensitivity tends have milder symptoms than a true soy allergy. Whether you or your child has a true soy allergy or sensitivity to soy, the experts at Accent Allergy can help and provide you with treatment options.
Soy allergy risk factors
- Age – Soy allergy is one of the top childhood food allergies. It tends to affect the very young, including infants. Many children outgrow the allergy by age three, and almost all have outgrown it by their tenth year. Allergies to soy are very rare in adults.
- Autism Spectrum History – Although the exact link has not yet been fully researched, there is evidence to suggest that as many as 60% of soy-allergic children have some sort of autism spectrum condition, including ADHD.
- Family History – Having one or more parent who is allergic to certain food(s) increases the likelihood that you will have a soy allergy.
- Milk Allergy – Among children that are allergic to cow’s milk, about one-half are also allergic to soy. These children will need special hypoallergenic formula instead of soy formula.
- Peanut Allergy is NOT a Risk Factor – Despite the fact that peanuts and soybeans are both legumes, having an allergy to peanuts does not increase your risk of also having a soy allergy.
What is soy in?
|Here are some soy allergy foods to avoid|
|Soy flour||Soy nuts||Soy sauce|
|Edamame||Soy Milk||Soy fiber|
Soy allergy tests and diagnosis
One of the most common tests for soy allergy is a skin test. A drop of concentrated soy protein is introduced to your body, typically under the skin of your back or arm. After a wait of about 30 minutes, the site is checked for a reaction. Skin tests for allergies offer excellent convenience, as they can be performed in the Accent Allergy clinic and you’ll be informed of the results during the same visit.
If you have eczema or another skin condition that prevents skin testing, a blood test is also a good choice. Your blood sample will be sent off for RAST testing. Although the RAST test is very accurate, you won’t know your results right away.
Another diagnostic tool available is a food elimination challenge. This test slowly eliminates suspected trigger foods from your diet, one by one, in order to narrow down your exact allergy. For example, you may have a reaction to soy sauce. Although this response may be caused by soy, soy sauce often also contains wheat, another common allergen. By eliminating all soy from your diet but leaving in wheat products, it’s possible to check specifically for a soy allergy.
Soy allergy treatment
Except for acute reactions, there really isn’t any preventative therapy for most food allergies. Effective treatment largely consists of avoidance, and effectively avoiding allergy triggers requires knowledge and education.
Is soybean oil soy free?
Most soybean oils do not contain the proteins that can trigger a soy allergy. However, the oil must be “highly refined” and not labeled as extruded, cold-pressed or expeller-pressed.
Soy allergy prevention
If you or your child has a soy allergy, adhere to your allergy doctor’s instructions at all times. It’s also crucial that you read labels to check for soy and ask restaurants about soy ingredients. Asian restaurants are particularly risky, as even soy-free dishes may be cooked in the same cookware as meals that contain soy. Finally, always carry your epinephrine and consider wearing an allergy alert bracelet.
Contact soy allergy specialists in Gainesville, FL!
If you suspect that you or your child may have a soy allergy, please contact us! The Accent Allergy doctors are able to assist you with accurate allergy testing and management options for the real world.
Accent Allergy & Sinus Center | 4340 W Newberry Rd #301 | Gainesville, FL 32607 | (352) 271-5389