Yeast is good for the health, but on the other hand it can also be harmful and can cause a problem for you. To maintain a normal digestive system, our body requires yeast in small quantities. But, when this quantity becomes more than what is required, then it results in a series of health problems and people tend to develop intolerance towards yeast.
Definition of Yeast Allergy
What is Yeast?
Yeast is a living fungus which is used as an active ingredient in many foods and drinks, especially baked goods (baker’s yeast) and alcoholic drinks (brewer’s yeast). There are also many other forms of yeast, these include Candida (thrush) and others that live naturally in the body. Yeast may exist in different forms and food products like bread, milk, beer and nutritional supplements. Yeast is used in preparation and fermentations of foods.
A yeast allergy is a type of food allergy that is associated with the consumption of food and drink containing yeast. There are certain conditions, however, that cause an imbalance in the chemical and biological environment in the body, allowing the overgrowth of yeast and the disappearance of “good” bacteria. This imbalance leads to yeast allergy or an increase in sensitivity to the presence of large numbers of yeast.
a negative reaction to yeast is not always an allergy it can also be due to a yeast build up or yeast intolerance. Hence, it is important to know what each of the conditions mentioned above means to be able to identify them correctly. If you’re allergic then there will be a rapid response by the body’s immune system to a particular food – the onset of intolerance symptoms, however, can be a slower process.
Yeast Intolerance is less severe as compared to yeast allergy and they usually result in gastrointestinal symptoms. In other cases having excessive amounts of yeast in the body can cause a fungal infection which is curable along with symptoms of an allergy.
Yeast is present in many foods. People who are allergic to yeast can have reactions that range from mild to severe.
Source of Yeast Allergy
- most breads and some baked goods, such as muffins, biscuits, croissants, or cinnamon rolls
- cereal products
- alcohol, especially beer, wine, and ciders
- premade stocks, stock cubes, and gravies
- vinegar and foods containing vinegar, such as pickles or salad dressing
- aged meats and olives
- fermented foods such as ripe cheeses and sauerkraut
- dried fruits
- blackberries, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries
- buttermilk, synthetic cream, and yogurt
- soy sauce, miso, and tamarind
- citric acid
Causes of Yeast Allergy
When someone is having a negative reaction to yeast, they need to determine whether they have a yeast intolerance, or a yeast allergy. Those who have a yeast allergy are likely to be affected by all species, including the types used by bakers and brewers as well as environmental fungi and molds.
- Allergic reaction – They can be consumed in the form of food and may trigger an allergic reaction leading to thrush and vaginal yeast infections. This overgrowth of yeast in the body can be due to use of birth control pills, deficiency of vitamin D, hormonal changes, etc.
- Yeast intolerance – People who experience problems whenever they consume food or beverages containing yeast may be intolerant towards it. Consumption of yeast results in allergies, discomfort, etc. Symptoms of yeast intolerance and allergy may be similar, but they are not the same.
- Immune system – The type of yeast found in baker’s yeast and brewer’s yeast is the kind that the immune system is sensitive to most often. The immune system produces histamines to fight them triggering the allergic reaction, although it is unnecessary as these are not harmful.
Symptoms of Yeast Allergy
A yeast allergy will typically not cause a rash. There is a common misconception that a yeast allergy is the cause of the red, blotchy skin that some people develop after drinking alcoholic beverages. Symptom may include gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort. Some people develop a rash or another type of skin irritation. Symptoms of yeast intolerance and allergy may be similar, but they are not the same. The yeast allergy symptoms develop after a few minutes or hours after exposure of the body with the allergen. Yeast allergy symptom:
- Abdominal swelling
- Difficulty in breathing
- Joint pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Hay fever
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Watery and itchy eyes
Allergic symptoms arising out of excessive yeast in the body can be contained and prevented by staying away from food items that are loaded with yeast.
Yeast Allergy Risk Factor
- People with low immune system: most common risk factors for developing a yeast overgrowth or allergy is weakened immune system.
- People with diabetes mellitus are also at a higher risk.
- People with a family history of a yeast allergy are at increased risk.
- People with a food allergy, there is an increased likelihood that you’re also allergic to something else.
How to Diagnose Yeast Allergy
True yeast allergies can be diagnosed by an allergist, who will ask about a history of allergic reactions to certain foods.
Test to Determine Yeast Allergy
- Food Challenge Test: This is considered as a definitive test for most food allergies. It involves a clinician observing the individual for an allergic reaction while the person is given high amounts of the allergens that are suspected to cause the allergy.
- Skin Prick Test: A needle is used to push a small drop of the suspected allergen through the first layer of the skin to find out the specific kind of allergy that one is dealing.
- Elimination Diet: The individual withdraws consumption of the suspected allergen from his/her diet. After a period, the allergen is re-introduced into the system at a slower pace to note any symptoms that may occur as reactions.
- Blood Test:The test measures the level of immunoglobin antibody in the blood. An indication of an allergy is understood if high levels of immunoglobin antibodies, specific to an allergen source are observed.
- Intradermal Skin Test: A syringe is used to inject the suspected allergen into the tissues beneath the skin known as the dermis.
When You Need to Visit Doctor
It is important to visit a doctor when the symptoms refuse to cease even after a certain period. Medical help is required to rule out any other cause of the allergy and to treat the earliest to avoid serious health complications in the future.
In extreme cases, the immune system triggers a response throughout the whole body, resulting in a systemic reaction (anaphylaxis) which is potentially fatal. Seek emergency treatment if you develop any signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as:
- Constriction of airways that makes it difficult to breathe
- Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Treatment to Minimize Yeast Allergy Effect
- Promote the use of antifungal medications, such as nystatin as the yeast allergy treatments.
- Avoid foods containing yeast.
- People who eat yeast and develop mild allergic reactions, such as rashes, can often manage their symptoms with antihistamines.
- Probiotic Supplements: Intake of probiotic supplements introduces healthy bacteria into the system which aids in proper digestion and makes the immune system stronger.
How to Prevent
When it comes to a yeast allergy, it is fairly easy to avoid foods that contain yeast in them. As time goes by, an individual may be able to get away with consuming small quantities of yeast. Individuals who suffer from yeast allergies tend to develop yeast infections within or on the skin of their bodies.
Foods to avoid
- Sourdough bread in trays
Sourdough breads and cakes may contain yeast, and trigger an allergic reaction.
- Read labels carefully to reduce the risk of accidentally consuming yeast. Foods that contain yeast include:
- Baked goods: Yeast is commonly used to leaven foods, such as cakes and sourdough breads.
- Alcoholic beverages: Yeast is used to ferment sugar in most alcoholic beverages. However, distilled spirits may not contain very much yeast.
- Some food spreads: Products such as Marmite and Vegemite contain yeast.
Change your diet into yeast – free foods
There are many alternative food and drink ingredients you can choose from which are yeast-free, so you can optimize and balance your diet effectively during your elimination diet. You can supplement your meals with a variety of alternatives, such as the example grains below:
- Brown rice
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