What are the symptoms of Soy Allergy, and it’s cure

What is Soybean Allergy: Soy Lecithin Allergy Food Allergies
July 25, 2022
6 minutes Read
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Do you enjoy your coffee with dairy, soy, almond, or oat milk? While there are many more options when a barista crafts your perfect morning beverage, soy is a favored go-to.

How did soy become so popular? It’s often touted as a miracle crop because of its versatility and ability to grow in various climates. Therefore, the soybean became one of the USA’s top crops.

While this legume is a dominant crop and in a wide range of foods and drinks, some people have a soybean allergy. But what is soy allergy, and why does it matter?

Do you feel wheezy, have stomach pain, and get hives after eating soy-containing products like tofu? When these issues happen, you might be experiencing soy allergy symptoms.

If this is the case, and you think you have a soy allergy, speak to your doctor about testing and diagnosis. Your doctor will also be able to guide you through various concerns, such as:

  • How to test for soy allergy at home?
  • What does a soy allergy look like?
  • How long do soy intolerance symptoms last?
  • What are soy sensitivity symptoms?
  • Is soy lecithin allergy the same thing?
  • What is a soy lecithin allergy?
  • Are symptoms of soy sensitivity the same as symptoms of soy intolerance or allergy?

When it comes to preventative measures and to avoid soy allergy symptoms, knowledge is your best friend (aside from your a trusted healthcare provider). So let’s get you some info!

What is soy?

According to Cleveland Clinic, soy foods are made from the legume known as soybean. It’s a legume because it grows in pods containing beans (or seeds).

Also, the soybean is a good source of protein, which many other legumes don’t contain. Many vegans opt for soy as a way to enhance their diet. Quality soy products can offer the benefit of protein without the high levels of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat.

While the benefits of eating high-quality soy products can be useful, what if you have a soybean allergy?

What is soy allergy?

According to Allergy & Asthma Specialists, an informative blog created by board-certified allergists, an allergy to soy can be common and often begins at a young age. An infant, for instance, can develop an allergy when exposed to soy-based baby formula.

While many kids outgrow their allergy to soy, it can continue into adulthood.

An allergy to soy is caused when your body’s immune system identifies soy proteins as harmful. Therefore, when your system comes into contact with a food or drink that contains soy, antibodies in your body see the soy as an enemy invader and unleash chemicals like histamine into your bloodstream.

The symptoms caused by an allergy to soy can be mild or severe. Furthermore, extreme allergy responses to soy can even cause a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis, which we’ll explain in more detail later.

What does a soy allergy look like?

What are the soy allergy symptoms?

What are the soy allergy symptoms?

Soy allergy symptoms often happen quickly, within minutes or hours, and can include:

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Tingling
  • Red skin
  • Swollen lips
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you have more severe soy allergy symptoms, you may have a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. This health condition needs immediate care.

What does a soy allergy look like when anaphylaxes occurs?

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include shortness of breath, low pulse, headache, dizziness, and shock (among others).

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction and can be fatal. It requires quick, immediate treatment at an emergency room.

Many people experience anaphylaxis symptoms before they realize they have an allergy. Symptoms can show up within minutes after exposure to an allergen, like soy.

If you suspect you or a loved one has an allergy to soy, speak with an allergist or doctor to be tested. If you find out you have an allergy to soy, avoid products containing this legume at all times.

Main takeaway: If you have an allergy to soy, taking extreme caution to avoid soy products is essential. Symptoms hit fast and can become fatal. Be sure to arm yourself with knowledge and a plan for immediate treatment should you need it. Talk with a trusted healthcare professional if you have any doubt or are still wondering what a soy allergy looks like. They’ll help you create a treatment plan. Also, listening to your body is key, as some symptoms are milder and more subtle than others.

What causes an allergy to soy?

As was touched on previously, an allergy to soy happens when your body ingests the soy protein and recognizes it as harmful. Because your body detects an ‘invader,’ it releases chemicals that cause an allergic response.

FARE, an organization dedicated to sharing knowledge about food allergies, explains that people who are allergic to soy are often more sensitive or allergic to other major allergens, including:

  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Sesame

Foods that contain soy:

Many foods containing soy—like soy meat, soy flour, soybean oil, soy sauce, and tofu—can be purchased in supermarkets and Asian food stores.

Also, many food alternatives contain soy, like cheese, milk, bacon, yogurt, and ice cream.

According to UCSF Health, the following foods contain soy:

  • Edamame
  • Meat alternatives made from soy or tofu
  • Miso
  • Soy milk
  • Soy nuts
  • Soy sauce
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Whole soybeans

Soy can also be hidden in the following products:

  • Baked goods
  • Baby formula
  • Canned broth
  • Canned soup
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Some kinds of peanut butter
  • Certain processed meats
  • Protein bars

Because many foods, sauces, and beverages can unsuspectingly contain soy, it’s crucial to read food labels. Furthermore, if you’re at a cafe or restaurant, explain your allergy to the server and ask that they ensure your meal is completely free of soy.

Most restaurants take allergies seriously and will do their best to accommodate you. Also, it can be helpful to call ahead of time to see if the kitchen can prepare.

What are the risk factors?

Soy allergy is more typical in babies and young kids than in older kids. Fare explains that about 0.4% of infants in the USA have an allergy to soy. Therefore, it’s most common to develop in youngsters.

Furthermore, Coastal Allergy Asthma notes that the three main factors that increase your risk of developing an allergy to soy are:

  1. Family history: You may be more susceptible if it runs in your family.
  2. Age: This allergy often develops in infants and young kids but can also develop in adults.
  3. Other food allergies: If you’re allergic to other foods, you can be at a higher risk.

Can an allergy to soy be cured?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for an allergy to soy. Avoiding consuming soy products is the best way to stay healthy and dodge symptoms. Those who experience severe allergic reactions should always have an epinephrine pen on hand. If severe symptoms occur, call 911 immediately.

How to treat an allergy to soy?

If you have an allergy to soy, strictly avoid consuming anything that contains this legume. Your physician can also prescribe injectable epinephrine to treat strong reactions. Sometimes, antihistamines are also helpful.

How to test for soy allergy at home?

To properly test for an allergy to soy, speak with your doctor for more information on testing. Some tests your MD might suggest include:

  • A blood test
  • A skin-prick test
  • An oral food challenge

When it comes to soy sensitivity, you can use an at-home lab test. We suggest downloading our Ravkoo Health App to access online doctor’s appointments, remote prescription fulfillment, and at-home lab tests.

Also, once you have the healthcare app downloaded, you’ll be able to use Ravkoo Lab to order an at-home food sensitivity lab, which will test for an allergy to soy, among others.

Allergy to Soy Q&A for a better understanding:

Q: What’s a soy allergy versus a soybean allergy?

A: Did you know that soy allergy and soybean allergy are the same? Soy comes from soybeans, so if you have an allergy to the legume, whether you drink soy milk or eat edamame (a whole, immature soybean), you’ll experience symptoms if you’re allergic.

Q: What is a soy lecithin allergy? 

A: According to the University of Nebraska Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, soybeans are often considered allergenic causing foods. Furthermore, the allergy is caused by the protein within soy. However, most of the protein is removed during soy lecithin manufacturing. Therefore, it’s believed that soy lecithin only contains trace levels of soy proteins. So soy lecithin is considered to contain not enough soy protein residues to cause allergic symptoms in most soy-allergic people.

But, there’s the chance that those more sensitive to soy may negatively react to soy lecithin. In short, a soy lecithin allergy isn’t as common but can take place. To avoid taking chances:

  • Read food labels.
  • Ask your doctor about symptoms of soy sensitivity.
  • Ask your doctor about symptoms of soy intolerance (often more serious than sensitivity).
  • Don’t eat anything you’re unsure of.

Main takeaway: A soy lecithin allergy isn’t as common, but it doesn’t mean those with an allergy to soy should ignore this ingredient. Speak to your physician to better understand symptoms of soy sensitivity, intolerance, and allergy.

Q: What’s the difference between sensitivity, intolerance, and allergy?

A: The main distinctions are:

  • An allergy is when the immune system responds to a substance like soy.
  • Sensitivity doesn’t involve an immune response. Not to mention, soy sensitivity symptoms tend to be less severe than an allergy.
  • An intolerance is when the body lacks an enzyme or chemical to digest a certain food, like soy. How long do soy intolerance symptoms last? The symptoms usually last several days.

Nevertheless, all can be serious and can cause various degrees of similar symptoms.

Q: What are the symptoms associated with an allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance to soy? 

A: It’s necessary to see a physician about symptoms that appear to be linked to soy exposure.

  • Symptoms of soy sensitivity: Generally, symptoms of a soy allergy appear on the skin in the form of itchiness, swelling, and hives.
  • Symptoms of an allergy to soy: When you’re allergic to soy, your immune system overreacts and produces IgE (Immunoglobulin E) antibodies. The IgE antibodies travel to different cells, releasing chemicals that cause an allergic response. Symptoms of an allergy to soy can be serious and may even become fatal.
  • Symptoms of soy intolerance: Usually, symptoms of soy allergy intolerance develop hours to days after eating a soy product. Symptoms of soy intolerance may include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, gas, bloating, and irritability.

Take your time to understand the differences between soy sensitivity symptoms versus those of an allergy or intolerance. The negative reactions to soy can be similar in all of the above, so understanding how your body specifically reacts is important.

Q: How to test for soy allergy at home?

Ask your MD how to test for soy allergy at home as there’s mixed information out there on the topic. When it comes to a sensitivity test for soy, an at-home lab test can be ordered from the Ravkoo Health App.

Putting it all together: An allergy to soy usually develops during childhood; however, this allergy is often outgrown. Symptoms can appear as hives, difficulty breathing, and mouth tingling. In some cases, a severe allergic response occurs. To correctly diagnose and treat an allergy to soy, your allergist or doctor will have you tested. But the best way to treat an allergy to soy is to avoid it altogether.

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