Reasons Behind Bread Allergy
When you are talking about bread allergy, it is not really accurate. Bread is made of many ingredients and any of these ingredients can be one of the reasons behind bread allergy. This can be a very healthier option but brings lots of misery to individuals with bread allergy. Let us know more about bread allergy in detail in the following article.
In the United States alone, 8% of children have at least one food allergy. A 2011 study puts the projected total number of such children at 5.9 million. Individuals having bread allergy manifest adverse reactions to one of the proteins present in bread. It could be the protein in the yeast, wheat or gluten present in the bread.
What are the reasons behind Bread Allergy?
The three main ingredients in bread known to cause the hypersensitivity are explained below:
Yeast is a fungi isolated from sugar rich material. It is used in baking as a leavening agent and is a main ingredient in various bakery products. It helps to inflate the dough and incorporates air to make it a lighter and softer bread. The adverse reactions generally arise from the proteins in yeast.
Wheat has a well secured position in the the top eight allergy triggering foods given by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States . The wheat proteins gluten, globulin, gliadin and albumin are responsible for causing the allergy. Apart from wheat, there are some more grains which give elasticity and softer texture to the bread.
Gluten is a protein isolated from whole grains like wheat, spelt, barley, rye and oats. This is also responsible for wheat allergy and this is what gives the bread its soft chewy taste.
Allergy is an auto immune response triggered in some individuals when the otherwise nutrition providing proteins in bread are perceived as threats. The body produces antibodies known as IgE. These antibodies react and bind with the proteins triggering the release of histamine from the mast cells of the gut, pharynx and skin. Histamine is the chemical which causes dilation in blood vessels, irritation in nerve endings and other adverse reactions.
Symptoms of the hypersensitivity
Skin rashes and reactions
Contact Dermatitis, Urticaria, hives, eczema are some of the conditions associated with this allergy. Red itchy bumps containing infectious fluids sometimes appear in clusters with defined borders. The condition is painful with severe itching.
Extreme sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, allergic rhinitis, inflammation of nasal passages causing asthma may occur.
Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloated stomach, weight loss are common side effects. Celiac disease is a common fall out of the gluten intolerance and allergy. The stomach lining is damaged affecting the absorption of nutrients from food and it results in severe diarrhea.
General side effects
Fatigue, lethargy, headache, palpitation, arthritis, chest pain, depression, mood swings etc have been associated with this allergy. Migraines have been linked to the gluten in bread and other wheat products. Autistic children are also likely to have the sensitivity and manifest gastrointestinal problems.
In extreme cases, the swelling of nasal passages can block airways and can bring about a medical emergency characterized by shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, wheezing, lack of consciousness, palpitations and dizziness.
Auto immune rheumatoid arthritis has also been linked with it.
Diagnosis and Detection
- The particular insensitivities can be diagnosed by conducting allergy tests. It is extremely important to isolate the allergen causing the reactions be it yeast, wheat or gluten.
- A skin prick test is done by pricking the skin and reintroducing the allergens back in to the skin. Skin rashes and reactions confirm the diagnosis.
- A patch test is done by putting the allergen solution on a pad and taping it to the skin for 24 to 72 hours. As in the skin prick test, reactions on the skin surface affirms the presence of allergies.
- Blood is tested to detect the presence of antibodies which the body produces to fight with the specified allergen protein.
Treatment of Bread Allergy
- The important step in wheat allergy treatment is to eliminate the wheat and its products from diet.
- Antihistamines and (NSAID)s are widely recommended to improve inflammation and other allergy symptoms from bread consumption. They bring relief from symptoms.
- Skin rashes and contact dermatitis can be controlled with atopical ointments and oral medications.
- In case of extreme anaphylaxis, an emergency shot of epinephrine needs to be administered.
Prevention of the hypersensitivity
- The first preventive measure would be to avoid bread and other wheat based bakery products.
- If you are allergic to wheat, chances are that you are allergic to the other grains like barley, spelt, oats and other such glutinous products.
- Read labels well. Wheat is present in a lot of other things than bread.
- Alternative cereals like millet, quinoa and buckwheat can be used instead.
- Allergy shots or immunotherapy is a very good option to eliminate bread allergy where small amounts of the designated allergens are injected back in to the body to induce immunological tolerance.
This is all about the reasons behind bread allergy and some more facts related to it.