Soy is one of the top eight food allergens along with peanuts, eggs, wheat, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and dairy. Together these foods set off 90 percent of all food allergy attacks.
Soy is a product of soybeans. In many cases, the allergy will present itself through exposure to a soy-based infant formula. Most children do outgrow a soy allergy but not all.
Symptoms can be mild to life-threatening. Mild reactions would include hives or itching in the mouth. Anaphylaxis would be the extreme reaction which, if not caught and treated quickly, could cause death. Tests can confirm a soy allergy, so if you have a suspicion call your doctor.
Most people will find a soy allergy occasionally uncomfortable and more often annoying because it is one food that is hard to avoid. Soy is common in meat products, baked goods, chocolate, and cereal. Symptoms can include tingling in the mouth, hives, scaly skin, swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat, wheezing and running nose, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting and/or flushed skin.
Severe Soy Allergies Are Rare
It is more likely to occur with people who have other food allergies and/or asthma. Anaphylaxis is an extreme reaction to a food allergen. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include constriction of the airways, including swollen throat making it difficult to breathe, shock with a drop in blood pressure, rapid pulse and dizziness or loss of consciousness. If you suspect this type of reaction, get medical attention immediately.
Why Does This Happen?
Food allergies, like all allergies, are caused by an immune system reaction. Your immune system believes a certain protein is somehow harmful and attacks it. The attacking antibodies signal a release of histamine in the body and the allergic reaction begins.
If you have a family history of soy allergy then you and your children are more likely to have the same or other food allergies. Soy allergy is most common in children. As the digestive system matures, many children grow out of the allergy. If you have other food allergies, you are more susceptible to a soy allergy.