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Guar Gum and Soy Allergy

By Diane Marks

Guar gum is a common ingredient used in soups, beverages, frozen desserts and certain cheeses. Guar gum is made from the guar plant and is used as a thickening agent in many manufactured foods and beverages. It consists of 10 percent moister, 80 percent galactomannan and 10 percent proteins, according to Zhion.com. Some forms of guar gum contain soy protein that makes up 10 percent of the ingredient. Someone with a soy allergy should also avoid consuming products containing guar gum.

About Soy Allergy

A soy allergy is most commonly found in young children, under the age of 3 years, but can affect anyone at any age. Guar gum may contain traces of soy proteins, which can lead to an allergic reaction. If you have a soy allergy, your immune system overreacts to the proteins found in soy and begins to attack them. The body defends itself by producing histamine and IgE antibodies that result in common allergy symptoms.

Symptoms

If you eat a product containing guar gum that contains soy proteins, you will experience mild to severe allergic reaction symptoms within a few minutes or up to one hour. These symptoms may include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, cramping, a runny nose, watery eyes, nasal congestion, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, hives or skin rashes. In rare cases, the consumption of soy proteins can cause anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

Severe Allergy Symptoms

According to the Cleveland Clinic, anaphylaxis can cause an abrupt systemic allergic reaction that can affect the entire body, causing a state of shock. Extreme levels of histamine causes the lungs to swell, cutting off the ability to breath, your heart rate increases and your blood pressure suddenly drops. You may feel lightheaded, dizzy and mentally confused. If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming guar gum, call 911.

Treatment

Your doctor is the most qualified medical professional to recommend treatment options. If you suspect that you have a severe allergy to soy, talk to your doctor about getting tested by an allergist. Mild allergic reactions to guar gum containing soy proteins can be treated with an oral antihistamine. If you have a mild allergy to soy, keep an antihistamine on your person and take it if you experience allergy symptoms. If you are diagnosed with a severe allergy to soy, keep epinephrine, which is an adrenaline shot, nearby, in case of an emergency.

Prevention

Prevent a soy allergic reaction by reading product labels and being aware of what you are eating and drinking. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that product labels contain a disclosure if soy has been used during the manufacturing process. The Cleveland Clinic recommends you wear a medical ID bracelet if you have been diagnosed with a soy allergy.

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