Eggs Food Sensitivity and Egg Allergy
Although eggs are a very healthy and nutritious food, some people are allergic or sensitive to them.
If you are allergic to eggs, you probably already know it because you get a reaction such hives, skin reactions, digestive symptoms, airway symptoms, or facial swelling shortly after eating eggs.
However, there are others who are sensitive to eggs where there are no obvious symptoms. The person may not even feel any noticeable difference after eating eggs. However, a blood antibodies test would reveal they they have elevated antibodies against some of the egg proteins. That means that the immune system has been activated and is launching an inflammatory attack on the egg proteins.
The person may be reacting the ovomucoid, ovalbumin, ovotransferrin, and lysozyme proteins in the egg white. Or they may be reacting to the livetin, apovitillin, and vosvetin proteins in the egg yolk. Or both. These are known as antigens to the sensitive person.
It is rare to find a test that can distinguish between sensitivity to the egg white versus the egg yolk. So both the allergic person and the egg sensitive person needs to avoid the whole egg and all products made from eggs.
Egg Products to Avoid
Many food box labels will says "contains eggs" if they contain eggs. The federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act mandates that any packaged food product that contains egg must list the word “Egg” on the label.
Remember that many bread, pasta, breaded and baked goods are made with eggs, so you need to avoid them as well.
In addition, you have to look for egg proteins in the ingredients list. If it lists anything like ...
Or any words starting with "ova" or "ovo" (for example ovalbumin or ovoglobulin), then it may contain some egg proteins.
According to Mayo Clinic, some foods that contain egg products may include things like ...
- Baked goods
- Mixes, batters and sauces
- Processed meat, meatloaf and meatballs
- Salad dressing
- Many pastas
- Root beer and specialty coffee or alcoholic drinks
According to the Food Allergy Initiative, egg products can also be found in ...
"cream fillings, custards, candies, canned soups, casseroles, frostings, ice creams, lollipops, marshmallows, marzipan, pastas, salad dressings, and meat-based dishes, such as meatballs or meatloaf. Egg whites and shells also may be used as a clarifying agent in soup stocks, consommés, wine, and alcohol-based and coffee drinks."
Also remember that many vaccines (including flu vaccines) may contain eggs proteins.
How do you know if you are allergic or sensitive to eggs?
There are skin prick testing for food allergies.
And there is the avoidance and provocative testing where you avoid the food for a period of time and then challenge you system by reintroducing the food and see if there are any symptom changes.
There are no cure to egg allergy and some people have to avoid eggs their entire lives. Some people have such a severe allergy that they have to carry an EpiPen with them so they can shoot themselves with epinephrine if they get a severe reaction (such as anaphylaxis) from accidental ingestion of eggs.
For those who are only mildly sensitive to eggs when they are children, it may be possible to overcome their egg sensitivity and be able to eat eggs again after their gut and immune system heals.
However, US News reports ...
"two experts strongly advised caution in introducing allergy-causing foods back into children's diet and said that this must only be done under medical supervision."
After re-introducing the food, you need to run the food sensitivity test again after consuming eggs in order to see if your food sensitivity has really gone away.
The report also says upwards of 600,000 American children have eggs sensitivity.
Many People Sensitive To Eggs with Knowing
In her book, "The Wahls Protocol", Dr. Wahls writes ...
"You may not be allergic to eggs, but many people are and don't realize it. The best way to know whether you can tolerate eggs is to remove them completely from your diet for a month, then have a test meal."
Eggs are a Gluten-Cross Reactive Food
For people who are sensitive to gluten, there are certain foods known as gluten cross-reactive foods which can invoke the same response to the immune system as if they were gluten. Eggs are one of them. Dairy, soy, and corn are among others.
If you are sensitive to gluten, it is recommended that you be tested also for sensitivity to gluten cross-reactive foods, including eggs.
Egg One of the Top Eight Allergens
Egg allergy is much more common than some people think.
According to the Food Allergy Initiative, hen's eggs are the second most common allergen in children after cow's milk. According to about.com article, 1.5 percent of children is allergic to hen's eggs. Although children can outgrow it. It is also possible for an adult to develop a sensitivity to eggs where they had not before.
In fact, according to the book The Inside Tract, egg are one of the top eight food allergens. It writes ...
"Eggs are one of the top eight food allergens. That is not to say that everyone is allergic to eggs, but many people are sensitive to them. The egg whites, which contain more of the proteins, may be more problematic than the yolks"
The Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin does a modified elimination diet that avoids the 7 foods that are most likely to cause food intolerance. And these food are gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, corn, and sugar/artificial sweeteners. Yep, eggs are right there on that list.
Learn more about ...
More info on egg allergy
A person can be allergic to the egg white and be able to tolerate egg yolks, and vice versa. Sometimes they can be allergic to both the whites and the yolks.
And a small proportion of the people allergic to eggs are also allergic to chicken and poultry.